Most of the books that deal with the future are at best curious. Whether Jules Verne argues about a balloon flight to the moon or Isaac Asimov talks about a world full of robots.
Although the latter is almost caught up with reality today, albeit in a way Asimov could not even imagine in his worst nightmares.
But apart from that, futuristic novels always have a touch of the ridiculous after a few decades.
But apart from these adventure stories, there are also stories that do not aim at colourful worlds, but rather deal with the effects of certain social decisions and hold up a mirror to us, which shows us and our world much more honestly than we would like. One of the most oppressive is Fahrenheit 451.
“It was a pleasure to set fire It was a lust of its own to see something consumed, to see it turn black and become something else.” It was a pleasure to burn books.”
Today, the medium of the book seems to be an anachronism, because we have long since received the great stories of our culture through other channels. Via television, the computer or via the smartphone, on which each of us hangs like a junkie on a syringe.
But through them we only get empty, soulless images that do not touch our innermost being. And we only get more fragments of fragments, but no more coherent story that could explain the world to us.
And so we lead a life without support, which makes us more lonely than it has ever been a generation before.
“They say I am antisocial. “In fact, I am highly sociable. It all depends on what you mean by sociable. For example, talking with them is considered social. Or how strange the world is. It’s nice to be with people. She rattled with some chestnuts she had picked up in front of the house. “But rounding up a number of people and then not letting them talk, that can’t be called socializing. An hour of television, an hour of basketball or batting cages or running, an hour of dictation or picture-painting, and then again gymnastics. But you know, we never get to ask questions. … By the end of the day we’re so exhausted that we have no choice but to go to bed or to a fairground to harass people, break windows or destroy cars with the big steel ball.“
But reading is much more than an outdated technology. The book itself is the most wonderful tool for unfolding our mental power and unleashing our deepest emotions.
And through this it changes us as human beings. And in the long run, the world we live in.
Just like the new media. “Everyone I know roams about, dancing and fighting. Have you noticed how violent people are these days?”
Because our culture, all that we love about our world, the way we see it and be a human being in it, is based on the book.
And we should not allow it to be lost. Because the consequences will be more dramatic than we can imagine.
R. Bradbury shows us a society in which the book has lost its voice. Not because it was banned, not because it has nothing more to say, but because people are no longer able to hear it. And so they too fall silent.
“You know what? People talk about nothing.” “They’ll talk about something.” “No, not about anything. They usually just mention some car brands or clothes or swimming pools and say, just great! But they all say the same thing, nobody ever thinks of anything else.”
People without history are created. Soulless people, without curiosity and joy, who neither know where they come from nor where they are going.
Cut off from their past and blind to the future, they live an eternal now. Trapped between screens, caught in strange worlds louder than their own voice.
Bradbury’s book is not a utopia, but an oppressive possibility that is taking shape today. A narrative that should shake us up.
“What we need is not to be left alone. What we need is to be properly disturbed from time to time. How long has it been since you were really disturbed? For a good reason, a real reason?”