In Imagined Communities, I tried to illuminate the nature of this change by comparing it to the difficulties we face when we are shown photographs of ourselves taken as babies. These are difficulties which only industrial memory, in the shape of photographs, produces. Our parents assure us that these babies are us, but we ourselves have no memory of being photographed, cannot imagine what it was like to be ourselves at one year old, and would not recognize ourselves without our parents' assistance. What has happened in effect is that though there are countless traces of the past around us—monuments, temples, written records, tombs, artefacts, and so on—this past is increasingly inaccessible, external to us. At the same time, for all kinds of reasons, we feel we need it, if only as some sort of anchor. But this means that our relationship to the past is today far more political, ideological, contested, fragmentary, and even opportunistic than in ages gone by.