The theme this month is nostalgia; the wistful desire to relive or experience a quondam time – the sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or era.
When reading the reflective memoir by the Austrian writer, Stefan Zweig – I can get a clear picture of the man sitting by his desk, agonized by what has been, compared to what is now. The time of encouragement and vitalization has passed away, and Zweig feels the duty to show the world what they once had, as an attempt to bring it back to life again.
“If I try to find some useful phrase to sum up the time of my childhood and youth before the First World War, I hope I can put it most succinctly by calling it the Golden Age of Security.”
I am only at the beginning of this book, but I couldn’t help but share with you – some of the feelings that awoke in me these past few days.
The author of this book was without doubt, in love with his past. However, can one feel nostalgic about a time which one has not lived through?
I have never felt a strong nostalgia for the past in my life – however, the yarning I have for the late 18 hundreds, is stronger now than it has ever been.
I look at photos from “La Belle Epoque”, and I dream about strolling through the streets of Paris in flowery body-con dresses. I google old pictures brought to life by photoshop, and I come across a fascinating photo-gallery …
All these pictures were originally black-and-white, but someone has made them come alive by adding color. It seems more real and more possible to relive these moments now, doesn’t it?
For years, my mind has constantly been tormenting me with the idea of not belonging to ones time – and now that I read about Stefan Zweig experiencing the same feeling, only in this book, he has already lived through the generation he is longing for … it leaves me with an even greater melancholia.
Dor. It’s a new word in our dictionary. It represents a sad feeling. A feeling we should not have. But what if we have been walking around with this feeling our whole lives, without knowing?
Imagine yourself in a hopeful society, where people are not disconnected from each other by small devices called smartphones. Picture interacting with people. Constantly. And when you’re not with other people, you’re either reading a book, working on something or watching the nature. Depressed people look at the world today, and they call it things like selfish, insensitive, detached and pessimistic. They say the problem isn’t in their head. It is the society.
Now, some may argue that depression is only in your head, and that the ways of the world today has got nothing to do with any mental illness. To some extent, I agree. The biggest reason for depression is usually inherited genes or an uneasy childhood. However, I do belive that the world could be better, and that more optimism in general, could help the depression statistics go down. I think that by surrounding yourself with beauty, life will reward you with great things. Unfortunately, theres not much beauty left to indulge in. Buildings are turning into shoe-boxes. People are transforming into robots; serving their iPhone as if it was their master. And schools are becoming a threatened place, because of all the reported shootings – instead of an inspiring place for children to learn and expand their knowledge.
Things weren’t exactly great in the past. But are they any better now?
Is the world … going towards the wrong direction?
Maybe it’s about time we start following Stefan Zweig’s wish. Why not learn from the past? Look at all the qualities and bring them back to life again. If one time, we choose to paint the world beautiful with harmonic buildings and statues, I can guarantee you – the people will be nicer and less selfish.
We don’t have to call it going back in time. Instead, we can look at it as going into the new, beautiful generation.
After all, white, shoe-box buildings are SO yesterday’s news, am I right?
Alright guys! That was it for today. Now I would like to hear your thoughts on this subject! What was your reaction to “The world of yesterday”? How do you feel about the society/world today? Please, comment below. Let’s make a discussion!
Until next time♥ (many of you have requested more articles on “The Nerdrum School” – so maybe there will be something concerning this topic in my next blog post …)
Aftur S. Nerdrum