Nostalgia or something else?

source: wikipedia
 I have been wondering for a while now about the affect of doing work that doesn't produce anything tangible. By that I mean, our work is increasingly becoming more about knowledge and communication rather than manufacturing or making goods. In many countries in the developed world, unions fought long and hard to get good wages for their members, but at what cost? Manual and unskilled labour is moving to lower cost countries in Asia, South America and some parts of Europe. Developed countries are losing these jobs and the livelihoods of many families? We all know this.

But have you noticed the resurgence in cooking and home renovation and knitting and crochet and craft and sewing and growing your own food? Is this just a trend? Is it that we are worried we are going to forgot how to do some of these things? It feels very nostalgic and I wonder if something else going on. I think for many the world has become so frenetic and confusing that this is a way to slow things down and turn off.

But I also think there is something inherent in human nature that drives us to produce tangible items. Things that give you pleasure when it's finished. I spend most of my day sitting at a desk typing emails and documents and other parts of my time having conversations with people or attending meetings. When I come home I usually haven't produced more than some emails and documents. I know these things have importance but sometimes I feel like I haven't achieved much. Is that because I can't see what I've been working on? I think in part yes. I was speaking to an employee who was retiring after 38 years working for the company. He was looking forward to renovating a recently purchased house. I felt a bit jealous and yearned to be able to do some manual work and improve something.

About 3 months after moving to Singapore I woke up on Saturday morning with a yearning to cook. Previous to this we had been (and still enjoy) the meals our helper cooks or we go out and try the many options here. But this Saturday I just felt like I had to create. Out came the cookbooks and after spending $300+ at the local supermarket, cook I did. It felt great.

Even though blogging is writing it feels tangible and it creates social connections and I feel like I'm producing something. Photography is a bit like that too. Frustrating as it can be at times, when you produce a beautiful shot it's worthwhile.

What do you think about this? Is the resurgence in knitting and slow food just about holding onto something from the past, or does it satisfy a deep need to produce tangible results and something we can be proud of?