But What If we’re wrong?
Klosterman claims that people live in a culture of casual certitude. Every generation believes that there is nothing left to learn. According to him, time passes, opinions invert and ideas shift. What seems reasonable eventually turns into absurdity and become replaced by modern perspectives that are more secure and irrefutable. The novel visualizes the contemporary world as it will appear to those who would perceive it as the distant past. Notably, Klosterman enquires about some questions that are insightful in their easiness. Most of what people believe is likely to be wrong. Of course, that is a strange thought. It is simple for people to visualize their most valued certainties appearing ridiculous to forthcoming generations just as the valued certainties appeared ridiculous to past generations.
There is a disturbing thought. If people are deeply deceived about the truth, beauty and goodness- how really the world is? What is cherished? What is just? Then people don’t look foolish under the aspect of eternity. Nevertheless, Chuck Klosterman has a therapy for people’s situation. In his argument, people should think about the present as if it were the distant past. By creatively embracing the perspective of futurity, People should do their best to perceive the contemporary world as though it were the medieval period. Absolutely, individuals should hang up the naïve confidence they put in place of their present form of reality. In addition to that, they must try to perceive how that form may be pervasively and thoughtfully mistaken.
Ideally, the book has widely written on pop culture. In Klosterman’s own words, history is defined by people who don’t really understand what they are defining. Many things that people tend to care about can be categorized under the True, Beautiful and Good. In essence, True is concerned with the understanding of the universe. For instance, the phenomenon of gravity. Aristotle attributed to it as the force that attracts objects towards the center of the earth. However, thousands of years later, his theory was overthrown by Newton. This triggered Klosterman to ask, “If humans can believe something wrong was objectively true for two thousand years then why do they assume that their current understanding of gravity would one way or another exist forever?” that means if the past scientific theories have turned out to be false then the present theories are bound to be false too. It is important to note; Newton’s own theory of gravity was overturned by Einstein in some years later. Ultimately, while science is not stable in reality it yields, it converges on predictive truth.
Klosterman tends to be on comfortable terrain when talking about pop culture. For instance, he talks about the posterity when defining the picture of rock music. He notes, the canonical choice is between Bob Dylan and Elvis Presley- rock as poetry vs. rock as showbiz. Nonetheless, he asks which practices are taken into granted today would strike the descendants as ethically barbarous. For example, the way people imprison law breakers for retribution rather than rehabilitation. It is noted, Klosterman talked of collective blind spots.
Klosterman ascertains that we live in a culture of casual certitude whereby we cannot attest to the knowledge we hold as either true or false. In so doing Klosterman brings forth various arguments that he uses in developing the entire story. Each claim expresses an uncertainty of a certain occurrence. Although there are various claims outlined none of them seems to carry weight like the argument on the knowledge held about rock music and the perspective of view and understanding held by people will change in the coming years. Precisely Klosterman asks a question that is profound in simplicity: “What will be the defining memory of rock music, five hundred years from today?” He goes further and slingshots through a broad spectrum of subjective as well as the objective issues and the context of this claim (Klosterman).
Ideally, this argument brings about the uncertainty encompassed by the future of rock music. According to Klosterman, you can easily conclude that rock music is destined to an ultimate end. Such that the generations that will be there five hundred years from will only learn about rock music from internet sites if the only the internet will be there at that time (Klosterman). This can claim can be justified by basing it on the current point of view of earliest writers. There was actually a plethora of essayists, generally, writers but not all of them are known today, people are usually well-versed with the works of a few of those writers like William Shakespeare. The future of rock music may go down the same path. In this sense, one can actually postulate that due to the massive technological advancements and development of new and sophisticated trends in every other aspect, new forms of music are expected to outdo the rock music in 500 years to come. In such a situation, the generation that will be living at that time it’s more likely to be unaware of the rock music.
On another point of view, we can say that the information we have about rock music is true and will be passed down from one generation to the other. Therefore, what we know about rock music be to continue to be so for the next generations to come. The existing rock genres may continue to evolve and fuse as years pass by, however, what is defined as “Rock” may end up attracting a significantly smaller overall audience. This instance may prompt development of other forms of music genres which are different from the current genres of rock music; however, they may include some aspects of the rock music we know today. On another different perspective, things may end-up changing completely about not only rock music but all other forms of music known to us. Such that there will be nothing existing like rock music (Klosterman).
In conclusion, it is worth noting Klosterman’s “But What If We’re Wrong?” Is just but one significant book that reports interconnected pieces which speculate on the probability that many commonly accepted, deeply ingrained cultural, social and scientific beliefs will at one point become completely absurd, most likely starting from generations that will be found five hundred years from now. Generally, this book is quite interesting and insightful since it prompts readers to think about various concepts in life and it seemingly changes notions upside down to well conceptualize the arguments brought forth by the author.
Klosterman, Chuck. But what If We’re Wrong?: Thinking about the Present as If it Were the Past. Penguin, 2017.