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Mimishu1995's avatar

Why do people compare the present with the past?

Asked by Mimishu1995 (7597 points ) June 8th, 2014

It baffles me. There are actually things in the present that are better than the past and things that aren’t. To me, the present isn’t really better than the past and neither is the past. But people keep on saying things like: “Back then life was much better than now. I just can’t stand how life changes”.

Honestly I don’t get it.

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12 Answers

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

Human nature. It is a thing.

Human beings are psychological programmed to tell stories. It is what separates us from other animals. And in theses stories, we are the heroes. Again, psychologically, if we held ourselves truly accountable, we would not get out of bed in the morning.

As we get older, we start a narrative about how things used to be better, when we were empowered. In most cases, in fact, things were worse and the person was not empowered. But the human drive to tell stories overpowers that. The person talking really does believe that things were better and they were an agent of good.

mazingerz88's avatar

There will be no present and probably a future without the past.

johnpowell's avatar

Getting old fucking sucks. When people say it was better twenty years ago it means that they made less noise then they stand up.

I think the future looks bright here.

Around twenty states are cool with same sex marriage. (and counting)
The Internet.
The EPA.
African Americans can drink at the same bubblers. This is so horrifying to me. When my mom was in school there was different drinking fountains depending on race. I really can’t even wrap my mind around this atrocity.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

^They talk about how great it was when they could turn dogs and firehouses on people with different color skin on live tv. Oh the good ole days.

El_Cadejo's avatar

It’s the nostalgia effect. We have a tendency to only remember the good while forgetting most of the shit. I get into the argument with people about music a lot that bitch about how “all modern music sucks and everything was better back in 19xx” There was just as much shit music back then as there is today, it’s just the shit has been forgotten by the sands of time while we still hold onto the good stuff. Wait 20 years we’ll be saying the same shit about music of today.

funkdaddy's avatar

Is this a joke?

Do you notice this about the lurve scores on old Fluther questions?

I notice that on Fluther, old-time questions often have more lurves than current questions?

followed immediately by

Why do people compare the present with the past?

majorrich's avatar

I was pondering this very question this morning. I was talking to one of our churches WWII Vets (he was a Pathfinder for you vets out there, the real deal) He was at Omaha Beach several days after the initial assault, but still, it was neat! I found myself envying his generation for having the most cool stuff happening in their generation. In a life from 1920 to present the whole world has changed many times over and so much cool history! Probably if I live to be his age someone will think the same about my generation.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@funkdaddy Woa! You think there is a connection? I didn’t do that on purpose. Those questions have been in my mind for a long time and now I’m just letting them all out. I never thought of any joke here.

kritiper's avatar

Because if you do not learn from the past, you will be doomed to repeat it.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Well, why wouldn’t we. The past is from which and where we have learned.

majorrich's avatar

Probably the cliche you want is, We stand on the shoulders of giants. And we are still working on our giantness.

Unbroken's avatar

Humans learn by realitivity so and since we are seeing through the lens of ourselves. Everything has the potential to trigger a memory.

It depends on perspective. Some people are more negative as a rule. Others are going through a hard time and in reference to now it seems more idyllic.

Others are highly dwpendent on routine and hate change because it makes them feel like a security has been breached.

Then age comes into factor. Around 27 or 28 a certain part of our brains closes off that deals with personality. Our personality is pretty much set. You can continue to change surface things. But unless something major occurs the core of who you are is already developed.

Change is harder and harder from that point on. The elderly for example each time they go through a move or major shift in routine are apt to loose 5%-10% of their general health.

By that time their quality of life has diminished. So with that in mind looking back and seeing a bed of roses is understandable. Its too bad the rest of us can’t look back and tell whether it is pure sentimentality or mostly truth.

Life and the world is under a constant state of change. There will always be loses with the gains. It is too bad we are too short lived and emotional and too small picture oriented to tell what shifts were for the best.

But then perhaps not because then we can live in peace and not feel the weight of the world. Change is good. Our species will continue until it doesn’t. And not changing is the best way to start that decline.

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