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Writing about Ray Bradbury’s great book once isn’t enough; ‘Fahrenheit 451‘ is just so timeless and universal, I felt the need to revisit my thoughts on it.
Today, more than ever, our society is closest to the dystopian society painted so beautifully in words by Bradbury. But let me get it straight; Fahrenheit 451 is not just about censorship. It is so much more than that.
It is about ignorance of the human populace. We moved away from books to the digital world. The media and the goverments took advantage of our ignorance and made books illegal, bringing on a world of censorship. We were too busy playing around in the virtual world to notice or resist it.
Humans crave experiences more than anything, so when the virtual space offers a “perfect world”, why would anyone live in the real world with all its suffering and imperfections? Mildred, the protagonist’s wife is so lost in the electronic walls with her ” virtual family” that she ignores everything else. She ignores herself, becomes a stranger to herself and the world around her. Deep in her mind, she knows something is wrong, but for the life of her, she can’t figure it out. She doesn’t want to try and find out anyway; the digital world is too addictive.
In a way, the “books” in the novel symbolise the common wisdom in us humans. We alienated ourselves from the books and wisdom and sank into the digital realm of instant gratification. Nobody cares about the censorship and propaganda, the wars if they get their daily dose of digital dopamine.
Compare that to today’s world, where most of us live for Likes and retweets and favorites & are caught up in a digital filter bubble. We are bombarded everyday with messages and advertisements from brands on all possible platforms. Everybody reads a lot more than they did before, but everything is just crap.
It’s not that there’s nothing to say; more content is being created today than ever before. The problem lies in just how much content there is; there’s just too much noise everywhere. The digital world distracts us from the books, the collective wisdom of our species.
The world of Fahrenheit 451 seems inevitable, unpreventable.
The only thing we can do now is to protect books, the wisdom of our ages. Protect the common wisdom and knowledge of the human race, provide it it’s intrinsic value and don’t be distracted by the noise of the digital world. Surely, the digital world can’t be fully ignored, but just make sure you don’t drown out thousands of years of knowledge with your digital zeroes and ones.