We have probably all experienced this: longing for a place that never was, or a place that was and to which we can never return.
English doesn’t have a word for it, but the Welsh do. Hiraeth.
“It often translates as “homesickness,” but the actual concept is far more complex. It incorporates an aspect of impossibility: the pining for a home, a person, a figure, even a national history that may never have actually existed. To feel hiraeth is to experience a deep sense of incompleteness tinged with longing.”
I can never return to my childhood home, because it no longer exists. It was dairy farms and homesteads. It was beautiful. Then they passed a law that only 5 acre parcels could be sold and 5 additional acres had to be “green space” with no farming or anything.
This appealed so much to very wealthy folks in the nearby state capital that high land prices combined with astronomical property taxes put all the farmers out of business. Gone…all gone now. All I could do is write a couple of books about it: The Magic Barn, volumes 1 and 2. The Magic Barn itself is gone.
So when I read about the rise of fascism, I understand the human emotion behind it. It rises in places that are not doing well, among people that feel betrayed and humiliated. They long for something and it hurts so much, they make something up. The former times were glorious, we were on top, we were prosperous-but we have been betrayed by ______ (fill in the blank) and when they have been (conquered, killed, thrown out) (Circle one) everything will be glorious as before.
This was the attitude in fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, and Japan. it is the attitude of takfiri jihadists today.
A strong motivator. It says, “You can go home again.” It is, of course, a lie. What you could do is to work to make a good society with the resources at hand, make the best society you can without killing anyone. That way, positive things will happen, instead of say, war, genocide and ethnic cleansing.
Because everything changes, day by day, and we either adjust or not. It is proper to grieve for what is lost-briefly- but to try to recapture what never was is going to end in tears for all concerned.
I miss you farmland. So I will paint you and I will plant a garden come spring.