Ruminations on things future…
Author: Chuck Klosterman
Chuck Klosterman’s brain is one-of-a-kind. It’s some sort of (presumably) biologically-based logic-driven mental-machination contraption. You simply enter an idea – the more implausible and convoluted the better – and watch the gears, gyroscopes and nuclear-powered turbines start turning. For the Klosterman-naïve, this can be quite an unsettling experience. But if you’re ever read any of his prior work, like I Wear the Black Hat or Eating the Dinosaur – and you’ve got least one copy of the nerd gene on chromosome 13 – you know that his unique brand of mental gymnastics can be thoroughly entertaining. He’s done it again with his most recent adventure, But What If We’re Wrong?.
Now he’s not talking about being wrong in any sort of trivial way – like mistakenly thinking that Pluto is (or isn’t) a full-fledged planet. He’s talking much bigger than that, questioning the very nature of reality. More specifically, who’s to say that the current consensus view of our existence – inhabitants of a small planet revolving around an ordinary star in the outskirts of an ordinary galaxy among billions of others in a universe that is almost 14 billion years old – isn’t completely wrong? Maybe our view of reality is as mistaken as it was before Copernicus proposed that the Earth wasn’t at the center of the universe.
He proceeds to try and figure out how likely it is that we’re currently just as wrong as our pre-Copernican ancestors were all the way back to Aristotle. Along the way he butts heads with luminaries like Neil deGrasse Tyson and plenty of other experts – traditionalists and fringe-occupiers both. Are future reality-altering scientific revolutions on the horizon? Or are we so biased by our current thinking that we can’t even imagine the future in any sort of meaningful way?