The Tactile Feeling Of Nostalgia | INFJ Forum

The Tactile Feeling Of Nostalgia

Discussion in 'Psychology and MBTI' started by IndigoSensor, May 11, 2010.

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  1. IndigoSensor

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    I have many posts on nostalgia before (it is sort of a fascination of mine), but I want to go over one piece of it that has alluded me for some time now. The pseudophysical piece of it. Now, I don't know if this is universal for everyone, and I could possibly be just using myself as an individual example for this (thus this discussion would then be invalid). However, I feel like several other people have this and if I am able to explain it well enough others will "get it".

    Nostalgic memories and feelings are very specefic (once they are figured out), yet very hard to articulate. The emotional piece is what everyone focuses on, as it has the most impact, and as it is a fusion of many different kinds of emotions, and it is largely uniform, people will say they feel "nostalgic". Nostalgia is triggered by some kind of associative sense that happened during the time period. However this is simply just the trigger for it to begin.

    After this trigger sets it off (for example, a song), one of the first thing that comes to mind is the time period. This time period has a very specefic "pseudophysical" feeling to it. The reason I say pseudophysical, is because it is both a physical feeling, and a non physical feeling at the same time. It is nearly impossible to describe. However, it is often related to things in the environment during the time of the nostalgic memory. I will use an example I have experienced. I also have to make a distinction, this "psuedophysical feeling" is different from remembering what some physical feeling is like, such as hitting your funny bone.

    I have a highly vivid nostalgic memory from this past october, that is often triggered by several different songs. The pseudophysical feel I have for it is strongly related to two things, the low lighting of the lab I was in, and the concentrated acid I was working with at the time. You might assume that the acid would cause a "caustic" feel. It does not. It's the association with the acid (as a side note, it's the consistancy of maple syrup). The motions I made, the feeling of the air, how I moved, the emotions I experienced making me physically feel a certain way. How the room looked (in my case the lab). In essence this psudeophysical feel you have during the nostalgic memory, which brings in the emotional part of full nostalgia, is being refelt by the person, at around 75% of what was felt during the actual memory when it was actually happening. An interesting note, is one almost never is able to predict how why when or what nostalgic memory will be like while they are being formed in the present moment.

    I truly can not describe it beyond this and I wish that I could, but I assume if others have experienced this before they would understand and could possibly relate. I think this is important for understanding the nature of nostalgia though. This psudeophysical component is extremely important to having a nostalgic memory. It often comes about from having gone into this feel during the time of the memory more then once, to solidify it.

    Nostalgia is a highly signifgant piece to peoples emotional nature, and their overall emotional state of mind. Entering nostalgia is only partly volentery, and some people simply can not help but enter it, even if they don't want to. Understanding the reasons behind why this memory is nostalgic, for physical reasons, might help people sort out why they are signifgant to them. Simply sorting out the emotional side (an extremely hard thing to do on it's own) very often just leads to further rumination, and doesn't help with anything in the end. Extracting this other side, which is often not done, might give understanding to why someone is feeling what they are.

    Thoughts, opinions, ideas? Discuss.
     
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  2. Raccoon Love

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    I truly understand what are you trying to describe here, however I also have a hard time describing Nostalgia, it is indeed very complex and complicated. As you said, there's a lot of physical factors as well as emotional factors involved in nostalgia. Like you, music can act as a stimulus contributing to this nostalgic feelings. It provokes some sort of memory which takes me back in time, an experience in which I start seeing and feeling that specific moment. I start remembering the physical place, the events, all aspects of that memory. I really wish I can contribute more to this complex feeling, but as you said it is also very difficult for me to articulate.
     
  3. That Girl

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  4. Siamese cat

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    I think that nostalgia can be a very powerful thing for all the reasons that you described in your OP. Let's say that you are a person that loves the snow (which I know you are), and let's say that you are having a particularly bad day (which must be the case from time to time, hopefully not often). You could use that nostalgia as a way of positive uplift when you are down, if you pick a happy memory of a day that you've spent skiing with friends, you could feel that winter breeze on your skin, that clean and fresh winter air, and even feel as if you are happily sliding down some slope.

    I use this approach when I'm down, though in my case it's not the winter memories that I use as uplifting. :D When I think of a beautiful summer day that I've spent on the beach I swear that I even can smell the salt in the air around me although I know it's not there.

    I strongly agree that we should examine why we often get back to certain memories and what it is in those feelings that they evoke in us.
     
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  5. That Girl

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    What differentiates between a moment of nostalgia and a memory? Is there a difference in definition?
     
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  6. Siamese cat

    Siamese cat Madame Cat strikes again

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    I'd say that there is a difference. Nostalgia would be a memory to which you've contributed something, some special feeling and maybe even distorted it a little. It's like when you have people who for the most of their lives lived in a foreign country. They might live there because they fled because of the war that was happening in their country of origin at some point. Those people usually don't have a clear sense of belonging to the place where they are now, and neither they feel that they belong to the place where they were born because over the years they romanticized that place, and their memory of it is distorted because of the home sickness and other feelings that piled on over the years.
     
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  7. Jonathan

    Jonathan Community Member

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    I've noticed this before too, but I keep foretting to write it down or tell someone about it. Thanks for putting it into words.
    I remember one day when I went to the park with my classmates. I remember the humidity of the day, and can alomst 'feel' the moisture of the air, the heat from the sidewalk on the soles of my sandals, almost like I'm there again. I remember the contrast of the dust in the air with the moisture, and my eyes start 'drying up' because of the 'dust' to the point where I almost feel like rubbing my eyes. I remember the time period like an environment personality of sorts. The way people used to talk, carry themselves. I remember the calmness and security of the situation. It's a pretty surreal concept to try to explain. It's like your body is trying to put itself back into wherever you're reflecting on, like a dream, I guess.
    I like the term 'pseudophysical.' I think a new series of words would have to be created to fully explain it, if it can be explained at all.
     
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  8. OP
    IndigoSensor

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    Yes, Jonathan, that is exactly what I am taking about. Your specefic example is a little more "solid" with respect to the physical memories. Most of mine are a little more esoteric, but I believe the nature of this is dependent on the person.

    Yes indeed there is a difference. Nostalgia is indeed a memory, but it is a very specefic kind of memory. That is why it has acheived its own word. However I wouldn't describe nostalgia as a distorted memory. Just a very specefic one. In itself it isn't entirely a memory either. The reason is because it has this strange sense of longing associated with it that is very hard to explain. A while back I came up with a short phrase to describe nostalgia; Nostalgia is wordless, and magnifying. At times there really is no way for us to describe it as it is highly private and personal. It is a purely internal experience for the person, and in the process of describing it, it looses its meaning and understanding to the other person.

    I guess you could call nostalgia a highly condensed/concentrated memory. It has distilled down all of the essence of a relatively long time period, into one simple and easily recalled idea. Maybe that is why nostalgia exists in the first place. It sames memory space.
     
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