Declinism Bias

What is Declinism Bias?

Have you ever thought that things were better when your grandparents were kids? That’s Declinism Bias talking. It’s a way of thinking where we believe that the past was much better than the present, and we expect the future to be worse. This isn’t about facts; it’s a feeling. Imagine seeing an old, beautiful black-and-white movie and then thinking all movies should be like that, even though there are great movies now too. That’s Declinism Bias – it makes us see a rosy past that maybe wasn’t so rosy after all.

Here’s another way to understand it. Think of Declinism Bias as your brain telling you that the adventures and stories from “back in the day” were always more fun and exciting. It’s like when friends or family say, “When I was your age, things were better.” It’s not that the old times were always better; it’s just that Declinism Bias makes it seem that way. It’s like looking at the past with a filter that makes it look better than it actually was.

How Does Declinism Bias Affect Us?

Declinism Bias can influence lots of different areas in our lives. Let’s look at a few examples and explain why they’re examples of Declinism Bias:

  • Nostalgia for Old Music and Movies: When someone prefers oldies and claims that “They don’t make music like they used to,” they’re experiencing Declinism Bias. They might not be giving current music a fair shot because they believe older music was inherently better, which isn’t necessarily true.
  • Golden Age Thinking: If a football fan insists, “Football was so much better in the 70s,” they’re caught up in Declinism Bias. They could be missing out on the excitement of present games because they’re too focused on the past’s so-called golden age.
  • Negative Views on Society’s Progress: When someone looks at today’s world and believes it’s a mess compared to the old days, this is Declinism Bias at play. They might be ignoring the real progress made in areas like equality, health, and science.

In politics, Declinism Bias can have a big impact. For instance, when a politician says, “Let’s make our country great again,” they’re appealing to people’s Declinism Bias. Voters might think everything was better in the past, and they might support this leader thinking they can bring back those “good old days,” which might not have been so perfect after all.

Dealing with Declinism Bias

It’s important to confront Declinism Bias because it impacts how we experience today and make plans for tomorrow. Here’s how you can deal with it:

  • Question Your Memories: It’s useful to challenge your own thoughts about the past. Ask yourself: Was everything really perfect? Chances are, some things weren’t as great as you remember.
  • Seek Out Good News: We’re often overwhelmed with negative stories, but there’s a lot of positive news too. Finding and focusing on the good helps to balance our view of the world.
  • Compare Facts, Not Feelings: It’s easy to let emotions guide you, but that can be misleading. Looking at actual data and evidence can give you a clearer picture of then and now.
  • Embrace New Experiences: Getting out there and trying something new can remind you that there are amazing things happening every day.

Related Biases and Concepts

Declinism Bias is just one of many ways our thinking can get twisted. Here are a few related ideas:

  • Rosy Retrospection Bias: This is when we only remember the good stuff about the past and forget the bad. It makes the past seem nicer than it was.
  • Status Quo Bias: With this bias, we don’t want things to change because change is scary. It keeps us liking things the way they are, just because that’s how they’ve always been.
  • Optimism Bias: This is like the opposite of Declinism Bias. It’s when we think that the future will be better than the past or present, even if we don’t have a reason to believe so.

These biases are all about how we feel about time – the past, the present, and the future. Just like Declinism Bias, they can make us less open to new things and ideas.

Debates and Controversies

Experts disagree about why Declinism Bias happens and what it means. Some think it’s about fear. We’ve already lived through the past, so it feels safer than what’s to come. Others think it’s about us not liking change: we get used to how things are, and new ways can be uncomfortable and even a little frightening.

There’s also discussion about whether we should try to fix Declinism Bias. Is it a problem that holds us back from enjoying today and preparing for tomorrow? Or is it just a harmless way of looking at our history? Some experts suggest that if we’re always gazing backwards, we might trip over the future because we’re not looking where we’re going. Others say that remembering what we liked about the past might give us clues about how to build a better future.


Declinism Bias is all about how our brains can make us feel like the good old days were the best. But it’s important to remember that things might not have been as perfect as we think. Understanding Declinism Bias can help us balance our thoughts about the past, present, and future. This doesn’t mean we have to forget all the fun from before; it just means we should also appreciate what’s good right now. When we’re aware of this bias, we can find joy in the present and prepare for what’s ahead without being weighed down by a false sense of nostalgia.