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pleiades's avatar

What is this longing?

Asked by pleiades (6571points) August 15th, 2014

It’s somewhere along the terms of nostalgia, but I feel it’s deeper than that.

Whenever I see images like this

I feel an extremely deep longing for this scenery. And I’m not talking about, oh I’d love to go visit such an island, and vacation. My thoughts and feelings are telling me, wow this place is beautiful, this used to be home, this is where you thrived and still could if you wanted.

In a way it’s sad and beautiful. It’s sad in a way that as a human being I’m stripped away from a world where I was once free to hunt and gather on my own. Now I’m not in denial of the fact that of course there was turmoil and struggle with that kind of purely hunter gatherer society, but it just seems so natural to me. Now? For the most part of what I see in society, we are living out others dreams and working in the capitalistic system to fulfill other peoples goals. Of course I understand it’s a symbiotic community as well, they get money, we get paid we buy things etc, etc. I’m in the system too, I’m not denying that.

But again, whenever I see a photograph like that. It just feels so right.

What do you call this feeling?

**(I don’t feel this way with forests per say, usually only places along big bodies of water, sun sets, and star lights. I also feel most comfortable and vibrant during night time, I promise you I feel like going through the day time has felt like a drag ever since I was a teen.)

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12 Answers

Buttonstc's avatar

The poet, William Wordsworth uses the expression “intimations of immortality”.

You may find his poem about
this to be of interest. It’s full
title is: Ode on Intimations of
Immortality From Recollections of Early Childhood.

I’m going to describe one viewpoint on this which is shared by a fairly sizable number of people who believe in the preexistence of the soul and reincarnation. They dont find this type feeling to be that puzzling or uncommon. And the reasons behind this feeling are congruent with this point of view.

I’m going to shortcut it in this post because I’m well aware of the degree to which many Fluther members regard this to be worthy of vigorous rejection and derision.

If you’re interested further, PM me.

Anyhow, it’s felt that children are naturally more in touch with these feelings on a spiritual level because they have not yet learned to squelch it and censor themselves.

But adults sometimes get brief glimpses of their spiritual child within them.

There’s also a site you may find interesting but I’ll need to edit it back in after I find it.

And if you or anyone finds this to be a bit much, feel free to ignore it altogether. I definitely won’t be arguing about it. I’m not out to convince anyone; merely presenting one viewpoint for consideration.

Buttonstc's avatar

(ran out of edit time) dang five mins.

Anyhow, the poem I referenced can be found in
multiple sites all over the net.
The website is connected with
Carol Bowman who wrote a
fairly well known book entitled:
Children’s Past Lives
And there’s a section devoted
to that.

You will find many describing feelings quite similar to what you’ve described. Only you can determine if it resonates with you.

flutherother's avatar

You ask why I dwell among green mountains,
I laugh silently; my soul is serene.
The peach blossom follows the moving water.
There is another heaven and earth beyond the world of men.
Li Bai (701 – 762)

‘Peach blossom’ is a reference to an earlier Chinese story

Buttonstc's avatar

That’s a really beautiful quote. I really like it.

I read the Wiki piece in the link. It wasn’t mentioned specifically, but Shangri La comes to mind also.

Looks like this is a fairly universal theme in many different cultures.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

You are experiencing Saudade.

LuckyGuy's avatar

The picture you see is but an instant in time – an infinitely small sliver approaching zero. You do not see what it took to get there nor how one would live at that spot for any length of time. You do not see the hurricane on the horizon or the insects buzzing your eyes or the smell of fish on the shore. Two hours after that picture was taken the photographer had to eat, use the bathroom, wash. That is the real world.
Imagine a playboy centerfold photo. The women look great. Very exciting. But, none of it is real. Her nails, her lips, eye lashes, smooth skin, hair… all fake. The few parts that were not store bought in the grocery store cosmetics aisle were photoshopped in or out by a team of experts. You do not see before, and you do not see after only that 1 millisecond slice of time. She still has to eat and use the bathroom.

Thanks for teaching me about the word saudade. There is a similar word in Japanese: Natsukashii

thorninmud's avatar

I’d call it a craving for intimacy. We tend to use the word intimacy in the context of interpersonal relationships, but it has a much bigger meaning. Intimacy stands in contrast to alienation, separation. You describe pretty well the experience of living an alienated life, of feeling that your life has little to do with who you really are. That’s accompanied by an intuition that there is a more authentic life, one without separation, where you can feel deeply interwoven with your world. This image invokes that life of intimacy for you, not necessarily a life without hardship, but one that fully engages you and that you can live whole-heartedly.

What you say about the darkness of night is an aspect of this longing for intimacy. In the light of day, differences are accentuated; this thing clearly ends here, and that thing begins there. In the night, distinctions fade and the possibility of intimacy seems more real.

filmfann's avatar

Saudade. Cool word.

Dutchess_III's avatar

That’s what I was thinking @filmfann. How would one use it in a sentence?

Kardamom's avatar

I get this feeling when I see pictures of forests, lakes and snowy mountain scenes. I’ve lately been calling it forest envy or snow envy, because I feel like it should be part of my every day life, but it isn’t, because I don’t live near the mountains and it hasn’t snowed in the local mountains in a long time. I want to be able to experience this kind of nature, so I make it a point to collect photos of these things, because it’s not possible for me to be in those places whenever I want to.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Then my Saudade was interrupted, I was at once disappointed and relieved.

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