...More to the point we are part of the changes, even when we are incapable of recognizing them. (Especially then, in fact.) It’s possible to get some perspective on things -- to challenge, or at least evaluate, what we’ve come to accept and expect from the world – through learning about the past, or formulating questions, or absorbing stories and other cultural expressions of other people.
Harrison coins the expression heterochronicity to point out the reality the present is never pure or self-contained. The people around us are being pushed and pulled by senses of the world (including memories and expectations) that can be profoundly different from our own, and from one another. Heterochronicity is the matrix of generational conflict, butJuvenescence explores it through readings of Antigone andKing Lear rather than the contrasts between boomers and millennials.
The book is somehow both digressive and closely reasoned, and arguably it owes as much to Giambattista Vico or Stephen Jay Gould as it does to Hannah Arendt. The words “cultural history” appearing in the subtitle are not especially helpful in conveying the quality of the book, which would more accurately be called a meditation -- or, better still, ananatomy. (But then that might be even more misleading in the era of Viagra and cosmetic surgery.) It’s odd and brilliant -- clearly the product of thought given time to ripen.