The Green Blues Show
In today’s edition of the Green Blues Show: an alternative analysis of the North Korean nuclear crisis; the gut-brain axis: an axis of evil? And from our vaults, a debate that never grows old: the relative merits of US corporate health care, versus Canada’s public health care system.
What is nostalgia? It’s an emotion common to all human beings, but what is it? What does it feel like? Does it feel good or bad? And is it a healthy, positive thing, or something harmful and undesirable?
Perhaps the best definition of nostalgia comes from a novel the title of which, unfortunately, the memory banks have purged: Nostalgia is the bittersweet remembrance of past events that can never return. Sometimes that longing is for a past that never was, or wasn’t quite what we remember. We wistfully recall experiences and people we knew as children. But we also yearn for that simpler, happier time … that probably wasn’t as simple or happy as it now looks to us, so much further up the road.
Examples of nostalgia abound in music and literature, from Stevie Wonder’s “Stay Gold” all the way back to Virgil’s Aeneid and Homer’s Odyssey. Believe it or not, nostalgia was once thought to be a mental disorder. But in the last couple of decades, scientific studies and research have shown that daydreaming about “the days that used to be” can ease loneliness and social isolation by giving people a coherent narrative of their past that makes their lives feel more meaningful.
So, what is nostalgia? It’s the memory of an irretrievable past suffused with emotion. There is sadness mixed with the sweetness, yet nostalgia is not sorrow or regret. Is it good for us? Is it healthy? Some say so. It can strengthen our relationships with others and help us see value and purpose in our daily lives. But you know what they say: Everything in moderation. “Steal away into that way back when,” but don’t forget to return to the here and now.
A gathering of the world’s most powerful and influential nations just held a meeting in Vancouver about what to do about North Korea – invariably referred to in the media as an unpredictable rogue state led by a crazy leader, and a mortal threat to the free world.
Everyone was at the Vancouver gathering – everyone except those who best understand North Korea, and have a plan to work things out: Russia and China. Michel Chossudovsky is a Canadian political scientist of the maverick variety. Chossudovsky is a professor emeritus of economics at the University of Ottawa, and the director of the Centre of Research on Globalization. Here’s Chossudovsky sharing his thoughts with an audience at the University of Winnipeg, a few weeks back.
The next time you think fearfully about bacteria, consider this: there are more of these little creatures residing in your various passageways then there are cells of your own. Most of the time, their useful services are inestimable – for healthy digestion. Also – amazingly – for your state of mind. Sometimes, though, the gut-brain axis can turn into an axis of evil. Listen to this:
Nothing stimulates more debate in a room filled with Americans and Canadians than the relative merits of their health care systems. The closest Americans have ever gotten to a public health care system of the sort in place just about everywhere else in the world, was the Affordable Health Care Act – aka ObamaCare. Republican opponents at the time pointed to Canada’s “socialized” health care system, and how much of an unmitigated disaster it was. Canadians, by and large, are thankful for what they’ve got.
For a taste of the great health care politics divide, here’s a segment from a 1992 exchange between Bob Rae – Premier of Ontario at the time – and William F. Buckley, libertarian firebrand and host of the TV show Firing Line, recorded in a lecture hall at McMaster University, in Hamilton, Ontario back in 1992. Buckley was suffering from a Canadian-style cold, and sniffled a lot. I recorded this myself, off the sound board.
In today’s edition of the Green Blues Show, music from Professor Longhair, Big Boy (Arthur) Crudup and Howling Wolf.