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The Meaning of Nostalgia

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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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

3

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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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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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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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.

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