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What is nostalgia?


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This idea has been on my mind today and I had what I feel is an epiphany moment so just wanted to share thoughts.

Memories are information about past events stored in our brain. The types of information associated with these events are:

-what we saw

-what we were thinking 

-what happened

-what we heard

-how we felt


I was just reflecting on my kids.. my baby daughter, like most other babies is always happy. That is her default condition, there  are no complex thoughts that can enable her to feel any other way. She doesn’t understand language, so I think that all of her memories that are being stored are simply visual and feeling information (what she sees and the happiness she feels).

Even her older sisters who are now in school are generally always happy. Sure they have upset or jealous moments, but they are kids and since every experience is pretty new for them, everything they do is pretty exciting and in general they are mostly very happy. So most of the memories they are storing now are happy memories.

When you go down memory lane, you can relive your memories. If memories from when you were younger are typically associated with feelings of happiness (because young kids are typically pretty happy by default) then maybe this is why nostalgia makes us happy. Maybe we are simply remembering the way we felt when we were younger which happened to be much happier than we are as adults 


Edited by phart010
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Just now, Gloves said:

My life is pretty bangin' as an adult, but it sucked ass growing up.

Even so, video games were an escape for me as a kid, so I do think I associate them with the few times I was happy as a kid. Happy definitely wasn't my default state.

When I look back at my life as a kid, as an adult I know it wasn’t that great. But back then I was ignorant and couldn’t comprehend it or compare myself with others. Ignorance is bliss 

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I've heard "nostalgia" being characterized as basically that happy feeling associated with good moments and feelings of the past, with a tinge of sadness.  You "miss" those good moments, and you're sad because you realize they can never really return.  There will never really be a day when there is no internet, TVs were the main source of information, followed by news papers, you're a kid, sitting in your living room, playing that NES on that heavy CRT and in other free time, you're riding your bike or goofing off with your friends in the neighborhood.

Time moves on. Technology, people and the times change.  Nostalgia, as a hobby or an activity of recreation is just an attempt to model those positive moments that realistically are gone for ever.  Nostalgia is, more or less, the joyful mourning of the good times of the past.

Edited by RH
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