As a philosopher, Albrecht determined to identify and name this condition. The word he came up with was solastalgia, a portmanteau word of the Latin solus, which means “abandonment and loneliness,” and nostalgia. Nostalgia has not always had the warm and fuzzy connotations it does now. When it was first used, in the seventeenth century, it described a diagnosable illness that afflicted people who were far from home but could not return. Soldiers were particularly susceptible, as were people forced into migration by conflict, colonization, and slavery. The cure, it was thought, was simply to return home and be soothed by familiarity — otherwise, the sufferer’s distress would continue, even to the point of death. To Albrecht, if nostalgia was a sickness caused by the displacement brought about by seventeenth-century globalization, solastalgia was its twenty-
Ash Sanders takes a deep dive into living with the burdens of a world falling apart.