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Exploring how nostalgia is central to the present and future of human beings

Graphic by Naseem ur Rehman

We have tried to do the impossible. Look for a meaning of the term or something that comes closer, and see what impacts it has left on people, both in their individual and collective states.

There is no denying of nostalgia and it is equally useless to imagine if it is a negative or positive emotion. But people have thought about it, they have tried to rationalise it, they have built narratives around it in the form of entire histories and civilisations and, in our case, founded a new country in the hope of a nostalgic long lost home.

Nostalgia’s best gift to humankind has come in the form of creative endeavours, be it in arts or literature. Whether it’s a recollection of emotion that was conceived in the mind or an actual lived experience, literature is indeed a product of nostalgia.

Whatever the definition or the connotation or the origin of the term, it is a place or time in the past that people yearn for. It is a so-called anchor that gives meaning to the otherwise meaningless life. What could be wrong with it?

Read also: All about nostalgia

It’s that indescribable state between pleasure and pain that you can’t exactly lay your hands on.

Yet, in trying to find a meaning of nostalgia in our lives, the consensus of most writers in today’s Special Report is that it all depends on what you want to cull out of the past and how to then relate it to the present and thereby the future.

So that’s nostalgia for the utilitarians. For the rest, nostalgia was, is and shall always be.


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