Will Nostalgia ever die

11 Jan

Nostalgia and thoughts about nostalgia seem to be popping up a lot lately in my surroundings. It’s got me thinking, what’s the big deal with nostalgia? Maybe my social circles are filled with lonely people.

In art and design, we are often looking back to the game changers and seeing what they did differently in their own time, and seeking inspiration. In culture, art and fashion we always seem to circle back to some trend from decades ago. I mean, who would’ve thought leggings would come back? Yet, when we re-cycle this trend, we may put a little twist on it to make it more modern, when sometimes it just ends up looking silly.

The American culture constantly cycles through different trends and styles, but we reuse previous trends in a different or new way and call them Avant Garde. How is it a “new” trend when it’s a different version what they did in the 60’s? Are we so un-original that we can’t think of something new?

Some artists believe that nostalgia is dead. They believe you shouldn’t look to the past for influence, but only look forward.

In life, the nostalgia helps us feel better. Usually we remember positive emotions or feelings about an event and it makes us look back and know that we are living a happy life, at times.

In the 18th century, they thought nostalgia was a disease and included symptoms of insomnia, anxiety, and depression. Today, scientists have found that it can actually cheer people up; “nostalgia counteracts effects of loneliness, by increasing perceptions of social support. In addition, that same study found that loneliness can trigger nostalgia,” (ScienceDaily).

The events we are nostalgic about include ourselves as the main focus and often include a close support group of family and friends. This explains why having nostalgic feelings or reflecting on our lives can help subdue our loneliness.

But why be nostalgic in art and design? Is it possible that the maker of something sees an element from their past that they are fond of and subconsciously imports it into their work? The cycle of reoccurring or recycled trends may have a link with personal nostalgia, but I also believe that we as humans are fascinated and drawn to things in the past we were unable to experience ourselves.

“Psychology Of Nostalgia.” ScienceDaily, 12 Dec. 2008. Web. 10 Jan. 2012. 

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