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Presented at the 2017 National Conference in Austin, TX.
The former days were better than these. Things used to be good, but they are not good any longer. In Ecclesiastes, Solomon does not forbid us from declaring the former days were better. Rather, Solomon forbids us to inquire why the former days were better. Nostalgia is a longing for the past, a longing to return home, and there is nothing which enriches the imagination of a man like the desire to solve the pain of alienation, exile, meaninglessness, and abandonment which attends Modern life. Nostalgia is the quickening of the secular, the innocence of life under the sun. In this lecture, Joshua Gibbs offers an apologia for the centrality of nostalgia to moral formation.