Nostalgia is an odd notion, one almost in the realms of Deja-vu when it rains upon us in tidal explosions. It can make us feel warm, perhaps also sad. From it comes renewed hope if we remember how much we love something, or perhaps it reminds us what we miss.
Nostalgia is bittersweet; loving and hating upon the glazed eyes that peek behind its veil.
Memories can come from an array of associations; stimulated by many different triggers. Our olfactory responses (smell) are known to be the biggest reminder. For example, when someone cooks a dish from your childhood and all of a sudden you are wafted back to leaning over the kitchen worktop, to get closer to the mysterious pan whose contents have you salivating; but an adult still trying to cook bats you to move out of their way and to wait until it was ready and on a plate.
The point is that kind of smell can then provoke this heart-warming sense of safety and security as you are transported to your childhood and the idea of being protected and loved.
Of course, nostalgia can also work to take you back to less pleasant places or memories. An old song comes on the radio, that suddenly has you in tears, and at first you have no idea why. Until you remember that it used to be their favourite song, and suddenly you have a gulp in your throat when you are reminded of how much you miss them, and how much you wish they were still here.
Our memories teach us, remind us of things we may have forgotten. However, they are triggered; good or bad, it reminds us of the things we have had, the things we have lost. It reminds us of the history that shaped us, and it is in learning from the things that came before, we find we are better able to move forward.
Nostalgia makes us appreciate, it makes us remember, and so hopefully the point being we shall not forget when we continue our present way.
Nostalgia, clearly is a very powerful notion. It has the ability to catch someone off guard and pull on our heart strings. It is a tool of our own minds and so will hit hard in places we did not even realise were vulnerable; and yet still from them can be pulled great strength also.
The mimic of nostalgia has not been missed in the world around us. It is the greatest tool of manipulation humans possess, and everyone tries to play on it, when attempting to persuade us of their cause. Advertising will use the key values of our society (or what they are assumed to be) to depict a version of reality that they want the audience to relate and connect to.
When loading a text with emotional language and imagery, we are more vulnerable to manipulation, and in this way they hope to persuade us into buying into their brand. They want us to believe the brand is personal, that they care, and by building up this trust, they come down to our level.
This way they earn our trust, and then we are interested in purchasing their products, or whatever service they are attempting to sell; whether an object, a concept or a perspective.
Outside of being a successful advertising tool, nostalgia is also a developmental emotion that can help us self-reflect and self-inform to help us learn things about ourselves. It allows humans the perspective to miss and appreciate moments long gone, in doing so it helps us understand the great things we have had in our lives, and to appreciate the things we have in the present.
Equally nostalgia can remind us of less fortunate things, but from our struggles we are reminded of our inner strength, it helps us to identify with the less attractive side of our society and reality, and can encourage us to not repeat the same mistakes, or strive harder to survive and thrive.
Remembering where we have come from, enables us to learn how we came to be in the present and it can help us in understanding the things we want and how we wish to be as we move forward towards the future.