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alex
27-03-2011, 08:52 PM
Fascinating on how it evokes such fond memories through smells, actions and such. When I'm in a stuffy room and I open the window, sometimes the fresh air makes me think of my days at secondary school.

Like today for example it took me back so much, it's such a weird feeling, like treasured thoughts that you can't quite re-live. For some reason they always seem so obscure to me. They don't always bring back thoughts of specific day's for me either, just a reminder of that period in my life.

Mr. Tea
27-03-2011, 09:15 PM
I know just what you mean - often it's a memory of a feeling or emotion you can't quite pin down, rather than any concrete image or place or event, isn't it?

I think a lot of people have commented on how smell, in particular, can do this. There can be a certain smell you haven't smelled for years and then you get a whiff of it somehow and it's like you're five years old again.

IdleRich
27-03-2011, 09:34 PM
Itīs Madeleine biscuits that do it for me.

alex
27-03-2011, 09:40 PM
Yea that is exactly it, never a definitive date or situation it brings back, just sort of like a period in your life, or an area where you used to reside in. As you say, it's usually brought on by smells but obviously seeing old ad's on television does it too, old tv programmes, books etc, but it's never the same feeling as when a smell does it. It feels like it's so close, yet not there at-all.

Mr. Tea
27-03-2011, 10:16 PM
Great thread, Alex.

There's a very particular smell you get when a very particular kind of dust or dirt or (sub)urban not-quite-soil, that has been very dry, gets moistened at the start of a rain shower - I think it's a sort of exhalation from bacteria and simple fungi that go nuts when they get wet after being being dormant, poetically enough - that always takes me back to being a small boy in Bristol 25+ years ago. You don't really get it in London, London smells different.

hucks
27-03-2011, 10:43 PM
Are smells more evocative because you can't store them in your memory? Like, you can't just conjure up the smell of eg that kind of dust Tea was referring to, so when you do smell it the nostaligic links are greater?

alex
27-03-2011, 11:41 PM
perhaps? Although the smell isn't prominent at the time (obviously not the case always) it must imbed in your subconscious ready to enact nostalgia at a later date?

slowtrain
28-03-2011, 10:15 AM
Are smells more evocative because you can't store them in your memory? Like, you can't just conjure up the smell of eg that kind of dust Tea was referring to, so when you do smell it the nostaligic links are greater?

I don't know the exact science on that, but I call bullshit on the idea that you can't remember smells, Nabokov is always harping on about it and it really bugs me; coz I can bring to mind pretty much at will tonsa scents in my head - usually they have to be pretty pungent themselves, and to be attached to pretty strong memories.. But I can still remember vividly the smell of my first girlfriends saliva, and of the two perfumes that she wore. Certain smells that I love I can bring back as well - wet rain on concrete and the smells of foods (roast chicken and peas w/ gravy particularly) - I also can remember clearly the smell of the incense my dad burns, and the patchouli that the house he lived in when I was real little as well....

But that doesn't make smells any less nostalgic to me.. They can still bring me straight back to remembering to how certain fabrics felt, very specific images etc etc

I can also remember tastes really well, but no one has told me you can't remember those though.


Basically, I love the senses!

Lichen
28-03-2011, 01:36 PM
Nostalgia, like neuralgia or myalgia for example, is a medical condition.

Before 'shell shock' was coined there was nostalgia.

Dunninger
28-03-2011, 04:16 PM
What is the exact difference between nostalgia and nice memories?

grizzleb
28-03-2011, 04:23 PM
Apparently the regions of the brain which deals with smells are very close to those which deal with memory, which is why you get that bleed. Part of the link I see in the singularity of certain smells, i.e someone's nans house will smell of a certain kind of toilet cleaner, a certain kind of cigarette and a certain kind of air freshener (say). All of these only appear together in the chemical mix they do in your nan's between 19-- and 19-- so if by some coincedence you stumble upon this very singular mix again the link is so great because it's not like music or colours or something else which can pop up everywhere else, relatively unchanged. Certain conditions have to be met...

bandshell
28-03-2011, 04:36 PM
It's cool when you feel nostalgia for a time you weren't a part of.

Lichen
28-03-2011, 04:57 PM
What is the exact difference between nostalgia and nice memories?

Nice memories make you smile.
Nostalgia makes you melancholy.

Mr. Tea
28-03-2011, 05:12 PM
It's cool when you feel nostalgia for a time you weren't a part of.

I think of this as pseudo-nostalgia. It's all very well but it can easily turn into a conservative tendency to talk up the 'good old days' when you weren't actually around to experience life in (say) Victorian times.

Edit: I can see from your avatar that you have a legitimate nostalgia for '80s cock-rock. :)

lanugo
28-03-2011, 08:14 PM
Apparently the regions of the brain which deals with smells are very close to those which deal with memory, which is why you get that bleed.

I think that the brain area dealing with smells is also one of the evolutionarily oldest and most basic components of the brain - hence the visceral and profound nature of the sensations caused by scent-induced remembrances.

BareBones
28-03-2011, 08:41 PM
Nice memories make you smile.
Nostalgia makes you melancholy.

definitely. looking at old photographs of fun and happy times makes me feel unbearably sad.

routes
28-03-2011, 09:03 PM
It's cool when you feel nostalgia for a time you weren't a part of.

or preemptively nostalgic for things that haven't happened yet, just in case they never do :confused:

reminds me tho, i used to know this really tragic case who was so utterly indoctrinated by second/third hand rave nostalgia that he genuinely believed people had more fun in '92. like he had this default setting of 'underwhelmed', joylessly shoving e's down himself and then sitting there all night like a dick.

sufi
29-03-2011, 08:14 PM
Last year I thought about the first time I traveled through Europe, which was in 1970. When I traveled through Europe, each country had not only its own currency but its own brands of cigarettes, its own everything. That was such a wonderful experience. Each country in Europe was a pocket universe. Thatís gone. Itís just gone. They all just have EU stuff and a lot of American stuff and a lot of Japanese stuff. Itís not as charming. But itís the way it is. I donít really see how we could have kept it the way it was. I donít feel nostalgia for what it was. Iíve become convinced that nostalgia is a fundamentally unhealthy modality. When you see it, itís usually attached to something else thatís really, seriously bad. I donít traffic in nostalgia
http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2010/09/vulture_transcript_william_gib.html

sufi
29-03-2011, 08:16 PM
also...
what's the relation between nostalgia and hauntology, please?

routes
01-04-2011, 09:39 PM
allow me to URLate

http://www.mediafire.com/?wjro8xxbcwi27e5

zhao
30-10-2011, 12:07 PM
original post was not really about "nostalgia" was it... more like sudden deep memory flashes.

which i do very much get from time to time, and yes it is pretty amazing when it happens... i always wish, just wish i could remember more clearly, and just more of that feeling of being 5 or whatever, but of course it's gone in seconds flat. would be well interesting to do regression/hypno therapy, or certain meditation methods which can bring back deep memories... i wonder if and when i get to 75, and living somewhere else, i would have memory flashes of the feeling of living in Berlin in 2011...

Lichen
31-10-2011, 10:09 AM
I know just what you mean. Like a valve as been opened in your mind releasing a past feeling.

zhao
31-10-2011, 11:40 AM
I know just what you mean. Like a valve as been opened in your mind releasing a past feeling.

which is not the same as deja vu. or maybe related? is it possible that this, like some have claimed for deja vu, can also be attributed to some kind of neurological mishap, and not at all a glimpse of one's actual memories? i would say no, because the feeling seems too real and the fragments seem like they are really from my childhood...

Lichen
31-10-2011, 12:19 PM
delayed-ja vu.

grizzleb
31-10-2011, 07:11 PM
Proust has some good stuff on this.

grizzleb
31-10-2011, 07:19 PM
Itīs Madeleine biscuits that do it for me.
Damn, didn't notice that someone had already made this joke.