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"Sooner or later, one asks even of Beethoven, even of Shakespeare....
'Is this all?' "

Aldous E.Huxley

 

'NOSTALGIA' is a word often used when we think of good things that have happened in the past. It comes from two Greek words, nostos meaning return home, and algos meaning pain. It is more than just remembering. It also means a feeling of pain, of loss. It is very like 'homesickness' - the pain, the desire we may have to be back in our home place.

There is another similar feeling that we often have. It is the strange sense that we do not really belong here. We often can have both feelings - a feeling of loss and pain, homesickness (even though we may be at home) , and also that somehow, we do not really quite belong in the world. C. S. Lewis, the British author, wrote of his "inconsolable longing....for news from a country we have never visited." Malcolm Muggeridge, journalist and author, and at one time strong atheist, said that from the time he was a boy, he had a sense of being a stranger in this world. He felt there was a world beyond this to which he was moving.

 

That strange space

It seems as if there is a space inside us which we can try to fill with many things. We may try money, ambition, sex, drugs, sport, even following a religion, but somehow these things do not quite give us the answer we are looking for. If we are lucky enough to have good relationships with family and friends, these may go nearer than other things to filling that space.

 

The advertising trick

Advertising also adds to these feelings. Adverts say, "Buy this, do that! Then you will be as happy and beautiful as the people in the advert. Or else, you are no good!" And we believe it, and buy the thing! And it does not make us happier or more beautiful. The world of advertising is a trick.

 

Questions to think about

If we don't really belong here, where do we belong?

What will fill this space inside us, and satisfy us?

 

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