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Astral Codex Ten Podcast

Sep 17, 2021


Martin Gurri's The Revolt Of The Public is from 2014, which means you might as well read the Epic of Gilgamesh. It has a second-edition-update-chapter from 2017, which means it might as well be Beowulf. The book is about how social-media-connected masses are revolting against elites, but the revolt has moved forward so quickly that a lot of what Gurri considers wild speculation is now obvious fact. I picked up the book on its "accurately predicted the present moment" cred, but it predicted the present moment so accurately that it's barely worth reading anymore. It might as well just say "open your eyes and look around".

In fact, I can't even really confirm whether it predicted anything accurately or not. Certainly everything it says is true. Anyone who wrote it in 2000 would have been a prophet. Anyone who wrote it in 2020 would have been stating the obvious. Was writing it in 2014 a boring chronicle of clear truths, or an achievement for the ages? I find my memories are insufficiently precise to be sure. It's like that thing where someone who warned about the coronavirus on March 1 2020 was a bold visionary, but someone who warned about it on March 20 was a conformist bandwagoner - except about the entire history of the 21st century so far. Maybe the best we can do with it is read it backwards, as an artifact of the era when the public was only ambiguously revolting, to see how the knowledge of the coming age arose and spread.