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Nostalgia for a Time Never Experienced

kawaiidaigakusei at 12:00AM, Nov. 9, 2020

Anemoia describes the feeling of missing a time never experienced personally. Movies know how to inspire this feeling whenever a particular orchestra song from the previous century is played during a period piece of a Miami nightclub from the 1950s or whenever synthesizer pop and electric guitar solos transports people back to the 1980s.

In an article, “Feeling Chilly? Indulge in Some Nostalgia” written by the British Psychological Society, a series of tests were given to a group of subjects and the conclusions were striking. Nostalgic thinking is an excellent way to combat loneliness, and it is a way to offset the discomfort of sad thoughts. The subjects were asked to keep a diary for one month or stick their hands in a bucket of water, and for both experiments, nostalgic thinking helped the subject endure discomfort from the cold for longer periods.

Why is this important? Easily, here in the Northern Hemisphere, we are getting ready to begin a long, cold Winter, and knowing that thinking about nostalgic thoughts are sure to bring warmth to an otherwise cold day can be helpful.

Nostalgia is easily relived when rewatching an old movie (this is why tangible DVDs are much more reliable than whatever is made available on streaming services). It is the reason why local play houses to college campuses still show screenings of: The Last Unicorn, Labyrinth, and the Dark Crystal for adults in their thirties and forties. The memories of experiencing those films as young children in the 1980s and 1990s helps bring forward a happy nostalgia for a large group.

So this Holiday Season, when picking out a movie to watch, do not forget to dig into that Old DVD Collection and pick out a few former favorites. Hmm, maybe we can organize a group film screening for an obscure movie from the past, or we can all watch Cowboys and Aliens with an active chat-box for commentary throughout the duration of the film.

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hushicho at 6:55PM, Nov. 9, 2020

Nostalgia is really a feeling of attachment to the best things you can remember and the most romanticized distillations of a time. I will admit, I have thought back on the 80s and 90s occasionally with fondness, but I also was careful to remind myself that those times were not really great, and there were a lot of problems then that even as a child or a young person, I still experienced. I wasn't happy, and I would've been even more unhappy if I were an adult then! But it really can be nice to look back on the good things, as long as we recognize that it wasn't all good. It wasn't all bad either, though. We can find value in everything, we must just take care not to look too hard through rose-colored glasses at all times.

PaulEberhardt at 3:50AM, Nov. 9, 2020

I'd love to watch Cowboys & Aliens with you guys. That idea sounds like the kind of fun you're going to remember for decades to come. ;)

PaulEberhardt at 3:45AM, Nov. 9, 2020

The thing about not having experienced the time you feel nostalgic for is that no personal memories get in the way. We tend to be better at remembering the bad stuff (psychologists call that the "negativity bias"). I don't really miss a lot of the 90s, for instance, although I did have some good times. I do miss some 80s things, though. Even as a child I could see that all was not well - angst and fatalism always lying somewhere underneath, even if the grown-ups clearly didn't want us to notice - but I remember being quite happy most of the time. There was something in the way people dealt with it all that I find inspiring to this day. Periods you didn't actually experience have a slightly, but not altogether different appeal. They combine like nothing else a sense of familarity (through movies, older relatives, old furniture you've still got etc.) with being removed far enough not to impede your daydreams.

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