A great insight was mentioned on On The Media this week, on a language algorithm that detects anachronisms in Mad Men, exposing how modern terms and phrases that evolved since the time period slip in unnoticed. It exposes how change in the world that people are not watching as it occurs, seem to completely escape our awareness. So new things keep popping up in what we think is “normal”, becoming part of the “ever present” reality we wake up with every morning.
There’s a wonderful, still deeper truth, to your story, “about an algorithm that detects anachronisms in Mad Men and Downtown Abbey.”
Yes, modern TV scripts intended to be accurate about historical speech do contain “tell tale signs” of our real ignorance of the history, particularly for the histories of change we don’t pay attention to. We don’t, though, misplace the history of changing ideas for subjects that we keep track of, as they change.
The larger general problem that points to is partly that it is not just TV that is affected, for course. What’s affected is actually all of “reality” that simply appears in our brains a fixed “ever-present” state of things, glossing over most all of the things in our lives that that are constantly changing. Without the real data on the flows of change, we seem just unaware of the flow of time at all, is where I arrived at.
I’ve studied it as the quite important question of physics. It’s just hard to catch your brain making the little sequential steps of change in your own perception of “the ever-present reality” every night during sleep. It helps explain why science so strongly tends to represent nature as having fixed equations, but always a new changeless set of them each time someone tries to describe things. I think the root of it is that consciousness seems to include a kind of stop motion image making function, that updates its whole “software package” for the next day, as we sleep each night.
One of the more testable illusions that seems to give us is how the “ever-present” of our consciousness deceives each of us so completely, into thinking that the world we see in our minds is the one everyone else also lives in. That just isn’t so, of course, and so the data of the continuity of change shows clearly too (that I study). The strong illusion that our minds perceive “reality” persists anyway! Cool, no?