not a pretty picture. not a good. not a bad. picture. but an argument.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


in midnight in paris paul says of nostalgia:   "Nostalgia is denial - denial of the painful present... the name for this denial is golden age thinking - the erroneous notion that a different time period is better than the one ones living in - its a flaw in the romantic imagination of those people who find it difficult to cope with the present."

milan kundera in<i> ignorance</i> writes, “The Greek word for "return" is nostos. Algos means "suffering." So nostalgia is the suffering caused by an unappeased yearning to return.”  (thank you, monica, for your earlier discussion on nostalgia:)

and laura tedeschi  introduces a new element regarding nostalgia, "that it is the pain of not knowing what is there now."

i consider these ideas in regards to my own nostalgia and firmly do not believe it is a denial of the painful present.  in fact, it requires me to look the painful present directly in the eye.  nor do i want to return to nostalgic times.  i accept they are necessarily in the past.  what would it be to relive them?  we would forever pass into and then out of them, those times becoming lukewarm and used for their lack of uniqueness.  and for me it is not the pain of not knowing what is there now, but perhaps this might change depending on what piece of nostalgia i consider, but i don't think so.  rather, for me, it is a celebration of the past, what has been, and what has brought us here to this moment, but it is linked with sadness, the loss all time forces upon us necessarily, the unforgiving, unrelenting forward loss of innocence as we move forever in one direction, between moments. 

nostalgia must be, i think, as personal as any idea, seen through the eye of one's life philosophy.


  1. Interesting how each person uses the same word to describe a mixture of feelings we all call nostalgia.

  2. What is especially overwhelming to know that there is no way back. I try not to look back because everything can fall apart, I am mistaken but it helps me to live.

  3. i loved that movie. didn't know it was woody allen until after i watched it, thankfully, as i usually detest his films. this one was dreamy. even though i'm not an owen wilson fan.

    nostalgia can be positive or some ways i think it is good for us, as it means we are being gentler on our pasts...refusing to turn your head back to the present is another story, but nostalgia for childhood days spent climbing trees or playing on the beach? i like it - inspires me to do it as a grown up :)


"Words at the limit of hearing, attributable to no one, received in the conch of the ear like dew by a leaf." (philippe jaccottet) or even a quiet presence is appreciated))