“Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past” (Isaiah 43:18)
In the video below Clark Elieson does a great job of reflecting on what we think "Nostalgia" is in our lives and culture.
But do we really understand what that melancholy, that yearning for the past or past experiences or the person we used to be really is all about?
We are all very different people inside and out than we were even just a few months ago. Aside from the replacement of cells our human spirit and soul is always developing and will do so until our bodies die.
Modern man indulges in fantasies of the past because he dispises the present or the future.
“The Future is, of all things, the thing least like eternity. It is the most temporal part of time--for the Past is frozen and no longer flows, and the Present is all lit up with eternal rays.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
You and I are aging as we move through time. Entrophy is at work in the world around us and even within us as God providentially renews our world on a daily basis.
I can attest now at 67 years of age what the passing of years reveals. We lament the loss of loved ones, the things we have done (and not done), things we should have done and our coming death.
We say that our children will keep us young but that is often I believe just an act of our ego.
“One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” Philippians 13–14
God knows us well and that is why he instructs us to "forget" the past. How does God mean that? God does not mean we wipe our memory which would be impossible under normal circumstances instead he is telling us to not obsess on the past but instead focus on the present and the future.
If we are in a daily relationship with Christ past successes will not inflate our pride, nor will past failures deflate our self-worth.
Sadly Americans have in general all but discounted the past and for now seem to be in a mode of deconstruction even if they have no idea what to replace it with. This of course is folly!
“Things aren’t like they used to be.” is a frequent comment of those lamenting our present age.
Was the past better than the present? The problem with that logic is we then start to deny God's presence in the present. Our lack of faith becomes evident. Do you then think God is no longer in control? Do you also think he hasn’t brought you to this point where you are now in life and that he no longer loves you or has plans/purposes for you?
Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?”For it is not from wisdom that you ask this." Ecclesiates 7:10
We often use nostalgia as a form of escapism, by mentally dwelling on the past instead of dealing with the present or looking in faith to the future.
Nostalgia is bittersweet.
When we have the deep emotion of nostalgia, we experience a feeling of something Our perceptions sees the beauty of what has been lost so we long for it. Nostalgia is often fleeting and often includes pain.
Yet do we actually know what it is we long for?
God has placed eternity in our hearts, that is where we are headed.
So when you get nostalgic look forward to a time in which everything from our past will be completely swallowed up in the glory of being with Christ!
Nostalgia Isn’t What It Used To Be
Video from Clark Elieson
"Chapters: 0:00 Nostalgia Isn't What It Used To Be 1:35 Commodity Fetishism 3:45 Night In The Woods Part 1 9:08 Desire for 'The Real Thing' That Doesn't Exist! 13:16 The Eternal Enjoyment of The Drive 21:42 The Uncanny Return Home 24:09 Drive or Desire: The Formula for Nostalgia 25:51 How Nostalgia Has Changed Under Capitalism 31:54 Now There Is Nothing BUT Nostalgia 35:55 Night in the Woods Part 2 41:57 Melancholy: The Loss Of The Future Felt in the Present 46:07 The Personal is The Political Is The Supernatural 47:02 The Political... 50:31 Is the Supernatural (Disco Elysium Part One) 54:41 Fate is History Predetermined 1:00:41 The Political Is the Personal is the Political 1:05:52 Mae's Anxiety: The Nothingness of The Real Revealed 1:12:08 The Impossible Factor Making Everything Else Possible 1:20:33 MAJOR DISCO ELYSIUM SPOILERS 1:29:50 Crossing Back Over Into the Drive" from video introduction
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Anthony Esolen On Why It's Important To Remember The Past
Video from Unregistered Podcast
"Anthony Esolen explains why it’s so important to remember the past and the cultural traditions that came before us." from video introduction
Anthony Esolen's book "Nostalgia" can be purchased through this link: Nostalgia: Going Home in a Homeless World
On the Way
"Lyndon Johnson closed his acceptance speech before the Democratic National Convention in 1964 with a rousing call to “let us be on our way!” The plea became a rallying cry for the fall campaign, which issued in a landslide. If pressed to provide a road map for exactly where he wished the country to go, Johnson would have released a fusillade of high-flown, bourbon-spattered rhetoric spiked with a list of social legislation and policy directives sure, he believed, to usher in the new millennium called the “Great Society.” Pass a law, change the world. This is the way those addicted to political solutions have come to think.
Anthony Esolen does not present us with anything so ephemeral. He too calls for all of us to be up, packed, and on our way, though his road map is not a political but a spiritual one, and therefore far more palpable and urgent. Nostalgia is a winsome meditation on what deeply educated, mature people ought to know already but, rabid political and cultural hubris notwithstanding, don’t. His directions are certainly reliable, replete with many cautious pointers from travelers who have trod the long roads before us but following their lead in insisting on the long way round to the good and wise life, which is the only way we can achieve.." from the article: On the Way