‘Antiquated ecstasy’ is not synonymous to nostalgia.
Nostalgia refers to a sentiment that is felt in the past,as does ‘antiquated ecstasy’, however, nostalgia refers to, your own past.
You are either indirectly or directly affected by some past memory.
Perhaps you are nostalgic about the way the school curriculum used to be. Perhaps you missed the idea of that class named “home ed.” The class that you weren’t actually scheduled to take yourself, but that was offered by the school.
Perhaps you liked the idea of domesticity that resonated in the past, as represented by “home ed.”, but no longer exists in the present.
Nostalgia’s pangs can also be felt when inflicted with direct personal memories.
Suppose you think back to the days of high school. More specifically, you think back to your days in high school. Those were the days? Maybe they were, maybe they weren’t…
… and that is why nostalgia can harp on either positivity, neutrality, or negativity.
Nostalgia does not necessarily provide you a residence of recluse.
For example, no one enjoyed the high school lunch period because there were those long tables that made it so inconvenient to sit with your friends without infringing or feeling infringed upon by the adjacent group of friends.
Furthermore, most of our friends managed to be in different lunch periods.
No one would ever miss the inconceivable aromas that would originate from the cafeteria’s kitchen. The aromas did not smell like any of the Italian, Bengali, Slavic, Nepalese, Russian, or Taiwanese cuisine so familiar to us, from our home kitchens.
Yet nostalgia, for all of this negativity stated above, can also be a nostalgia for something positive, like the diversity, also mentioned above in what is clearly a New York City cafeteria.
One could be nostalgic that for all of our differences, we all had in common the ability to sing the alma mater song written for our exclusive high school that we all gained admittance to.
We could feel nostalgic about the fact that due to our exclusivity, the cafeteria was not called the “cafeteria”, but the “dining hall.”
One could even feel nostalgia for the adjoining outside piece of land that the students could opt to go to during lunch, weather permitting.
This nostalgia is the neutral kind because the outside piece of land next to the dining hall was just remembered in passing.
That outside piece of land was so ridiculously ironic in that it was an enclosed square surrounded by steps, akin to a theater, and imposing high walls with only the sky above to assure us that we were actually outside.
So what is this ‘antiquated ecstasy’ I speak of?
This bifurcated phrase first relays to you that, like nostalgia, it is referring to something taken from the past.
The second part tells you that, unlike nostalgia, it is only colored by positivity and happiness.
However, with antiquated ecstasy, a past memory can be generic; that is to say, it could have absolutely nothing to do with you or may have something to do with your life but is not something that is exclusively a past entity.
One example of antiquated ecstasy that has absolutely nothing to do with my generation is a past where women wearing pants was not the norm.
I romanticize the time to be an era of effeminate beauty, ease in movement, and necessary modesty. Then again, imagine if there were no such thing as sweats - just imagine.
Antiquated ecstasy is when we seek a past where things were good and well.
We seek a past when children had the utmost respect for their parents and antiquated ecstasy provides us with this, interest and all.
Antiquated ecstasy does not have to be so lofty either; it can refer to minutiae as well.
For example, just yesterday I was remembering my childhood and having consumed the most delicious tasting daal from a Richmond Hill Gurudwara that was, prior to it’s demise in 2001.
I had never tasted anything like that afterwards.
When I was little, my father used to tell me that it tasted so good because it was from Gurudwara, a place of worship. It was my blessed daal that is no more. Maybe that daal is still out there and can and perhaps is still being made.
This may sound like a trivial example, but what I am trying to get at is that ecstasy does not have to be antiquated. By our will, or the will of another, what causes ecstasy from the past, can certainly arise in the future.
Also, perhaps the past ecstasy is just fanciful and unknowingly, the future is better with change.
I’ll leave you with this entry taken from The Wonder House, a novel that takes place in a past Kashmir, written by Justine Hardy:
‘[Lakshman, who swore to Ram that he would protect Sita] drew a line on the ground with the end of his bow and told her that she would be safe if she stayed within it while he went in search of Ram… but that if Sita crossed she would be lost… That is the Lakshman-Rekha, the line that should not be crossed.’, said Lila.
‘And being with me takes you across?’, Hal asked.
She walked away towards the tailor’s shop, stepping over her line in the dust.