tuesday nostalgia

Hello, readers.

It occurred to me, as it often does, how my life divides itself around moments. For example, it’s been 18 years since Buffy premiered on the WB. Which is a longer amount of time than I had been alive at the time of that premiere, which I didn’t actually watch. I didn’t start watching until a few episodes in. For shame.

Also, this happened in Seoul, during protests surrounding the sinking of the Sewol Ferry, this being the anniversary of that.

Speaking of anniversaries, Facebook, and companies like Timehop, enjoy reminding us that every day is the anniversary of something.

Nostalgia was originally thought of as a mental illness. Swiss doctor Johannes Hofer coined the term in 1688, combining a pair of Greek words: nostos (homecoming) and algos (pain). Nostalgia, in other words, was homesickness — an affliction suffered by Swiss students and soldiers who went abroad. Some doctors of the era considered it a “hypochondria of the heart,” and thought it could be cured by shaming sufferers until they stopped feeling nostalgia, or by covering them with leeches. If nostalgia got bad enough, some believed, it was possible to die from it.

Now, less so.

The researchers began bringing people into their lab and trying to trigger nostalgia, sometimes by showing them certain photos or playing certain songs, but most often just by asking them to write about fond memories. Their stories almost always involved social memories, created with friends or family years ago — and when surveyed afterward, participants reported feeling significantly more loved and connected with others, and had higher levels of self-esteem, compared with a control group.

The above come from “The Nostalgia Machine” by Joseph Stromberg.

It’s funny to think that a long time ago, in more or less this galaxy, people couldn’t see their past. And then they learned to draw, and they could see a representation of it. And then they took pictures, and that was still a representation, much in the way that film and sound and, I suppose, tweets or posts are. There’s a whole Radiolab episode about time and objects and the tangibile intangibles of things, including email.

I just finished listening to a Mutant Enemy Reunion podcast done by the Nerdist Writers’ Panel.

Once, I told someone that Joss Whedon was the most important man in my life that I never met. This is probably true.

See you next time, readers.