Tag essays

What if We’re Wrong

I had to wait for a few weeks for the audiobook of Chuck Klosterman’s new book, What If We’re Wrong: Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past to come out. I read a little preview and the title grabbed me. I knew I wanted to get into it as soon as possible.


It’s not a predictive book about the future and it’s not scientific, it’s a loose exploration of the theme: think about the present as if it were the past, and it’s fascinating

In some ways I’ve been thinking about his idea since I was a little Kevin. There is a kid’s book written from the perspective of some future archeologist discovering artifacts from today. The archeologist interpreted everything wrong of course, the toilet was a religious alter I think. But that’s not the point. The point is it’s a fun thought experiment.

Attitudes change over time, and eventually the change becomes what’s normal. Once that happens it’s hard to imagine how anyone could have lived any differently. Think about old folks’ attitude toward race. Some happy conversation will all of the sudden turn taboo. And the young ones will blush and think, “how can he say such a thing?”

But the thought experiment is for the young one to figure out what belief HE holds that will make HIS grandkids uncomfortable.

It’s not easy. What do I hold true today that I will look back on knowing it’s wrong? The fun part of the thought experiment is that everything that you think you’ll think is wrong in the future isn’t something you think is true today.