• Wallows
    6.3k
    Please take five minutes or more to read the following from here. It's really a phenomenol breakdown of what nostalgia means and has meant to people. It also offers some alternatives to nostaliga, as seen in the cesssation of dukkha or Zen Buddhism.

    Nostalgia is sentimentality for the past, typically for a particular period or place with positive associations, but sometimes also for the past in general, ‘the good old days’ of yore. Nostalgia combines the sadness of loss with the joy or satisfaction that the loss is not complete, nor can ever be.

    ‘Nostalgia’ is a portmanteau neologism coined in 1688 by Swiss medical student Johannes Hofer from the Greek nóstos (homecoming) and álgos (pain, ache). Nóstos is, of course, the overriding theme of Homer’s Odyssey, in which Odysseus strives to return to Penelope and Telemachus and his native Ithaca in the aftermath of the Trojan War. In Virgil’s Aeneid, Aeneas, another survivor of the Trojan War and the ancestor of Romulus and Remus, gazes upon a Carthaginian mural depicting battles of the Trojan War and the deaths of his kin. Moved to tears, he cries out, sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt: ‘These are the tears of things and mortal things touch the mind.’

    Today, nostalgia is no longer looked upon as a mental disorder, but as a natural, common, and even positive emotion, a vehicle for travelling beyond the deadening confines of time and space. Bouts of nostalgia are often prompted by feelings of loneliness, disconnectedness, or meaninglessness; thoughts about the past; particular places and objects; and smell, touch, music, and weather.

    I say ‘help’ because nostalgia does have an unexpected number of adaptive functions. Our everyday is humdrum, often even absurd. Nostalgia can lend us much-needed context, perspective, and direction, reminding and reassuring us that our life (and that of others) is not as banal as it may seem, that it is rooted in a narrative, and that there have been—and will once again be—meaningful moments and experiences. In that much, nostalgia serves a similar function to anticipation, which can be defined as enthusiasm and excitement for some expected or hoped-for positive event. The hauntings of times gone by, and the imaginings of times to come, strengthen us in lesser times.

    Nostalgia is nothing if not paradoxical. In supplying us with substance and texture, it also reminds us of their lack, moving us to restoration. Unfortunately, this restoration often takes the form of spending, and marketers rely on nostalgia to sell us everything from music and clothes to cars and houses.

    On the other hand, it could be argued that nostalgia is a form of self-deception in that it invariably involves distortion and idealization of the past, not least because the bad or boring bits fade from memory more quickly than the peak experiences. The Romans had a tag for the phenomenon that psychologists have come to call ‘rosy retrospection’: memoria praeteritorum bonorum, ‘the past is always well remembered’. If overindulged, nostalgia can give rise to a utopia that never existed and can never exist, but that is pursued at all costs, sapping all life and joy and potential from the present. For many people, paradise is not so much a place to go to as the place that they came from.
    Neel Burton

    Now, having that great piece of information in your working memory, I want to ask if it's possible to be nostalgic about the future or past you've never experienced; but, would like to? I very frequently feel nostalgic about the future, and keep on hoping in a possibly self-deceived way that it will be made better by other people. In a figurative Stoical sense, I'm trying to hope that that which is not in my control, will be made better by others.

    You see, I live in my own solipsistic universe; but, hope others recognize that too and strive for a better future. Is this all self-deceit as the author in the above implies?

    Thoughts?
  • Nils Loc
    372
    “In speaking of this desire for our own far off country, which we find in ourselves even now, I feel a certain shyness. I am almost committing an indecency. I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you—the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence; the secret also which pierces with such sweetness that when, in very intimate conversation, the mention of it becomes imminent, we grow awkward and affect to laugh at ourselves; the secret we cannot hide and cannot tell, though we desire to do both. We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience. We cannot hide it because our experience is constantly suggesting it, and we betray ourselves like lovers at the mention of a name. Our commonest expedient is to call it beauty and behave as if that had settled the matter. Wordsworth’s expedient was to identify it with certain moments in his own past. But all this is a cheat. If Wordsworth had gone back to those moments in the past, he would not have found the thing itself, but only the reminder of it; what he remembered would turn out to be itself a remembering. The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshipers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.”

    ― Excerpt From: The Weight of Glory
    — CS Lewis
  • Caldwell
    179
    Now, having that great piece of information in your working memory, I want to ask if it's possible to be nostalgic about the future .......you've never experienced; but, would like to?Posty McPostface
    I'm afraid not. Nostalgia is akin to grieving about the past. One cannot grieve over something that hasn't happened yet. What is it, then, that you feel about the future? Dreaming, imagining? Fear of the future? Perhaps, you are longing about the future.
  • Wallows
    6.3k
    Perhaps, you are longing about the future.Caldwell

    Yes, I am. I don't know what that future will look like and that causes me great distress. Am I getting you with this piece of information?

    Thanks for posting, Caldwell!
  • Caldwell
    179
    I don't know what that future will look like and that causes me great distress.Posty McPostface
    The future of humanity, of civilization, causes you great distress?
  • Wallows
    6.3k
    The future of humanity, of civilization, causes you great distress?Caldwell

    The future that I can picture in as a solipsistic mind is self-defeating and negative.The solipsism constantly must always wonder that she can think whether she is solipsistic or not.
  • Caldwell
    179
    The future that I can picture in as a solipsistic mind is self-defeating and negative.The solipsism constantly must always wonder that she can think whether she is solipsistic or not.Posty McPostface
    Solipsistic view does not need to be negative, although common sense is gonna get you.
    Maybe you're just cynical?
  • Wallows
    6.3k
    Solipsistic view does not need to be negative, although common sense is gonna get you.

    Maybe you're just cynical?
    Caldwell

    Is that the end result of the attitude that a philosopher ought to be is cynicism? If that's not true then, what ideal for a man or woman ought to be?
  • Caldwell
    179
    Is that the end result of the attitude that a philosopher ought to be is cynicism? If that's not true then, what ideal for a man or woman ought to be?Posty McPostface
    You've lost me there.
  • Wallows
    6.3k
    You've lost me there.Caldwell

    I mean to imply that philosophy which is deeply humanistic, had some conception of man or woman. Nietzsche thought so and some people followed in his steps. How has the conception of an ideal man or woman evolved over time?
  • Caldwell
    179
    I mean to imply that philosophy which is deeply humanistic,Posty McPostface
    Is it?
  • Wallows
    6.3k


    Sorry, I'm not educated enough to give you a definitive answer.
  • Caldwell
    179
    I'm not sure the meaning of humanistic to you.
    If you mean that because philosophy is practiced/followed/thought of by humans only, that it is, in effect, humanistic, then I don't understand you.
  • Wallows
    6.3k
    I'm not sure the meaning of humanistic to you.
    If you mean that because philosophy is practiced/followed/thought of by humans only, that it is, in effect, humanistic, then I don't understand you.
    Caldwell

    Well, philosophy in education is classified as a pure humanistic art. What can I say more?
  • Nils Loc
    372
    Nostalgia is possibly relatable to the kind of biographic progression of a human being, from youth to adulthood, from an experience of pristine novelty and carefree enthusiasm to the the toil in our working years, from a weak to stronger self-awareness/consciousness and the new suffering that might introduce. The biblical account of the fall (ousting from Eden) recapitulates this on a mythic level most probably. The once paradise to which one may conditionally return... Though for people with tough upbringings , I very much doubt nostalgia takes hold very strongly.

    CS Lewis sees nostalgia in the German Sehnsucht (yearning for the unobtainable), which the romantic motif of the Blue Rose came to signify.

    Two films which invoked a tremendous feeling of nostalgia/sehnsucht in me were:

    Into the Wild (story about Chris McCandless who is looking for something somewhere out there)
    Black Mirror's San Junipero (certainly a moving from future into the past into the future by desire)

    I think on a more fundamental biological level, nostalgia has a connection to the the loss of a sensitivity to novelty (domapinergic reward system stuff). Most types of recreational drugs for instance set up a first time expectation/reward which the user is always trying to return to but can never arrive to the ideal the first experience sets up.
  • Wallows
    6.3k
    I think on a more fundamental biological level, nostalgia has a connection to the the loss of a sensitivity to novelty (domapinergic reward system stuff). Most types of recreational drugs for instance set up a first time expectation/reward which the user is always trying to return to but can never arrive to the ideal the first experience sets up.Nils Loc

    Do go on...
  • Nils Loc
    372


    Eh, I'm sort of guessing. Might have to go read about nostalgia before I continue talking out my arse. Just read that drug tolerance is reversible but I wonder what addicts experience, from a more subjective take on first time use.

    Feelings of nostalgia must range from benignly pleasant (ex. watching my brother play super nintendo in the early 90s and sleeping under the Christmas tree) to full of heart ache (reminiscing about a deceased relative or partner).

    My notion of nostalgia always has a melancholy heartache element to it, missing the past, missing a non-existent home type of feeling, dead friends, et cetera. This is where the feeling is potent but it is not without a sort of pleasantness despite the ache (a happy sad mixture, sweet memories haunting the future).

    I think fantasy worlds can embody the same feeling tones that memories do, some might even build upon them, since everything is really built on what comes before. So in a way of course we feel nostalgia for the future (the future doesn't really exist except as reconstruction of the past).
  • Wallows
    6.3k
    Might have to go read about nostalgia before I continue talking out my arse. Just read that drug tolerance is reversible but I wonder what addicts experience, from a more subjective take on first time use.Nils Loc

    Generally speaking, addicts miss the features of the drug that influence them. Such as heightened perception or increased productivity. The initial high isn't of import to the discussion.

    Feelings of nostalgia must range from benignly pleasant (ex. watching my brother play super nintendo in the early 90s and sleeping under the Christmas tree) to full of heart ache (reminiscing about a deceased relative or partner).Nils Loc

    Nostalgia is a pleasant experience in my mind. You get to form a connection with others and yourself. It's self-indulgent to some extent, but who cares?

    My notion of nostalgia always has a melancholy heartache element to it, missing the past, missing a non-existent home type of feeling, dead friends, et cetera. This is where the feeling is potent but it is not without a sort of pleasantness despite the ache (a happy sad mixture, sweet memories haunting the future).Nils Loc

    Yeah, nostalgia is fun. But, the longing can be an issue. This is where I divide pleasant nostalgia for a better future rather than the self-indulging aspect of it.

    So in a way of course we feel nostalgia for the future (the future doesn't really exist except as reconstruction of the past).Nils Loc

    Yes, I think nostalgia for a better future is deeply intertwined with our inherent goodness, so to speak.
  • Nils Loc
    372
    Generally speaking, addicts miss the features of the drug that influence them. Such as heightened perception or increased productivity. The initial high isn't of import to the discussion.Posty McPostface

    Actually, I think the context of use (set and setting) may be of some relevance to the features of the drug and future expectations of experience. In a way, good memories are initial highs about which nostalgics reminisce. These are natural highs of course. But you are probably right with regard to real addictive substances, like heroine, methamphetamine, et cetera.

    I wonder about dark scenarios though, killing someone's partner or child in front of them and then giving them heroine. Does the initial experience determine whether they develop an addiction, or have an influence on the likelihood of addiction... Maybe the pain relief during such horror would be welcome.
  • Wallows
    6.3k
    I wonder about dark scenarios though, killing someone's partner or child in front of them and then giving them heroine. Does the initial experience determine whether they develop an addiction, or have an influence on the likelihood of addiction... Maybe the pain relief during such horror would be welcome.Nils Loc

    Whoa. Dude, that's disturbing. You sound like a troubled mind. Just being upfront and honest here.
  • Nils Loc
    372


    Nah, you sound disinterested and hurried. I just thought that up for the post.

    Most humans have troubled minds, ceaseless desires, unending thoughts.
  • Wallows
    6.3k
    Nah, you sound disinterested and hurried.Nils Loc

    Me interacting with you through this forum, and since old PF we also had chats, then that's not true.

    Hurried? I guess that's true. I like to advance the progress of a discussion to its logical end. That's me just being me.

    Most humans have troubled minds, ceaseless desires, unending thoughts.Nils Loc

    I meant troubled in the sense that the post was well yeah, nihilistic and based on some warped conception of pleasure or happiness derived from heroin. Heroin wouldn't do anything since the memory of the loss persists. This is where drugs like cannabis and MDMA can help heal from such a loss. Cannabis affects memories and is being researched as a tool to help with post-traumatic-memories. MDMA helps a person open up and talk about their issues with a professional.

    Again, all of this has to be done in controlled settings. Is control an issue here?
  • Nils Loc
    372
    Eh, I was trying thinking of a weird scenario with set and setting and how that might influence subsequent experiences with a drug. How the memory interacts with the drug... I'm just in the weeds here though with its relevance to nostalgia. It's all horribly complex in the end anyway.

    Not sure have any direction to go with nostalgia but it is an interesting subject, especially with regards to human fantasy and fiction, even political ideals and national identities (forces behind the "American Dream" and it's good old days).
  • Wallows
    6.3k
    Eh, I was trying thinking of a weird scenario with set and setting and how that might influence subsequent experiences with a drug. How the memory interacts with the drug... I'm just in the weeds here though with its relevance to nostalgia. It's all horribly complex in the end anyway.Nils Loc

    I feel you. I just don't understand why you think heroin would solve anything. You seem to have devised a scale of pleasure that is defined by the drugs behavioral effects on an individual. That seems prone to misjudgment and such matters.

    Not sure have any direction to go with nostalgia but it is an interesting subject, especially with regards to human fantasy and fiction, even political ideals and national identities (forces behind the "American Dream" and it's good old days).Nils Loc

    True, nostalgia is an interesting subject and I hope others can chime in. I want to know what purpose does nostalgia serve. Any ideal or thoughts about that?
  • Nils Loc
    372
    So, after reading and watching a few things, nostalgia arises during times of transition, identity flux or liminality, which maybe associated with heightened stress, anxiety, general uncertainty. It is thought to be adaptive in the way it bolsters mood, provides sort of an anchor or distraction for moving forward toward building identity (making tough decisions).
  • Wallows
    6.3k


    I largely agree. I think solipsism comes to mind.
  • macrosoft
    674
    Is that the end result of the attitude that a philosopher ought to be is cynicism? If that's not true then, what ideal for a man or woman ought to be?Posty McPostface

    I sometimes think this is the genuine, burning question. Lots of the other answers seem to be functions of tentative answers to this one.
  • Nils Loc
    372
    Nostalgia is interesting in relation to cultural or religious myth, or the way myth (cosmogonies) possibly functioned for peoples prior to our scientific age. The communal attachment to what was once a functional fantasy, facilitating life. It seems that fundamental myths constitute a homeland of some sort, an ideal or cache of beliefs and processes to venerate. Makes me want to read Mircea Eliade.

    "In our day, when historical pressure no longer allows any escape, how can man tolerate the catastrophes and horrors of history—from collective deportations and massacres to atomic bombings—if beyond them he can glimpse no sign, no transhistorical meaning; if they are only the blind play of economic, social, or political forces, or, even worse, only the result of the 'liberties' that a minority takes and exercises directly on the stage of universal history?

    "We know how, in the past, humanity has been able to endure the sufferings we have enumerated: they were regarded as a punishment inflicted by God, the syndrome of the decline of the 'age,' and so on. And it was possible to accept them precisely because they had a metahistorical meaning [...] Every war rehearsed the struggle between good and evil, every fresh social injustice was identified with the sufferings of the Saviour (or, for example, in the pre-Christian world, with the passion of a divine messenger or vegetation god), each new massacre repeated the glorious end of the martyrs. [...] By virtue of this view, tens of millions of men were able, for century after century, to endure great historical pressures without despairing, without committing suicide or falling into that spiritual aridity that always brings with it a relativistic or nihilistic view of history"[24]
    — Mircea Eliade

    I think this is a real problem which resonates with me tremendously. Maybe nostalgia ( and personal fantasy) helps us to exist in this absurd and empty chaos some poor folks today find themselves in.
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