Belief that a society or institution is becoming worse over time. That the past is better than the future.


  • One factor in declinism is the so-called "reminiscence bump," meaning that older people tend "to best remember events that happened to them at around the ages of 10-30. The vibrancy of youth, and the thrill of experiencing things for the first time, creates a 'memory bump' compared with which later life does seem a bit drab.
  • As people get older, they tend to experience fewer negative emotions, and they're more likely to remember positive things over negative things.


Some believe declinism "performs a useful historical function" in that it provides a warning and a goad to action in order to head off and reverse the decline that it says is taking place.