But What If We’re Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman

  • Sometimes these seem like questions only a child would ask, since children aren’t paralyzed by the pressures of consensus and common sense
  • We have no idea what we don’t know, or what we’ll eventually learn, or what might be true despite our perpetual inability to comprehend what that truth is.
  • logic doesn’t work particularly well when applied to the future
  • The reason something becomes retrospectively significant in a far-flung future is detached from the reason it was significant at the time of its creation
  • This is how the present must be considered whenever we try to think about it as the past: It must be analyzed through the values of a future that’s unwritten
  • No matter what they may claim, even the most transgressive of writers don’t want to work in a total vacuum; they simply want to control the composition of their audience
  • the future is a teenage crackhead who makes shit up as he goes along
  • The goal, according to advocates of this philosophy, is to build a narrative that has no irretraceable connection to the temporary world
  • When any novel is rediscovered and culturally elevated, part of the process is creative: The adoptive generation needs to be able to decide for themselves what the deeper theme is, and it needs to be something that wasn’t widely recognized by the preceding generation
  • So this, it seems, is the key for authors who want to live forever: You need to write about important things without actually writing about them.
  • people involuntarily assume that whatever we believe and prioritize now will continue to be believed and prioritized later, even though that almost never happens
  • once you’re defined as great—failures become biographically instructive.
  • Conflicting conceptions of “reality” have no impact on reality. And this does not apply exclusively to conspiracy theorists. It applies to everyone, all the time.
  • True naturalism can only be a product of the unconscious
  • Something becomes truly popular when it becomes interesting to those who don’t particularly care. You don’t create a phenomenon like E.T. by appealing to people who love movies. You create a phenomenon like E.T. by appealing to people who see one movie a year
  • We now have immediate access to all possible facts. Which is almost the same as having none at all
  • A book becomes popular because of its text, but it’s the subtext that makes it live forever
  • History is defined by people who don’t really understand what they are defining
  • Discounting those events that occurred within your own lifetime, what do you know about human history that was not communicated to you by someone else?

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