WorldWide Drilling Resource

11 OCTOBER 2022 WorldWide Drilling Resource® The Un-Comfort Zone II by Robert Evans Wilson, Jr. Fear Triggers Nostalgia . . . and that’s a Good Thing! When I was growing up in the 1970s, there was a massive collective outpouring of nostalgia for the 1950s. The musical Grease debuted, followed by the movie American Graffiti, which in turn spawned the TV show Happy Days. My high school held a fun 1950s-themed dance nearly every year. And these were just a few of the cultural developments reflecting the national obsession of yearning for the 1950s. What caused the 1970s Nostalgia for the 1950s? FEAR. From the mid-1960s into the early 1970s, the United States was home to assassinations of public figures, student protests, race riots, inflation, a falling stock market, recession, unemployment, rising gasoline prices, involvement in the Vietnam War, and the threat of nuclear attack. Confusion, turmoil, and uncertainty ruled the day; all of which led to people wishing for a return to a time of tranquility. Most of the adults in the 1970s had lived in all or part of the 1950s, and they remembered the peace and prosperity of the post World War II years from the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s (the three-year Korean conflict notwithstanding). Their nostalgic sentiment continued into 1980, and led to the election of President Ronald Reagan, who spearheaded a bipartisan reduction of government regulation, social programs, and income taxes, which stimulated economic growth over the next decade. Nostalgia is a grieving process. The term nostalgia was coined in 1688 by Swiss medical student Johannes Hofer from the Greek root words nostos which means “homecoming” and algos which means “pain” to describe the extreme homesickness suffered by soldiers stationed abroad. Souring circumstances can make us hark back to better times. Nostalgia is a yearning for the past that stimulates recollections of events we attended or participated in, people we care about, and places where we have spent time. It can be triggered by our sensory perception of sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. How often has an old photo, song, flavor, or odor stimulated your memories from a time long past? For me, the smell of fresh cut grass can instantly transport me back in time to the summers of my boyhood. More than fear alone, it is a sense of loss that triggers the feelings of nostalgia. We become wistful for friends and family who have died, relationships that ended, for the plenitude of easier economic eras, and freedoms lost. We grieve these losses by reminiscing the times when we still had them. Advertisers (and some politicians) understand this phenomenon of nostalgia and work to take advantage of it. They tie vintage images, songs, and events from our past to create an artificial affinity for their products and services. Typically, they create marketing messages connected to a period of time 20-40 years earlier. These messages are mostly geared for people in the age range of 35-55 years old (which are the prime spending years of the average person). Repeated exposure to an advertising message can inspire what is known as vicarious nostalgia which makes us feel a yearning for a time we did not personally experience but offers a sentimental value we can relate to on an individual level. I think of Blue Bell ice cream radio ads that make me relate to a rural life I’ve never experienced. I also love the country decor and gift store items (especially the old-timey candies) in Cracker Barrel restaurants. Modern psychologists are saying nostalgia is good because it helps people improve their mood, increase social connectedness (by evoking memories of people who care about you), boost positive mental attitude and our sense of purpose in life (it creates a sense of comfort when we experience change). I can think of many old songs - that when I hear them again - can make me feel better when I’m sad, or inspire me when I’m feeling down on my luck. Clay Routledge, Ph.D., existential psychologist, and professor of business at North Dakota State University said, “Nostalgia helps us remember that our lives can have meaning and value, helping us find the confidence and motivation to face the challenges of the future.” Nostalgia causes us to rethink our current situation and question the strategies that landed us in troubled times. It leads to creative thinking, new ideas, and a willingness to change in order to resolve problems, and return to better conditions like we enjoyed in the past. There's an old saying, “You can’t go home again.” Nevertheless, nostalgia creates hope, often unsupported by evidence, for an Wilson Cont’d on page 22.