Ray Bradbury, to me, speaks out about all our distractions that beg for our attention. Writing these days can be tricky when YouTube stands idle with more entertainment than you can possibly imagine, and everybody gets distracted by anything. TV gluttons can find pretty much anything these days, and there is more than enough of any kind of entertainment to keep you occupied. And when you’re done, you move on to the next big thing, and again, and again. Knowledge is golden, that’s another thing I get from the book. With books no longer in print, and runaway copies are promptly found and burnt, soon the society in Fahrenheit 451 will never know anything else more than what their favourite TV shows are. Nobody will talk to one another, and nobody will care much about anything else. Millie’s friends, Mrs Phelps and Mrs Bowles are good examples of this. Mrs Phelps hates children and questions why anyone would have them, while Mrs Bowles says she gave birth via caesarian section twice and sees her children about three times a month. There is no intimacy between her and her kids. They exist purely because she let them, other than that, they are nothing more than faceless children belonging to somebody else. Therefore, making them somebody else’s problem.
Futures as dark as these seem a long way off, and maybe they won’t ever exist. But, knowledge is power, and dangerous when placed in the wrong hands. Knowledge, or morbid curiosity, gave birth to the atom bomb, and all sorts of dastardly devices we would be better off without. There is a great metaphor at the end of the story that mirrors phoenixes and humanity. The phoenix dies and rises again from its ashes, and humanity is apt to repeat its mistakes time and time again. And when the city is blown up by nuclear weapons, it all made sense. We do make the same mistakes again, and we kill each other over knowledge that may or may not be real such as biblical scripture. And are we no better than Ray Bradbury’s firemen – burning knowledge that we don’t think somebody should be reading or sharing?
Songs of the Week:
- 'Jesus of Suburbia' by Green Day
- 'Late Night' by Foals
- 'Milk & Black Spiders' by Foals
- 'Stepson' by Foals
- 'Moon' by Foals
- 'Darling, Are You Gonna Leave Me?' by London Grammar