Tuesday, March 25, 2008


More than fear of change, which simply wants to keep things the way they are because they could get worse, nostalgia seeks to have things the way they were. However, nostalgia never seeks to return to a state of reality. While everyone fears change, everyone also desires it. We want to keep the good and the things we can handle and do away with the bad. By the same token, looking back on the past we only see what we want. We remember the good times and forget the rest.

Perhaps one of the best examples of how irrational nostalgia can be is a phenomenon known as “Ostalgie.” Ostalgie is a German word formed by combining the German for nostalgia—“nostalgie” with the German for East—“ost.” Basically, it is people pining away for the “good old days” when they couldn’t make any decisions for themselves and had a totalitarian government running everything into the ground. They miss the cheaply made cars that you had to wait years for them to build after you had ordered them. They miss the way oranges and bananas tasted sooo good when you could only get them once a year at Christmas. They miss the way West German TV was so much better when you could only watch it illegally. They miss the way you could just pretend to work while the government pretended to pay you.

Maybe it is more a case of the grass on the other side of the wall failing to be as green as it had to look from the GDR. Things were pretty bad under Communism, but they didn’t get much better with freedom. Sometimes it is easier to deal with life’s imperfections when you have a Government you can blame for everything that goes wrong.


  1. Great blog! And thus mankind has always been; see Exodus 16.


  2. Yeah, amazingly I wasn't much thinking of church when writing this. But after years of church experience it should have been. One thing I would bet good money on going into any church setting (if I gambled) is that people will always grumble about any change in church life. Actually, it wouldn't involve gambling come to think of it. You just couldn't find anyone to take that bet. That is why the Bible repeatedly addresses the stiff-necked nature of humanity no doubt.


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