RUSH: We remember the bad times better than the good times, according to LiveScience.com. ‘We remember the bad times better than the good because our emotions influence how we process memories, a new review of research shows. When people recall significant, emotional events in their lives, such as their wedding day or the birth of their first child, they’re generally very confident about how well they remember the details of the event. But whether or not this confidence is warranted is debatable, because details remembered with confidence often aren’t exactly correct, according to the review of research on emotional memories.’
So what this is saying is that when you think back fondly to your wedding day, you are lying to yourself. When you think — well, when you think back fondly to the birth of your first child, you are lying to yourself. You were probably scared to death, but because you want to feel good about it, you’re making yourself feel good about it. ‘Memories are generally prone to distortion over time, but researchers have found some evidence to suggest that emotional memories are more resistant to the decay processes that wear away at all memories with time, says review author Elizabeth Kensinger of Boston College. ‘It’s clear that there’s something very kind of special and prioritized about how we remember those emotional experiences,’ said Kensinger. Negative events may edge out positive ones in our memories, according to research by Kensinger and others. ‘It really does matter whether [an event is] positive or negative in that most of the time, if not all of the time, negative events tend to be remembered in a more accurate fashion than positive events,’ Kensinger said. While we might not remember more total details about a bad event we experience, ‘the details you remember about a negative event are more likely to be accurate,’ Kensinger explained.’
I understand this. We talk on this program a lot about the natural human tendency toward negativism, toward pessimism, toward doom-and-gloomism. We know that it exists because it takes hard work to think positively. People who have written books teaching others how to think positively have become multimillionaires. But you can’t go to the book or the library and find a book on how to fail because we all know how to do that. You will not go to the library, be able to check out a book, ‘How to Make Yourself Miserable in Three Easy Steps,’ because everybody can do it. But being upbeat and positive is regarded as unique, is it not? When somebody’s upbeat and positive, ‘What’s wrong with them? Nobody can be that happy all the time.’ They think it’s odd. We’ve all been raised with the idea that there’s virtue in suffering. That’s the biggest bunch of crap, but we are raised this way, that there’s virtue in suffering, and there’s virtue in enduring misery and pain. So we immerse ourselves in it, the idea that we’re getting stronger, and that we’re making ourselves better people and perhaps even in the eyes of God, we are improving our odds of eternity. But we have one life. It’s a gift. Who says it’s meant to be suffered? Why is there guilt associated with enjoyment? Why do people feel guilty when they’re having a good time, especially if they’re not at work? Well, we’re all raised that way.
So when we have this story here that negative memories are more accurate in people’s minds than positive memories, I can understand it. But contradicting this, this does not apply to me. Everybody has bad memories. One of my Undeniable Truths of Life is that nostalgia only reminds us of the good times in the past. We’ve all had times in our life where we had to eat the old excrement sandwich out there, some days with mustard and ketchup, other days plain. But we’ve all had them, and I’ve had them, too, and I think back to them. They don’t destroy me or devastate me or any of that. They don’t surface as disturbing memories. When I listen to music, music invariably takes me back to periods of time in the past, and the memories I have, they’re all positive. They’re all of the good times. Now, this story is telling me that I may be lying to myself about the good times and that I may be remembering them more fondly than they actually were, but what’s the difference? A memory is the memory. I think there’s something to it here, that bad memories stick better because people just tend to go toward the negative. It takes a lot of effort and work to get out of that kind of mind-set.
Forecasters are saying that we should expect more hurricanes. These predictors are getting awfully cocky out there. We had two category five storms after going through a summer of zilch storms, now all of a sudden in a two- or three-week period we’ve had two category fives. So the forecaster goes, ‘See, we were right, and it’s getting even worse.’ ‘With monster category five storms Dean and Felix striking in recent weeks, the 2007 hurricane season’s picked up steam and forecasters say this could be the start of a trend that lasts through November. In an unusual mid-season update, the well-known Colorado State University forecast team made monthly predictions for the remainder of the season, which ends November 30th. They said, ‘We expect the remainder of the season to be active.” They’re talking about ten more storms, five named storms, four storms becoming hurricanes and two of those ramping up to major hurricanes. ‘The two-month period, October to November, should also bring a combined five named storms, two of those becoming hurricanes and only one strengthening to major status.’ I can’t tell here if they’re forecasting ten, four more in September and then five in October-November or what. But regardless, they’re getting pumped up out there, two category fives, they’re getting all excited to warn us here about even more.