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Playing With / Future Imperfect

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Basic Trope: In a futuristic setting, people who find lost historical and archaeological artifacts do not fully understand their original meaning/purpose.

  • Straight: Future archaeologist Bob finds a spoon during an excavation. No-one has any idea what it was used for, and the scientific community finally decides it was used for some sort of religious ritual.
  • Exaggerated: Entire museums are dedicated to common present-day objects. Each of the descriptions of what the object was for is wildly wrong.
  • Downplayed:
    • There are many misconceptions about the present day, but dedicated historians and/or nerds still know what actually happened.
    • There are misconceptions or gaps, but a lot of them are pretty minor or seem like easy mistakes.
  • Justified: Some sort of disaster has caused most, if not all, historical records to be lost.
  • Inverted: People from the past have a perfect idea of what the present day is like due to sheer guesswork.
    • The future has a more accurate picture of history than even natives to the timeperiod.
  • Subverted: A Time Traveller goes to the future, and sees this trope, but it turns out that they anticipated her arrival and were just trolling her.
  • Double Subverted: But when they stop doing so, they still turn out to be wildly wrong about the. present.
  • Parodied: Future people think that Adolf Hitler wrote Hamlet and fought William the Conqueror.
  • Zig Zagged: In the year 3000, everyone is wrong about the present. In 3500, however, time travel means they know all about it. But in 4038, this knowledge is lost due to nuclear warfare. Until it is regained in 12397 once humanity gets back to its previous technological state.
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  • Averted: Everything about the modern world is common knowledge to people in the future.
  • Enforced: 'We need to make our future look believable!'
  • Lampshaded: 'No, no, no! This is all wrong!'
  • Invoked: A totalitarian dictatorship changes history books to make itself look better.
  • Exploited: A modern time traveller sells more accurate information to future people for what is small change to the future people thanks to inflation.
  • Defied: 'We need to chronicle everything, for the people of the future!
  • Discussed: 'Yes, unlike you, we know everything about the past!'
  • Conversed: 'See, that is a believable future! Even now, we don't keep accurate records.'

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