But What If We’re Wrong?: Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past

But What If We’re Wrong?: Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past
We live in a culture of casual certitude. This has always been the case, no matter how often that certainty has failed. Though no generation believes there’s nothing left to learn, every generation unconsciously assumes that what has already been defined and accepted is (probably) pretty close to how reality will be viewed in perpetuity. And then, of course, time passes. Ideas shift. Opinions invert. What once seemed reasonable eventually becomes absurd, replaced by modern perspectives that feel even more irrefutable and secure—until, of course, they don’t.

But What If We’re Wrong?
visualizes the contemporary world as it will appear to those who'll perceive it as the distant past. Chuck Klosterman asks questions that are profound in their simplicity: How certain are we about our understanding of gravity? How certain are we about our understanding of time? What will be the defining memory of rock music, five hundred years from today? How seriously should we view the content of our dreams? How seriously should we view the content of television? Are all sports destined for extinction? Is it possible that the greatest artist of our era is currently unknown (or—weirder still—widely known, but entirely disrespected)? Is it possible that we “overrate” democracy? And perhaps most disturbing, is it possible that we’ve reached the end of knowledge?

Kinetically slingshotting through a broad spectrum of objective and subjective problems, But What If We’re Wrong? is built on interviews with a variety of creative thinkers—George Saunders, David Byrne, Jonathan Lethem, Kathryn Schulz, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Brian Greene, Junot Díaz, Amanda Petrusich, Ryan Adams, Nick Bostrom, Dan Carlin, and Richard Linklater, among others—interwoven with the type of high-wire humor and nontraditional analysis only Klosterman would dare to attempt. It’s a seemingly impossible achievement: a book about the things we cannot know, explained as if we did. It’s about how we live now, once “now” has become “then.”

Details But What If We’re Wrong?: Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past

Title But What If We’re Wrong?: Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past
AuthorChuck Klosterman
Release Date7th Jun 2016
PublisherBlue Rider Press
Pages288 pages

4 reviews on “But What If We’re Wrong?: Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past

  1. Robert Steven Thomas

    This author has written an excellent and astonishing new book that will give each of its readers (like me) a fresh-new perspective on daily life in this … our “modern” era. Juxtaposing society’s current set of ‘mores’ – ‘political correctness’ – ‘values’ and ‘commonly accepted wisdom’ – from the potential view-point of our Earth’s inhabitants that will exist hundreds of years in the future, provides the essential backdrop for this interesting social commentary. The book is well-written, acerbically funny, extremely clever, introspective and gives us a lot to consider about our current trends, beliefs and “fads.” I could go on-and-on, but ‘Bottom Line’ … I am confident that this book and its contents will appeal to many, and a ‘very-wide-range’ of readers….

  2. S. Gorman

    Klosterman said that the Metallica/Lou Reed collaboration, LuLu, was, “Bold, Uncompromising, and totally unlistenable.” I would say that this book is bold, uncompromising, and (mostly) unreadable. Stylistically, this is vastly different from anything Klosterman has ever written. While there is a swear and a joke here and there, the prose is mostly dry and pedantic. I kept waiting for his witty, conversational tone to appear, but it never really did. This is pretty much a philosophy book about time, epistemology, and metaphysics, which is fine, but far from what any Chuck Klosterman fan would be expecting. All of Klosterman’s nonfiction goes off into tangents, but it always comes right back to the main point. The tangents in this book often go off and never come back. He makes big ideas, small (as opposed to his other books which make small ideas, big), but there are just too many big ideas in this book and they can’t really be expounded upon in only 272 pages. Malcolm …

  3. Hannah

    This book is a collection of essays and arguments revolving around a central theme–looking into the past with eyes colored by the present. Klosterman presents arguments ranging from future cultural popularity (who will define rock music–The Sex Pistols? Bob Dylan? Chuck Berry?) to scientific theories (will our theory of gravity seem as preposterous to future humans as the geocentric model of the universe seems to us?).Klosterman’s meditations kindled memories of a Shakespeare seminar I took in college. The professor forced us to reconsider Shakespeare’s works by asking, “What would the details that we focus on have meant to people during Shakespeare’s time? What in our world can relate to something completely different in his time (gender, clothes, status)?”In a similar vein (but instead of looking into the past), But What If We’re Wrong? forces you to reverse-engineer the type of things future humans might think of us. And that’s where you’re wrong. According to Kl…

  4. Credit Secrets Series Author

    “How will the contemporary world appear to those who will perceive it as the distant past?”Great concept! When you posed this next question, however, you lost me: “Is it possible that we’ve reached the end of knowledge?”Francis Fukuyama in 1989 got some mileage out of “The End of History” but it is so obvious that neither history nor (the need for pursuing new) knowledge have ended that the credibility of anything else between such a book’s covers is called into question.Kindle previously rejected upside-down covers. Glad to see that prohibition is no longer being enforced. As Mortimer J. Snerd used to say, “Who’d a thunk it?”N.B. Excellent food for thought, nonetheless. Thus, four stars….

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