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Regarding pessimism bias, please see https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1948/05/01/hi-yo-hi-yo-discernible-today-a-song-after-reading-toynbee (sung to the tune of "Turkey in the Straw"?)


(A Song After Reading Toynbee)

Has it come to your attention how the race of man

Has been climbing upwards since time began,

How it’s been climbing steady, and it’s climbing there still,

But every time you notice it, it’s going downhill?


Going downhill is the natural way,

For the old folks work and the young folks play,

And the pioneer morals universally decay -

Yet definite improvement is discernible today!

Hi-yo, hi-yo, discernible today!

Now there’s been a quite demonstrable and healthy gain

In higher mathematics and the size of the brain,

Between us and the oyster there were great strides made -

But every time you look at us, we’re slipping down grade.


Going downhill is the natural trend,

For the old folks gather and the young folks spend,

Yet line up all our forebears on the path that we descend

And a definite improvement is apparent at this end!

Hi-yo, hi-yo, apparent at this end!

The Egyptians, the Assyrians, the Greeks and Romans, too,

Hung up some fancy records when their world was new,

And some they hung so high the boys are shooting at them still -

But they saw themselves continually going downhill.


Going downhill is the way things run,

For the old have illusions and the young have fun,

And our manners and religions everlastingly decay,

Yet astonishing improvement is discernible today!

Hi-yo, hi-yo, discernible today!

(Apologies if I already posted this.)

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