The first question:
Can you throw some light on the feeling of nostalgia? Freud called it regressive and a seeking of the womb. This does not satisfy me.
Sometimes the perfume of a flower, sounds, a place or an incident from childhood, can evoke a few seconds of feeling and yearning that are so sad and so sweet, it can choke me with its intensity.
My childhood was not so happy, nor is the womb so appealing that mere sentimentality for “the old days” can explain it.
Could you help with some indications?
The whole of humanity suffers from nostalgia. Yes, I call it a suffering – it is a disease. It happens only because we are not able to live in the present totally, passionately, intensely. Then the mind starts making substitutes for the present, and there are two possibilities – either you move toward the past or you move toward the future. Neither the past exists nor the future: the past is no more, the future not yet. All that exists is this moment, only this moment. Now is the only real time and here the only real space.
But whenever you become obsessed with the past or the future it simply shows one thing, an escape from the present, an escape from the existential. And why should one want to escape from the existential? Why should one want to escape into memories or into fantasies? There can be only one reason – you don’t know how to live now, you don’t know the art of getting in tune with reality. Because your present is so empty, so meaningless, you have to compensate for it with something.
The easier way is to compensate for it with the past because the past once existed; it has left its footprints in the sands of your memory, so it is easier to fall back. The past seems more substantial than the future, hence ninety-nine percent of people fall toward the past. Only one percent – the poets, the visionaries, the artists – look toward the future, they compensate for their present with the future. But basically both are doing the same, more or less everybody is doing it in his own way.
Nostalgia means non-meditativeness, unawareness, unconsciousness, and it is an utterly futile exercise, an absolutely futile exercise. You cannot be nourished by the past, there is no way to live it again, but you can live in memories. Living in memories is an empty gesture.