The nostalgia business

There is something beautiful, almost existentialist about this. I dare say, nostalgic even. Nostalgia has become in recent years a kind of cultural engine, which has been overexposed with the emergence of social networks, which has given us access to information that acts as a capsule of history.

So, taking advantage of our childhood and youth memories, they sell us the past. They do so, linking their products to our memories of simpler days. This approach has often come under scrutiny as a cynical effort to manipulate consumers’ cherished memories for nothing more than making money … And they do.

It makes sense, because there is a consumer base that grew from children to adults who today have disposable income that they want to take back a bit of their childhood. That is not a bad thing, it is a longing to recreate a past that no longer exists. What’s more, a regression.

This is why nostalgic campaigns use the past to make people feel happy when they remember those times, excited and ready to invest and buy. It is a powerful weapon to counteract loneliness, boredom and anxiety, where people feel closer and look happier. A meaningful, momentous, and memorable connection that makes humans feel loved and valued.

We pay because they bring us a piece of our past by watching movie remakes and reunions of musical groups from the 80s and 90s, which thanks to platforms such as YouTube, Netflix and Spotify, delve into our childhood and youth, venerating the past because we are not satisfied with the present and we escape, even a little from reality, to take refuge in memories of the past where things were simpler.

It is curious, because until a few centuries ago, nostalgia was classified as a “neurological disease of essentially demonic cause” and the writer Naguib Mahfuz, Nobel Prize in Literature, considered nostalgia as the opium of the sentimentalists. But today science thinks otherwise. Dr Erica Hepper, a professor at the Faculty of Psychology at the University of Surrey in England, explains that nostalgia is much more than mere remembrance; It is a feeling, “a warm and diffuse emotion that we feel when we think of good memories, it is often a bittersweet feeling, especially happy and comforting, but always with a hint of sadness that what we are remembering has been lost in some way way”.

Hepper says that it seems that by relating and reliving their experiences, people can improve their mood and reduce stress. “When we experience nostalgia, we tend to feel happier, to affirm our self-esteem, to be closer to our loved ones and to feel that life has more meaning.

However, nostalgia does not always imply positive memories, as it can include negative experiences that, in the end, served us as valuable learning experiences. So: was all past time better? Science says that our brain has the ability to bring up more good memories than bad. That our memory is selective and that nostalgia helps us deal with reality.

And yes, I confess, I am one of those who do not miss the opportunity to build nostalgic memories, and now that science has proved me right, I will continue listening to music from the 80s, watching the films of my time and meeting with the friends I found in my path at that time, when we wanted to eat the world and it is the world that has eaten us. From when the future were the only thing that mattered. But damn reality prevailed and I have seen friends leave forever and witness that the future has caught up with us. Today I try to fight every day because pain and injustice are not indifferent to me. I always fail.

This is not a desire to become a “pillar of salt”, trapped in the past. I am aware of what the American writer and poet, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, the great William Faulkner, said: “The past never dies, it is not even past.”


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The nostalgia business