Historical Myopia: The Good Old Days Were Not Always So Good

broken tv

Global warming, global cooling, nuclear war, epidemics, mass shootings, overpopulation, extinction, depressions, recessions, artificial intelligence, Seth MacFarlane. “Today” is the precipice of our own destruction and “yesterday” always better, simpler.

The Population Bomb, Paul Ehrlich, 1968                Time, "How to Survive the Coming Ice Age", 1977                Family Guy

The tendency to romanticize the “good ol’ days” is not unique and not necessarily a bad thing. It is what I like to call historical myopia (not sure where the phrase originated but I’m not taking credit for it). Myopia is the medical term for near-sightedness, meaning an inability to see clearly at a distance. We have a tendency to pick and choose events and eras from the past that today seem better but too often our memory is distorted or only partially informed.

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