The Enchanting, But Perilous Pool of Nostalgia

by Pool Builders on 01-19-2015 in Articles

In our mind's eye we view a past, actual or how we imagined it, supporting the saying, "What I really want to do is direct." We're all actors in the grand stage called the game of life ceaselessly directing what we can change (aka dumping people, befriending people), changing the script (leaving a job, going back to school), or changing our residence. All our thoughts focus on where, when and with whom we want to be that in the present - and ironically in the past.

Actor Bill Pullmans' character in the cult classic "Lost Highway" (1997) offered a brilliant reason why he didn't want to take photos stating, "I like to remember things my own way, not necessarily the way they happened." He provided himself with this voluntary, self-induced psychological justification to create a fantasy which he wants to believe is real, not the reality captured in the photo.

We do it all the time. Remember at family gatherings when your elderly relatives, and even those only in middle age, told tales of the past which never happened as if they actually did? They've recounted the same quasi non-fiction story with the same details so many times that it takes on a life of its own and becomes real to both the story teller and the audience. They take actual facts and weave a gorgeous tapestry in such a way that it appears real, a falsehood indistinguishable from the truth. I often think of an analogy I read recently about illusion and perception. You can connect the spots vertically on a leopard in such a way that you can convince most people that it's a tiger.

Such repetitive storytelling over generations and centuries become myths. And these myths are useful because they serve as a level of comfort and reassurance in troubling times. You may swim in these warm and inviting waters. You may bath in them. You may soak in them. But never, ever drink from them because such stories are concepts, not reality. Consuming them results in getting drunk on false memories and cons you into believing something that's not necessarily real. And should you act on falsehoods or discover the reality of such stories, the jolt can be painful.

Imagination, on the other hand, is a forward looking concept creating in the mind's eye a world that doesn't exist yet but how you wish it to be as you act on your intentions. Your future world as you imagine today may not be exactly be the same tomorrow, however its creation and development are based on the realities you undertake to get there.

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