The Nostalgia Paradox

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EUR Rome

An innate suspicion of nostalgia has been a preoccupation of mine for many years. Nostalgia is defined as longing for something past, and there is an inherent problem with this, in that it is a craving that can never be satisfied, because the elements that could feed it are finished, and dissolved in the records of time.

It’s a dangerous pastime to indulge in such yearnings. It can lure you in, the same as an addiction, because, like unrequited love, there is a poetic melancholy attached to it that sweeps you with emotion and makes you feel as if you are having some sort of profound experience. This sort of sensation can make the day to day normal routines of life appear boring and two dimensional by comparison, and you can end up disconnecting from the immediate environment around you, and existing in a bubble of backward thinking.

Our brains have a tendency to doctor our memory banks until we have access to only an edited version of our history, one that suits our world view at any given moment. For this reason it is wise to be cautious about how we approach our recollections. We should regard them as if watching a film, and not allow them to have a hold on, or influence our current participation with the world. Nostalgia has its place but we should bear in mind that it is often accompanied by delusions that develop over time. This can be useful in small doses, but it is prudent to impose limitations on the allowance.

All photos taken by Ju Underwood in EUR, Rome, Italy