We are often told to move on and forget the past. There’s a song sung to this mantra. Every New Years morning when the clock strikes 12:01, we sings “Auld Lang Syne”, but the song didn’t mean it in a sense of forgetting the past unto the point of not recognizing repetition of a harmful occurrence. I assume the original composer thought every one had enough sense not to do that as to why he didn’t write it.
But some haven’t forgotten the past. They live it with a mindbogglingly rigidity. They live in it unto the point it’s harmful to themselves and others. They suffers what’s called “Living in the Past Disorder” for they have a tendency to not see the past as it actually was. They romanticize the past. They see things as being much better than they actually were and blatantly dismiss the suffering of others.
Excellent examples is the extreme admiration for feudal systems world wide. Although, I write about these periods in books but I make no pretense they were great times for everyone. Many do not know the word ‘serf’ is an old Latin word for ‘slave’. A serf was bond to the land for life and stood no chance of ever leaving. The duke, lord or earl had absolute power over the serf’s life. Many do not know that serf were sometimes bought and sold or even executed for minor offenses.
Another little known fact, it was an offense for a male serf to look at the lady, or duchess. If one wasn’t of her class you must not look her in the eyes when spoken to. So, how did they know if she had golden blonde hair and was very beautiful when many had never seen her? No, I’m not kidding.
The rebirth of Neo-Nazism and the new waves of white supremacy we see today is why it is dangerous to live too profoundly in the past. Some obsessed with the past goes beyond the harmless antic of reenacting the era. Some venture into the dangerous aspects of it.
Remembering the past, working to improve the present and future and making sure the errs and sins of the past aren’t repeated isn’t the same as “living in the past.” That’s called progress.
Appreciating the past isn’t the same as living one’s life through a severe case of “Living in the Past Disorder”. Those with the disorder will conveniently erase all the ills and horrors and paint everything anew. Recreating a fictional version of their own creation or that which has been selectively taught to them by relatives who still glorified the past.
Some, but all suffering from “Living in the Past Disorder” exhibit extreme hatred for others who do not fit in their idea of the past. Never bothering to considering the fact that had they lived in that time period their lives would’ve been drastically different from today. They develop hatred for people they do not even know and this can be dangerous.
Most do not dress up in the past clothing as they are often portrayed in movies and television. Liking retro fashion is no where near suffering from “living in past disorder.”
Most suffering “Living in the Past Disorder” can not fathom the fact their idea world has long passed on and a new day has been around for quite some time. To them the world hasn’t moved on. They can not see how the events of the past effects the present and will affect the future. They can not fathom that things have changed. They see nothing wrong with things the way they were.
They detest the present day and can not think of the future outside of turning back time. That’s the only time worthy of mentioning to them. I am not talking elderly people reminiscing the past and the days of their youth. That’s normal. I am talking about people obsessively struck in an era and refuse to move forward.
And nor, I am not talking about fantasy playing. We all play fantasies for entertainment but we know it’s just that. A fantasy. I am talking actually living by the creeds and actions of those of the past. Any attempt to show them how the social economical changes made to create the present day works for the betterment of many rather than a selective few. Themselves included. Anything speaking against their beloved era is met with resistant. This is far more common than those who suffers from “Living in the Present Disorder.”
They simply can not relate to any events having anything to do with anything outside of their perceived reality in how things could be.
Some think the short definition for this disorder is called racism and sexism and any other form of ‘ism’ that oppress anyone different than themselves. But the basic elements are the same but they aren’t quite the same things. A racist or sexist person doesn’t actually live in the past. They enjoy the luxuries of the present but simply want the legal and economic structure of the past to be reinstated but they doesn’t live in the past. You couldn’t throw them back there.
It concerns doctors because it’s closely related to the traits of a sociopath and schizophrenia.
Some lives in Colonial America having never read Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter” or the account of Increase and Cotton Mather’s Salem Witch trials.
Some lives in the past of the antebellum South where the genteel ways of the Old South extended to all. All the mistresses were kind, sweet, godly women and all the masters did his best to treat each of the people he bought or inherited as Christian as possible. (LOL! Sorry, but I had to laugh at this one.) But I kid you not. There are people who actually believe this. Why do you think “Gone with the Wind” is still so popular after 79 years?
It doesn’t effects one gender more profoundly than another. For example: Many young women who lives in the present longs, yearns to live in the Age of Romance or the Age of Chivalry that really wasn’t that romantic for the average woman. There’s an entire genre dedicated to it. Where the man is so noble and stately that their entire relationship is pure, innocent, and sexless for she’s too pure to engage in the dirty deed called sex. But on the other hand, the poor girl wasn’t too pure rumple behind her back with and even to threaten if she resisted. Everything is all whimsical and dreamy but what they left out being of noble birth certain things you still didn’t control. You didn’t get a choice in when or rather you had sex or not. Your father and husband decided that matter for you and to do so on your own could cost you your life or banishment. They not want to know how the freedom they enjoy came about. The battles fought to win their freedom are “Oh, the horrors. They’re too harsh. Too barbaric to learn about them.”
They have no idea, that even as late 1973 a married woman couldn’t get credit in her own name or an unmarried woman had to get her father to cosign the loan.
So as you can see, there are many forms of the disorder. These people can not absorb that events of the past wasn’t kind and magically to all. They truly believe those were better times and everyone lived like a prince or princess.
Those living in the past often completely ignore staring facts about the era they fell in love with. Another example is that during the slave trade which expanded as far east as China and India. That warring clans and tribes sold their captives to anyone who would buy them. They completely ignore the fact that the Muslim started what later became known as the Silk Road to China. Some say the Phoenicians started it but I found no fact supporting it for the ancient Phoenicians were maritime people. Herbs and spices weren’t the only cargo conveying the Silk Road. Humans were too and there were many wars fought to prevent and curb the human trade. The fall of Egypt to the Romans opened the doorway of Africa to the rest of the world.
Those suffering from “Living in the Past Disorder” see no connections between themselves, the horror of the past, and their present. By no means am I am justifying the slave trade. It was wrong on so many levels there are too many to count. There was no excuse for it other than greed, evilness, and cruelty being the motivation and its horrible legacy still stains the world.
“Living in the Past Disorder” is dangerous for those suffering from it for they chose not see the past as it actually was and like I said, they will ignore facts, anything pertaining the facts of human life back then. They romanticize things to be much better than they actually were and blatantly dismiss the suffering of others. They really doesn’t see an innocent being executed at the whine of a noble as really psychologically messed up on the grandest scale. They doesn’t see slavery or feudal or serfdom as an abomination from a realm of hell. To them, it’s all part of the excitement of that era.