Nostalgia

It’s a death cult.

Geniality doesn’t exist in our age, it won’t exist in the future and it certainly never existed in the past. But I don’t mind. Nostalgia is where I belong.

These days my mind has been occupied by a series of pettiness that one could not possibly neglect in my situation. The trap that I disdain is finally besieging my bastion. No alternatives, as everyone has to give in for the mediocre reality. This is when I miss the “good old time” the most, despite I have never had the honor to live in those times.

Nostalgia, the ultimate fantasy of many intellectuals. Unlike toothless elderly that live on flashing back the great youth and vitality of the past, people like me always like to indulge himself in the ocean of history, picturing the mighty glorious classic era to which one would find a sense of belonging that has been long lost in this estranged and unfamiliar world of the 21st century. I somehow recall a line I read sometime ago: “Solitude is the friend, for it’s the only thing that accompanies you and makes you think who you really are”. Defying the mediocrity in search for the eternal medication to overcome the loneliness in this intellectual allurement, I chose to lull myself in the purgatory of nostalgia, a helpless pain too ablaze to resist.

Every pretentious individual soul has it own interpretation of nostalgia. I recently watched the movie “Midnight in Paris” by Woody Allen and there was this interesting story line: The actor was in love with the era of the “Lost Generation” in Paris and met a girl who was chased by both Hemingway and Picasso in his 1920’s Paris nostalgia, whose dream was to live in the Belle Époque in late 19th century. They later fell into her nostalgia and met Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and other great figures in that age, who were speaking of their great admiration of the old Renaissance. The line stops here but I could extend it to speculate that the great figures like  DanteMachiavelli and Michelangelo would never feel content to the great Renaissance Era but longing for the dust of the Roman Empire and Ancient Greece… Alas, history is too overwhelming for a helpless individual being. He who might be actually creating a great appreciation for future generations is probably living in his nostalgia of the precedent sage. It’s like the fine sedimentation of the earth, one layer after another, each builds on the previous surface. The truth is, in the end of the day, it is always the external surface that matters the most to the biotic of the planet: it means delusive nostalgia is no better than the conformation of the current appalling reality, whatever that means to you. Yet, I still blindly drown myself into a time when Tang’s generals could have the honor to gallop across the desert into the steppe spreading the glory of mighty middle empire, or when every ambitious man spoke of his mind to the great kings for the unity of China together with the Confucius in the Hundred schools of thought. But the hubbub had long been immersed by the dust of history. What was past is never coming back. I could almost assure that even if I were in those times, things that I would have appreciated would have been those happened even a thousand years earlier, the era of Yao Shun Yu Tang Wen Wu (堯舜禹湯文武).

Nostalgia is the morphine for those who are sober enough to sense the whole picture. But the whole picture never really changes that much along the time. We will only rest in peace in a fantasy where it is too blurred and vague to know exactly how it felt to live under. That’s why Mark Twain initiated the trick of alternative history by imagining going back to the past to the era of King Arthur, probably under Telsa‘s influence. We simply followed. People like me would rather answer to the call of the wild and worship the brave old world as the real thing that I have been looking for all the time.

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3 comments

  1. Hi amigo. The good news about nostalgia is that if you examine your viewpoints of five years ago, and then your viewpoints of ten years ago, then compare them to one another and to your viewpoint now, you’ll almost certainly conclude they changed. Not once, but many times. But in each setting you, each of us, believed we were ‘right’ at the time. Nostalgia five years from now will be smiling backward on the person you were and all you believed to be right today, if you play your cards right and don’t allow yourself a death grip on your current viewpoints.

    The world never was the way it used to be unless you insist on it.

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