John Higgs has a lot to answer for… Since the 2013 release of his KLF book, he’s become a guiding light for a new wave of seekers; elucidating the complexities of the twentieth century and exploring the essence of the British psyche in the two books that followed.
This coming May, John returns with the highly anticipated ‘The Future Starts Here: Adventures In The Twenty-First Century’. Here’s what John said about it in his newsletter…
“One way to think about it is to imagine the last chapter of ‘Stranger Than We Can Imagine’, but expanded into a full-length sequel.
If you’ve listened to Hollywood, social media, broadcast media or the bloke in the pub over the past few decades, then you’ll probably think we’re all doomed. Twentieth century folk speak with the voice of the archetypal blinkered Grumpy Old Man, automatically finding fault and quick to dismiss anything that might turn out to be of value. My generation have proved unable to imagine a positive future, and if it is true that to build a future you must first imagine one, then this is a big worry.
The blind spot in such dystopian thinking is the assumption that those growing up now will see the world in the same way that late-twentieth century people do. This is really not the case. Demographic researchers tell us that the abrupt change in attitudes between kids growing up networked and those who grew up before smartphones is unlike anything they’ve ever seen before.
There are plenty of books making predictions about AI, VR, climate change, big data and so on, but because they do so from a twentieth century mindset they quickly fall into the trap of lemon-sucking disaster porn. If my book works as planned, it will reboot your assumptions about the future and leave you feeling far more positive and involved in the days ahead. If you’re familiar with my previous books, you’ll see how it couldn’t have been written without doing those earlier books first.
The twenty-first century will, I suspect, be a good test of the validity of what the author Jeremy Lent calls cognitive history. This is the study of how ideas shape history – as he puts it, “culture shapes values and those values shape history”. This notion is of great interest to me because before I read Jeremy Lent I never really knew how to describe my books or what I do. I now realise that all my non-fiction books are attempts at cognitive history, so if it becomes accepted as a Genuine Thing that would help me a great deal. Yuval Noah Harari’s megaselling masterpiece Sapiens is another example of cognitive history, so it seems there’s an appetite for it.”
THURSDAY 23rd MAY
STATIC GALLERY (Aka The Dead Perch Lounge)
(John Higgs books on sale, courtesy of News From Nowhere)