People here are talking about sentimentality for an idealized past.So what is it if it's not nostalgia?
Is this a bad thing?
"Bad"? I am not sure how that word applies here. A quick and tired ramble . . .
The sentimentalizing of the often idealized past can have less than desired consequences: disappointment and dissatisfaction with the present.
This can take on the shape of a general belief one's best days are past.
That the WORLD used to be better and one might want to act in order to restore it to the past that never was (see all reactionary traditionalisms for examples).
Really, it is not something I understand on a personal level. I just don't get it. Although by many objective metrics my "life" was better at another time, I just don't relate to the past at all in the manner described above. And I feel a little sorry for those who do, especially if they are so young, which is a change I have witnessed in my own lifetime. Young people sentimentalizing their past and more interesting their past they have yet to have. (Young women before their weddings actually crafting the memories they hope to have later for example and wistfully discussing how they will look back on them. The examples are myriad and nearly daily anymore.)
Rather than the common suggestion that the late modern world or post modern world is full of differing and complex and irreconcilable narratives, I see (I didn't get a chance to chuckle at vamrat's thoughts on feminism but the same structure would apply there) a greater "integration" of life (or leveling down life to a few common denominators) as lived or in other words because the postmodern in the day to day is the excess of the modern and thus the attempt for everyone to collectively cling to some single truth, the notion of post / late modernity as being divergent must exist to allow a critical manner of furthering the distillation of daily life into the same.
Real nostalgia is something that undoes us (there are various qualities of nostalgia). The sorrowful remembrance of lost spouse. Out of nowhere, one is overcome with a pained longing for what can never be again. Never. It reveals the unique and irreducible quality of life. There is no cure for nostalgia. You can't go back home. To do so would smack of incredible violence to the persons or moments who are made fully present through their absence and obliterate the possibility for the re-presentation.
Wanting to escape your life today and return to some imagined better time, when you were probably trying to escape then as well, is meaningless and sorta boring but something than can be marketed to.
There is money to be had and anxiety to be relieved in sentimentality. Nostalgia lines the pocket books of no one and does nothing to relieve of our pain but compounds it and thus shows us what the sentimental attempts to cover up. No that moment will not happen again no matter how much we wish it could, cause if it could indeed be recreated at whim it would then no longer matter.
We are strange and contradictory creatures. We long for the singular to be relived at our disposal.
Or something like that.