But What If Were Wrong? Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past by Chuck KlostermanWe 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 wholl 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 Diaz, 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.”
Why you think you're right -- even if you're wrong - Julia Galef
But What If We’re Wrong?
But What If We're Wrong? Klosterman examines such things as: the history of scientific theories such as gravity, our perception of historical literary geniuses, our interests in entertainment and professional sports—as background examples to challenge confidence in our contemporary perceptions, to try to detect how those perceptions might be mistaken. Jim Holt wrote in The New York Times that while he was "never bored" and Klosterman's goals were admirable, the book left him "exasperated," Holt asserting the book lacked rigor and treated profound questions with glibness: "My hackles raised, I argued inwardly with the author on every page. Kirkus Reviews indicated the book is "full of intelligence and insights" and "makes readers think," challenging our beliefs "with jocularity and perspicacity. Publisher's Weekly acknowledged the book was "pop philosophy" but noted parts were based on interviews of "heavyweights," adding that Klosterman's humor and curiosity "propel the reader through the book. In The Oregonian, Douglas Perry recognized the impossibility of the predicting the future, explaining why the book includes "endless streams of maybes, coulds and ifs, all leading to a shrug"—while affirming that Klosterman is "good company throughout the long, fruitless expedition. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.