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The Meaning of Nostalgia

A Time Machine

A Time Machine

The feeling of nostalgia is like traveling in a time machine. The activities that were once cherished are no longer done, and the world that is remembered no longer exists.

Nostalgia can be a form of self-deception, giving a rosy tint to the past, creating a paradise out of the moments of our lived lives.

Deep nostalgia fosters a sense of serene melancholy and spiritual longing.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

The Meaning of Nostalgia

The Meaning of Nostalgia

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hide-and-seek/201411/the-meaning-nostalgia

psychologytoday.com

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Key Ideas

Nostalgia

It is the sentimentality of our past, usually for a particular time and place associated with positive emotions, etched in our memories. Historical texts state it was termed as homesickness during war times.

It is now considered a natural, common emotion, a way to escape from the current 'space-time' and mentally travel to one's past when the world around us was different. It is usually prompted by a feeling of loneliness, disconnectedness or meaninglessness, triggered by thoughts about the past, by our senses of smell and touch or through music or weather.

A Time Machine

The feeling of nostalgia is like traveling in a time machine. The activities that were once cherished are no longer done, and the world that is remembered no longer exists.

Nostalgia can be a form of self-deception, giving a rosy tint to the past, creating a paradise out of the moments of our lived lives.

Deep nostalgia fosters a sense of serene melancholy and spiritual longing.

Suffering

The deepest form of suffering is a feeling of extreme dissatisfaction about the impermanence and the insubstantiality of everything around us.

Buddhism mentions suffering as inevitable as long as there is desire, lust and a sense of coveting/craving in our lives. Once we grasp this fully, we stop craving and struggling in hope and fear.

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Nostalgia
Nostalgia

It is understood as a longing for something long gone by, with a desire to relive the time, combined with a certain sadness while reminiscing about the particular life event.

...
Nostalgia and Feeling Homesick

Swiss physician Johannes Hofer referred to nostalgia as a kind of homesickness, a desire to return to the beautiful, simpler times.

The feelings of nostalgia were usually melancholia, anxiety, and rumination. It was made into a neurological illness, which was related to the geographical location of the person longing for home.

Evolution of The Meaning of Nostalgia
  • Nostalgia was considered by the early 20th century a psychiatric illness caused by some traumatic experience of childhood. It had three components, cognitive, affective and conative.
  • The cognitive part remembered old memories of the self, while the affective part was a sad emotion, finally moving towards a desire to return home(conative).
  • Nostalgia is neither a pathological state and nor is it necessarily beneficial. What we can think, remember or imagine, is not bound to be real or factual.

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Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

"And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is ess..."

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
We were all children

Keeping this in mind is not nostalgia, but rather an embrace of all that has gone into making up a full-grown human being. 

The past is part of who we are. We are made up of imagination and memory and dearly-won virtues.

Disproportionate pursuits

Adults aren't disappointing because they have grown bigger, or got jobs, or taken on responsibilities.

  • Adults are disappointing because we have forgotten how to see the world as it actually is. We see people as statistics, education as functional, food as fuel, clothing as utilitarian, religion as morality.
  • We over-value what we can experience with the senses. We work over our books, counting everything up, claiming ownership, and fail to see that we live in a whole, wild universe.

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The Positive Lexicography Project
The Positive Lexicography Project

It aims to offer a more nuanced understanding of ourselves, by capturing many ways of expressing good feelings from across the world.
It is directed by Tim Lomas at the University of East London...

Highly specific positive feelings

... that depend on particular circumstances:

  • Desbundar (Portuguese): to shed one’s inhibitions in having fun
  • Tarab (Arabic): a musically induced state of ecstasy or enchantment
  • Shinrin-yoku (Japanese): the relaxation gained from bathing in the forest, figuratively or literally
  • Gigil (Tagalog): the irresistible urge to pinch or squeeze someone because they are loved or cherished
  • Yuan bei (Chinese): a sense of complete and perfect accomplishment
  • Iktsuarpok (Inuit): the anticipation one feels when waiting for someone, whereby one keeps going outside to check if they have arrived.
Complex and bittersweet experiences
  • Natsukashii (Japanese): a nostalgic longing for the past, with happiness for the fond memory, yet sadness that it is no longer
  • Wabi-sabi (Japanese): a “dark, desolate sublimity” centered on transience and imperfection in beauty
  • Saudade (Portuguese): a melancholic longing or nostalgia for a person, place or thing that is far away either spatially or in time – a vague, dreaming wistfulness for phenomena that may not even exist
  • Sehnsucht (German): “life-longings”, an intense desire for alternative states and realisations of life, even if they are unattainable.

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Rekindling Of An Old Flame
Rekindling Of An Old Flame

Breakups and subsequent renewals are quite common across all types of romantic relationships and even marriages.

Falling apart and then seeking to mend the old relationship seems to be dee...

The Protest Phase

When people experience breakups they go through the ‘protest’ phase initially, and the rejected lover becomes obsessed with winning back the person who has quit the relationship.

Rejection, paradoxically, makes the rejected person love the partner even more. This is called a ‘Frustration Attraction’, and can be categorized as an addiction.

Chemical Reactions

The rejected lover experiences high levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, and are visibly stressed out. These chemical reactions trigger many to do crazy things to win their ex back. Such feelings are erased quickly if the lover starts dating a new partner.

Some people also feel increasingly passionate and loving after the breakup and are more likely to forgive their ex.

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The “IKEA effect”
The “IKEA effect”

If you make things more laborious, the consumers will value them more.

In the 1950s, a US food company wanted to sell more of its brand of instant cake mixes. They were advised to...

Testing the IKEA effect

Labor alone can be sufficient to induce a greater liking for your own work. A study confirmed the phenomenon. Experiments involved assembling IKEA boxes, folding origami, and building with Lego.

  • The results showed participants valued items they assembled themselves more, demonstrated by their willingness to pay to keep it.
  • However, when participants spent too much time building or deconstructing their creations, or failed to complete the task, their willingness to pay for the item declined.
Related concepts

Several other important economic behaviors that are connected to the IKEA effect are:

  • The endowment effect: Owning a product increases its perceived value.
  • Effort justification: An individual who makes a sacrifice to achieve a goal attribute greater value to the achievement.
  • Personal preference: The fact of being attached to a particular brand.

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The new minimalism

In part, the new minimalism is a kind of cultural aftershock of the 2008 housing crisis and banking collapse. At the same time, minimalism has become an increasingly aspirational and deluxe way ...

Minimalism for the affluent

Many people have minimalism forced upon them by circumstance. Poverty and trauma can make frivolous possessions seem like a lifeline instead of a burden.

Although many of today's gurus insist that minimalism is useful regardless of income, they target the affluent. The focus on self-improvement is more about accumulation.

Minimalism of ideas

True minimalism is not about throwing things out, but about challenging your beliefs in an attempt to engage with ideas as they are, to not shy away from reality or its lack of answers. 

Underneath the vision of “less” is a mode of living that heightens the miracle of human presence.

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Nostalgia

Nostalgia is not the enemy of progress. Nostalgia is very motivational. People in a nostalgic mood are more optimistic about their future and inspired to pursue their goals.

For ins...

Triggering nostalgia

Smells, tastes, photographs, and even music can trigger nostalgia.

The songs we listen to can be markers of notable events in our lives that can connect the past with the future.

3 kinds of happiness that don’t ever last
  • Rock Star Happiness: Rock star happiness is all about getting what you want. And we think it will make us happy. 
  • Lowered Expectations: Perhaps happine...
If you aren’t growing, you are dying
Happiness that is true and lasting is quite simply this: progress. Progress = Happiness! If you are moving forward in your life, if you are progressing personally, professionally, emotionally, spiritually — you will be happy. It is only in stagnation that we wilt.
"Mottainai"
"Mottainai"

Mottainai (Too good to waste) is an ancient Buddhist term that translates into having respect for the resources available and to use them with a sense of gratitude.

"Mono no aware"

Mono no aware (The pathos of things) describes having empathy towards things and their imminent passing, accompanied with a gentle, sadness that their disappearance is the reality of life.

It allows us to notice the ephemeral beauty of time and to realize that we should take life a step at a time, appreciating everything that passes.

"Shibui"

Shibui (Perfected simplicity and sophistication) is used to describe an aesthetic principle that values simplicity and the subtle beauty of minimalism.

The seven essential factors of shibui are simplicity, implicitness, modesty, silence, naturalness, everydayness, and imperfection.

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Risk Compensation
Risk Compensation

Risk protection is normally done to minimize the harm a particular activity can do to us. There are various things we do to reduce our risk, to make ourselves safer.

Behaviour scientists po...

Risk Compensation Effects
  • When automobile safety laws were introduced, the drivers started taking more risks while driving, leading to more pedestrian accidents.
  • Children (and even adults) take more physical risks while playing a sport with protective gear.
  • Safety features like Anti-lock brakes in vehicles ended up increasing the accidents for taxi drivers in Germany
  • Child-proof caps on medicine bottles made parents careless about their being opened by kids, including the ones which don’t have the safety feature.
The Carelessness Effect

Having a safety device in place, and armed with the knowledge that we can push the envelope a bit, the appetite for risk increases.

  • People who have an emergency fund in place tend to be less careful about their investments.
  • People wearing a face-mask in this global pandemic feel like they are safer in crowded places (It’s a face mask, not an Iron Man suit).

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