Friday, August 22, 2008

The Aura of Nostalgia

"Let us therefore agree that the idea of eternal return implies a perspective from which things appear other than as we know them: they appear without the mitigating circumstance of their transitory nature. This mitigating circumstance prevents us from coming to a verdict. For how can we condemn something that is ephemeral, in transit? In the sunset of dissolution, everything is illuminated by the aura of nostalgia, even the guillotine."

In rereading Kundera's Unbearable Lightness of Being, I came across this passage and it struck me as being incredibly relevant at the present time for many reasons that I am as of yet unable to fully articulate.

EDIT: I think the reason this passage resonated with me is because I am constantly finding articles, movies, TV shows, fashion trends that desperately seek to recreate some bygone era. I mean how many times have we encountered some 1968/2008 comparison? The other day, I even read something that put 1938 into the conversation, which would be terrifying if I bought into it. I am going to look these up again and put up some links and I may also revisit Harold Bloom's essay on the anxiety of influence (much to the chagrin of a former professor who thinks it's complete nonsense). And there 's always Zizek... even though this blog is turning into an altar for the guy. Ugh.

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