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Nostalgia doesn’t need real memories - an imagined past works as well | Aeon Essays

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.

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Nostalgia doesn’t need real memories - an imagined past works as well | Aeon Essays

Nostalgia doesn’t need real memories - an imagined past works as well | Aeon Essays

https://aeon.co/essays/nostalgia-doesnt-need-real-memories-an-imagined-past-works-as-well

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Key Ideas

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.

The time of the past is remembered as an autobiographical memory of the self, something that the person has lived.

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.

Anemoia and Mental Simulations

Having nostalgic thoughts about the past that one hasn’t directly experienced or lived through is called _Anemoia_.

The cognitive component of nostalgia is often a mental simulation, and may not have happened for real in the lifetime of the reminiscing person.

Nostalgia: Cause And Effect

Sadness and depression are associated with the feeling of nostalgia, and recent studies show that nostalgia might even be caused by these negative emotions.

Loneliness, loss, a sense of meaninglessness, boredom and even coldness can trigger nostalgia.

Paradoxes Of The Past

  • When the reminiscing person adds certain false memories and desirable traits to the past event, this creates a paradox and is attributed to an ancient Greek sophist and philosopher, Gorgias.
  • A Platonic Paradox is when a person desires something and when it is finally attained, the satisfaction that was supposed to come with the attainment is not there.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

John Green, Looking for Alaska

“Imagining the future is a kind of nostalgia.”

John Green, Looking for Alaska
We use our memories to imagine the future

We predict what the future will look like by using our memories. This is how actions we do repeatedly become routine. For example, you have an ideas of what your day will look like at work tomorrow based on what your day was like today, and all the other days you’ve spent working.

But memory also helps people predict what it will be like to do things they haven’t done before.

Past and future for amnesia patients

An evidence that memory and imagining the future might go hand in hand comes from research related to amnesia patients. Studies show that when they lose their pasts, it seems they lose their futures as well.

Functional MRI scans made possible for researchers to discover that many of the same brain structures are involved in both remembering and forecasting.

4 more 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 ...

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.

Nontraditional social strategies
Nontraditional social strategies
The so-called 'nontraditional social strategies' can fulfill social needs whenever we are not able to fulfill these needs by using traditional social strategies.&n...
Traditional vs. non-traditional social strategies
While research has shown that nontraditional social strategies, such as reading a book or watching movies, can substitute for spending time with your loved ones, there is evidence that the traditional social strategies still hold actually the key to longer-lasting happiness. 

However, whenever it is not possible to combine the two or practice traditional social techniques. then you might want to consider the safest option: the nontraditional social strategies.

Nostalgia for social interactions
Whenever we are not able to meet our friends or family for a long period of time, we tend to feel nostalgic for those moments of togetherness that have just become even more precious. 

By watching movies, listening to songs, or just reflecting on our relationships, we actually help repair and rediscover who is really important to us and we will, therefore, be even more grateful when given the chance to meet up again with those very persons.