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人为什么会想家

Why do we feel nostalgia? - Clay Routledge

17世纪末
In the late 17th century,
一位名叫约翰·霍弗尔的医学生发现一种奇怪的疾病
a medical student named Johannes Hofer noticed a strange illness
困扰着海外的瑞士大兵们
affecting Swiss mercenaries serving abroad.
症状包括
Its symptoms,
疲惫
including fatigue,
失眠
insomnia,
心率不齐
irregular heartbeat,
消化不良
indigestion,
以及高烧 症状如此严重
and fever were so strong,
以至于士兵们有时要被迫退伍
the soldiers often had to be discharged.
霍弗尔研究发现 其病因并不是身体上的不适
As Hofer discovered, the cause was not some physical disturbance,
而是对多山家乡的极度思念
but an intense yearning for their mountain homeland.
他称之为乡愁
He dubbed the condition nostalgia,
nostos来源于希腊语回家一词
from the Greek “nostos” for homecoming
algos则意为疼痛或渴望
and “algos” for pain or longing.
一开始 乡愁被认定为典型的瑞士病
At first, nostalgia was considered a particularly Swiss affliction.
一些医生觉得是阿尔卑斯山上奶牛脖子上的铃声
Some doctors proposed that the constant sound of cowbells in the Alps
对士兵的耳膜和大脑造成了直接损伤
caused trauma to the ear drums and brain.
指挥官甚至禁止士兵唱传统的瑞士歌曲
Commanders even forbade their soldiers from singing traditional Swiss songs
担心他们分神或自杀
for fear that they’d lead to desertion or suicide.
但随着全球移民增加 很多人都感染了乡愁
But as migration increased worldwide, nostalgia was observed in various groups.
事实证明 一旦他们离开家乡一段时间
It turned out that anyone separated from their native place for a long time
就易患上乡愁
was vulnerable to nostalgia.
在20世纪早期
And by the early 20th century,
专家不再认定这是精神上的疾病
professionals no longer viewed it as a neurological disease,
而是一种类似于抑郁的心理状态
but as a mental condition similar to depression.
那时心理学家猜测
Psychologists of the time speculated
乡愁代表着对童年记忆的难以割舍
that it represented difficulties letting go of childhood,
甚至是对婴儿时期的向往
or even a longing to return to one’s fetal state.
但是 在接下来的几十年里
But over the next few decades,
对乡愁的理解有了两种重要的改变
the understanding of nostalgia changed in two important ways.
从暗指思乡
Its meaning expanded from indicating homesickness
扩展为对过去的渴望
to a general longing for the past.
有别于讨人厌的疾病
And rather than an awful disease,
乡愁开始被视为一场深刻而愉快的经历
it began to be seen as a poignant and pleasant experience.
法国作家马塞尔普鲁斯特
Perhaps the most famous example of this
著作了最有名的乡愁事件
was captured by French author Marcel Proust.
他叙述了由一份自童年以后再没吃过的玛德琳蛋糕【这里指的是名作《追忆似水年华》】
He described how tasting a madeleine cake he had not eaten since childhood
而引发的一系列温馨的感人故事【这里指的是名作《追忆似水年华》】
triggered a cascade of warm and powerful sensory associations.
所以是什么造成了我们对乡愁看法的巨大改变呢
So what caused such a major reversal in our view of nostalgia?
很大一部分原因是科学的发展
Part of it has to do with science.
心理学不再是纯理论
Psychology shifted away from pure theory
而是更加谨慎和系统的实证观察
and towards more careful and systematic empirical observation.
所以专家们意识到很多的消极症状
So professionals realized that many of the negative symptoms
很可能仅仅是与乡愁有关
may have been simply correlated with nostalgia
而不是由乡愁导致的
rather than caused by it.
事实上 尽管乡愁是一种带有失落
And, in fact, despite being a complex emotional state
和悲伤的复杂情绪状态
that can include feelings of loss and sadness,
但是 通常乡愁并不会导致消极情绪
nostalgia doesn’t generally put people in a negative mood.
相反 通过让人记住有意义的事情
Instead, by allowing individuals to remember personally meaningful
以及与他人分享经验
and rewarding experiences they shared with others,
乡愁可以促进心理健康
nostalgia can boost psychological well-being.
研究表明 怀有乡愁的人
Studies have shown that inducing nostalgia in people
更易建立自尊心和社会归属感
can help increase their feelings of self-esteem and social belonging,
以及促进心理成长
encourage psychological growth,
甚至促使他们做更多慈善
and even make them act more charitably.
所以 与其说乡愁是心理疾病的产生原因
So rather than being a cause of mental distress,
不如说它是应对心理疾病的恢复方式
nostalgia can be a restorative way of coping with it.
例如 当人们经历消极情绪时
For instance, when people experience negative emotional states,
他们倾向于通过自然的怀旧来减少痛苦
they tend to naturally use nostalgia to reduce distress
和恢复健康
and restore well-being.
现如今 乡愁无处不在
Today, it seems that nostalgia is everywhere,
部分原因是广告商发现了它的重要性
partially because advertisers have discovered how powerful it is
并把它作为一种市场营销手段
as a marketing technique.
驱使人们认为  这是我们被困在过去的信号
It’s tempting to think of this as a sign of us being stuck in the past,
但这不是真正的乡愁
but that’s not really how nostalgia works.
相反 乡愁可以帮助我们铭记生活的意义和价值
Instead, nostalgia helps us remember that our lives can have meaning and value,
帮助我们找到信心和动力
helping us find the confidence and motivation
来面对未来的挑战
to face the challenges of the future.

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