In 1990, a zoologist named John Magnuson published a paper entitled Long-Term Ecological Research and the Invisible Present, in which he speculated that our "temporal myopia" psychologically limits us to what he calls the "invisible present."
In this context, the Invisible Present is a moment in time in which everything is normal: we lack proper, personally experienced context that might show us how things were different in the past, which in turn limits our capacity to predict how things might change in the future.
Consequently, while we might understand, intellectually, that there used to be more fish in a nearby lake or more bugs on a car's windshield after a long roadtrip, our experiential knowledge insists that what's happening now is the default, normal state, while any other state is difficult to imagine and respond to emotionally, which can in turn limit our desire to do anything about potential changes to that "normal" or conceive of them in the first place.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Brain Lenses to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.