Friday, November 11, 2005

The Good Ole Days

You know how people always talk about the "good ol' days" and they always seem to be better in memory than they were at the time?

I think lots of times they were great times, but that a lot of other things enter into it also.

Apparently most societies have The Myth of The Golden Age, when all was peachy, and on a personal level we tend toward that also.

A lot of times when we say "things were excellent then" what we really mean was "I was happy then".

Also, to us, familiar = good. The UNfamiliar is scary and uncertain. In the context of the FAMILIAR we know how to act, we know what to expect.

The Past is the familiar. It has revealed to us all its threats and we've proven we could survive them. Relative to the present, with its myriad unknown -- and therefore potentially dangerous -- challenges, The Past is a relatively safe and hospitable time.

The problems of the past have resolved themselves and we tend to remember mostly the good things. In most cases we've learned to deal with past challenges, and we miss our innocence and think "if only i could have *those* little problems again" etc.

I bet it's even worse when you're old and in a nursing home. You don't look forward to any more victories or accomplishments. The Past represents a YOU who's healthy, popular, good-looking, admired, accomplished; by comparison The Present is an evil time.

But instead of realizing how much our perception of the past & present is what we're projecting onto it, we tend to criticize and disparage specific things about The Present. In some cases, we're right -- things ARE worse in area X -- but mostly our reason for pointing it out is that it's unfamiliar, it's not our Golden Age, and therefore it's bad.

Just my two cents.


At Fri Nov 18, 02:17:00 PM PST, Blogger Erik said...

That's my whole main point! Seriously, I've thought that for a long time, but never put it to words. I could've if I'd wanted to, though. Easily.

Cool post, good times.


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