This article was originally published in Discourse Magazine.

The journey to the past that nostalgia takes us on is really about the present and the future.

A few years ago, I attended a presentation by a professor who studies scientific, medical and technological innovation. The presentation was specifically focused on different obstacles to innovation, mostly political and other policy barriers that make it difficult for scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs to create and bring to the market new products and services that have the potential to improve lives and help solve major societal and global challenges. He also discussed cultural and psychological barriers to progress—specifically, nostalgia. According to this expert, nostalgia is distinctly at odds with a progress mindset.