Liked Against Nostalgia by zeynep (Insight)

Until we call out the ridiculousness when it appears, until we recognize exactly how broken things are we may be falling into the trap of longing for nostalgia. For a past we can return to where the problems we have didn’t exist. Or, we can recognize that nostalgia is fed from exactly the dynamic that got us to this thorny moment in the first place: the denial of our broken social contract, and institutions and rituals that were performatively there, the way the debate was, but no longer providing the function that was the stated reason for their existence in the first place.

Bookmarked Nostalgia reimagined by Felipe De Brigard (Aeon)

Nostalgia, then, is a complex mental state with three components: a cognitive, an affective, and a conative component. This is generally recognised. However, my characterisation differs from the traditional one in putting imagination at its heart. First, I suggest that the cognitive component needn’t be a memory but a kind of imagination, of which episodic autobiographical memories are a case. Second, nostalgia is affectively mixed-valanced, which results from the juxtaposition of the affect generated by the act of simulating – which is typically negative – with the affect elicited by the simulated content, which is typically positive. Finally, the conative component isn’t a desire to go back to the past but, rather, a motivation to reinstate in the present the properties of the simulated content that, when attended to, make us feel good.

Nostalgia seems to be a pertinent topic at the moment. I keep coming back to The Bleachers track, I Miss Those Days, where even though the reality is that things weren’t great, we always long for something else. This has me wanting to re-read Fredric Jameson’s essay, Nostalgia for the Present.

via Doug Belshaw

Listened vinylcast #22: INXS’s Kick – bavaradio from bavaradio.com
I really enjoyed listening to Kick with you Jim.

I never realised how many hits were on that album. I agree with you, it felt like I knew every song. However, growing up in Australia in the 90’s, it was never cool to listen to INXS. (Damian Cowell might call that ‘being a wanker‘.) I probably only dived into their music in the last few years (after their brush with reality TV.)

This all reminded me of something that Dan Condon recently wrote in response to rediscovering You Am I’s Dress Me Slowly:

Is the added pang of nostalgia you get when unearthing an old treasure enough to make it stand even taller? Does distance really make the heart grow fonder?

It can’t be confected. You can’t bury a record like a time capsule and come back to it expecting revelations.

But geez it’s a good feeling to be surprised by something so familiar. Dig through your shelves this weekend and see if something grabs you for the first time in a long time.

On a side note, I am enjoying your Tom Waitsesque dive down the rabbit hole discussing Ovi and getting drunk at Fordham.

Listened Future doom and the rose-coloured past from Radio National

Why do we see the past through rose-coloured glasses, but not the future? Psychologists tell us that human beings have a tendency to be fearful and pessimistic about the future, while simultaneously romanticising the past.

If the theory is true, it might help explain the difficulties we often have in making informed decisions and effectively planning for the future.

And it could give us an insight into why populist politics is on the rise.

 

Guests

Carter Phipps – Author and Managing Director of the non-profit Institute for Cultural Evolution

Dr Steven Pinker – Professor of Psychology, Harvard University

Dr Art Markman – Professor of Psychology and Marketing, University of Texas at Austin, Executive Director IC2 Institute

Dr Roy Baumeister – Professor of Psychology, University of Queensland

Antony Funnell leads an investigation into our pessimistic outlook on the world. Steven Pinker traces our tendency towards the news and negativity back to the Hebrew prophets. Roy Baumeister suggests that our tendency to undervalue the future and celebrate the past is a defence mechanism. Art Markman talks about the dangers of our tendency towards revolution, rather than evolution. This reminds me of an education debate from a few years ago. One of the ideas that closed the podcast was:

Whether you believe you can or can’t, you’re right.

I was intrigued by Pinker’s data dashboard, but concerned about the objective truth provided by data. For example, the Grattan Institute recently released a report stating that the prosperity of young people is going backwards. Would this then be a point of focus, but not a dire prediction?