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Jesse Kornbluth,
Gerald Torres, University of Texas School of Law
Ronni Bennett,

Professor Michael Smyer, Boston College Center on Aging and Work

Gerald Torres: I think people who don't love music on some level are on thin rations.

Alan Rosenberg: I agree with you, but nostalgia really doesn't feed me. Nostalgia is good for the moment.

Gerald Torres: Nostalgia is corrosive.

Alan Rosenberg: I agree.

Gerald Torres: Nostalgia is corrosive and you need to banish nostalgia in my view.

Alan Rosenberg:
Is nostalgia unwholesome, do you agree with Gerald?

Michael Smyer: I want to go back to this thin rations part of nostalgia, because I think some nostalgia is not necessarily bad, right?

Gerald Torres:
We disagree. I think that nostalgia is corrosive as a category.

Michael Smyer: As a category?

Gerald Torres: As a category.

Michael Smyer: What do you mean by nostalgia? When you say nostalgia corrosive, what do you mean?

Gerald Torres: When I say nostalgia I think of it as remembering something in a way that was better than it really was, right? And so everything that you're living now is somehow deficient in comparison to that memory. Like the best time to be alive is now, right? Because, you know I may have been alive 40 years ago, right? But I'm a different person than I was 40 years ago and this is what I have now and this is what I want, right. I have fond memories, right, but you know I have fond memories of growing up.

Michael Smyer:
So you're not saying memories...?

Gerald Torres: Oh no, no memory is vital, memory's vital...

Alan Rosenberg: Do you find nostalgia differently than that?

Michael Smyer:
Well, I guess I wouldn't define it as corrosive in the way that you have Gerald, although your definition obviously sets that up, so I can tell you teach law. But, you know, I think revisiting your memories.

Gerald Torres:

Michael Smyer: Positive and negative.

Gerald Torres: Absolutely.

Michael Smyer: Is and important part of growing old.

Gerald Torres: Absolutely, absolutely.

Jesse Kornbluth: Memories are crucial, but the thing about nostalgia is you don't even hear the music you're just lost in your little reverie. I mean all I have to do is say is whiter shade of pale. You don't have to hear the music right? You, you can do all the work yourself and that is the problem with it. What you really want is I mean what you want from art cuts away the draw so it makes you feel something fresh again. Feel the way you did then, the way you really felt then, not the way you feel about it now then, right, so this is why nostalgia is... suspicious.

Alan Rosenberg: You don't agree?

Michael Smyer: Well I wouldn't say I want to live my life full of nostalgia, but I do think that revisiting my earlier times and earlier experiences, whether that is nostalgia or not, plays an important role.

Ronni Bennett:
I don't think that's nostalgia. I think that as we get older we try to put a story line to our lives that's part of the job of getting older, I think. And that's not nostalgia to go back and look at what we were like as a teenager, that's not nostalgia, that's seeing what really went on when you were too close, when you were a part of it to see what was really going on.

Gerald Torres:
Well the difference between nostalgia and critical reflection right? What you described as critical reflection and that's important, right? And so looking at events in your life or things that...

Michael Smyer:
Or music, or music

Ronni Bennett:
Or music, yeah.

Gerald Torres: Or music and be able to reflect on it critically is vital, is vital, but I think doing what Jesse said is exactly, that's the opposite of loving music, but you know trying to recreate something that you felt then now, right as said by saying whiter shade of pale, right? That's the opposite of really loving the music I think.

It's a great song Annie Lennox version; Annie Lennox's version is fantastic.   

Jesse Kornbluth:
Yes, it is a terrific song if you can hear it.

Alan: That's exactly correct.