Is nostalgia real or is it just an emotionally-charged illusion?

gaming-super-mario-bros-3Nostalgia is defined by the Merriam-Webster online dictionary as “homesickness” or “a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition.” Essentially, nostalgia is a longing for the past.

The past, meaning the time you met your first love, or the time your favorite team won the championship. But, most often, nostalgia refers to a longing for one’s childhood. And for gamers, that emotion is strong, according to this thought-provoking article by Edge Online .

I think nostalgia makes a person worse, not better. While this article aptly describes nostalgia as a pleasure-inducing emotion, with it’s relation to fond memories, I consider this notion slightly hedonistic. Gamers are a strange bunch, but like anybody, they generally think that what used to be is what should be.

How many times have your parents or grandparents scolded you and “your generation” for some nonspecific “crime?” Nostalgia colors the memories, and, as the article says, human beings have a tendency to remember good things and forget the bad. This is what contributes to nostalgia.

That is why it is a dishonest emotion; it lies to you. Maybe the original Super Mario Bros isn’t that good. Maybe you just associate it with fond memories of kinship with friends. Or maybe you hate where your life is now.

Or maybe I’m just too cynical and self-righteous. The article made me ask myself if my flippant attitude towards nostalgia is unwarranted. Maybe it is, but, as of now, I see too much evidence of nostalgia-blindness to think otherwise.