We all love a trip down memory lane sometimes. You know, re-watching our childhood anime Detective Conan or Yu-Gi-Oh all over again, or listening to a playlist full of 90’s music. Nevertheless, do you know there are actually a number of dangers of nostalgia? In this post we will dive deep into what nostalgia is and why it might be dangerous or harmful.
The definition of nostalgia comes from the combination of two words: Nostos which means homecoming, and Algos which means longing. Combined, means longing of home, or also known as homesick, yet, we all know that home is not necessarily a place, but anything that makes you feel all homey. However, scientists have also redefined nostalgia as a general longing of the past. People often feel this because they tend to have difficulties in letting go of their past memories, especially the ones from their childhood.
Nostalgia often brings us back to the times when things are easier and not as scary, and acts as an escape from the present moment that might feel harder to endure.
The dangers of nostalgia
Majority of the people would often dismiss nostalgia as harmless, thus dwelling in the past even more, when they were kids with little to no responsibility. However, this act of longing for the past can actually bring remarkable dangers.
As mentioned before, nostalgia brings us back to ‘easier times’. Was it really easier back then though? Research found that our brain remembers things in a unique way, which prioritizes memories connected with happy emotions. Our brain might even become blind to all the flaws from the past, and will provide playbacks of only the fun times. Yes, it is very much our viewing of the past from rose-colored glasses.
This will then actually hinder our decision making for the future. If we let our past dictate our future, we can practically hear the sounds of sirens already. That’s bad, bad news. This is not a good practice because we are basically drunk on this drug called nostalgia, and the recalling of events can totally be faulty!
When people are starting a new phase in life, their brain tends to romanticize the previous phase right before it. All of us have surely experienced this once or twice. Advancing to secondary school makes us miss the simple times during primary school years. Progressing to university makes us nostalgic about the school uniform and canteens. However, we all know that there were some sort of struggles that we all disliked during our school years as well! To put it simply, although today, in 2021, we might miss the times when masks are not compulsory, in the future, say, in 2027, some people might actually miss face masks! Hence, we can quite agree that the logic behind nostalgia might not be so logical.
On a concluding note…
At times like this, when we are all staying at home, it is very easy for us to go spiraling down reminiscing our past. It is important to remember to not let it cloud our mind and make us forget about all the good that are surrounding us right now. After all, we wouldn’t want this moment that could possibly be the ‘good old times’ in the future turn to ‘bad old times’ because we’re not living in the present, would we?
“The past is a candle at great distance: too close to let you quit, too far to comfort you.” – Amy Bloom, Away
“It is strange how we hold on to the pieces of the past while we wait for our futures.” – Ally Condie, Matched
“Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were.” – Marcel Proust
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