http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ult ... he-presentThe past is both better and less intense than the present
Why do we look back so fondly on the past?
Published on August 10, 2009 by Art Markman, Ph.D. in Ulterior Motives
ReminiscingSummer is a time when you visit relatives. When you sit around with family, the discussion invariably turns to the past. Some of that past may be shared events from years back. Other events might reflect the experience of an older relative discussing events that occurred before you were born.
Often, though, past events are recalled with rose-tinted glasses that make those past events seem so much better than anything happening in the present.
Why is it that the past seems better than the present?
One possibility is that people experience emotions from the past more strongly than emotions from the present, and so that makes the past seem more intense than the present. A paper by Leaf Van Boven, Katherine White, and Michaela Huber in the August, 2009 issue of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, suggests that actually the opposite is true.
They had people evaluate the intensity of a variety of experiences and examined how that intensity changed over time. For example, they had people watch a clip of a scary movie. Immediately after watching that clip, they thought it was very scary. About 20 minutes later, they had people watch a second clip. People thought that the second clip was also very scary. Interestingly, if they evaluated the first clip again after viewing the second, they didn't think it was so frightening looking back on it. That is, the intensity of the emotion went down over time. It didn't go up.
So people have strong views about the past, even though they don't experience past emotions very strongly. So what is going on?
A second possibility comes from research by Tory Higgins and Charles Stangor in a paper in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 1988. They point out that when people make judgments about things, they usually do it in relation to something else. For example, when they say that a concert is excellent, they mean that it is excellent compared to the concerts they have seen up to that point.
They argue that when people think back to events in the past, they remember the evaluation they gave that event, but not the reason for that evaluation. For example, thinking back to a concert attended in high school, they remember that they thought it was "excellent," but forget that the basis of the judgment was all the concerts that they had seen up to that point in high school. Had they seen that concert as an adult with a greater base of experience, they might not think the concert was so wonderful.
When we look back on events from our youth, we are likely to remember many things as being excellent, or awesome, or brilliant. We just forget how we decided on their excellence or brilliance. With a broader base of experience as an adult, it takes a lot for us to be truly awed. So, we decide that things must have been better when we were younger.http://www.myjourneytomillions.com/arti ... -get-over/The Past Wasn’t As Good As You Remember it So Get Over It
While I am not sure if I am included in the statement anymore (since I am old) but I hate when people talk about how “this” generation is the worst one ever. A quote that brings a smile to my face whenever I come across it is,
"The Children now love luxury; they show disrespect for elders and love to chatter in place of exercise. Children are tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when their elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs and tyrannize over their teachers.”
Written over 2,400 years ago by Socrates it is a wonder that the human race made it is as far as we did, huh? There is no generation in American History which is better than the preceding one:
* The United States currently has the lowest teen birth rate since we started keeping track 70 years ago. There were always overactive forceful teenage men as much as there always has been adventurous females.
* We have had over 20 recessions in the last century – 15 of them lasted over 10 months. This recession is not new phenomenon. We were overleveraged just like we were in the early 90s and in the late 20s.
* It was only Forty Three years ago that interracial marriage was illegal. Could you even imagine a time? Somehow same sex marriage is still illegal?
* There were always have been and always will be drugs. Sears-Roebuck sold Heroine. How f’in ridiculous is that? Imagine calling up Amazon for some H? And all you Baby-Boomers don’t go saying it is different…when you were taking LSD that was bad! You can’t just go around taking hallucinogens and blame it on experimenting.
* It was only 70 years ago when nearly the entire industrialized world was at war with one another. Imagine that today! The American Civil War claimed 625,000 U.S. Military Lives in 4 years, the War on Terror? 5,491 in 9 years.
* Is it that hard to go back in American History to find a group of immigrants being blamed for stealing jobs?
* Porn and Prostitution has literally always existed. Like Literally.
* When was that pesky event when baseball players were accused of cheating? Late 90’s or was it 1919?
* We saw 8.0%+ Unemployment in all of 1975 and from Late 1981 to early 1984 we even had a few months with over 10% unemployment
Am I pessimistic? Absolutely not. Do I want more drug use, teen pregnancy, financial hardship, deaths, and ill will toward a particular type of citizen? Absolutely not.
What I would like is that people realize the past that they idolize just isn’t as amazing as they remember it and to live in the present. Embrace current culture instead of demonizing it.