Fahrenheit 451. June 7, 2012Posted by ourfriendben in Ben Franklin, wit and wisdom.
Tags: Ben Franklin, Benjamin Franklin, Fahrenheit 451, Frank Herbert, freedom of speech, freedom of thought, Isaac Asimov, Michael Crichton, police state, Ray Bradbury, sci-fi, science fiction, The Matrix, The Prisoner, The Running Man, The Stepford Wives
Our friend Ben saw in today’s news that Ray Bradbury had died, joining those other science-fiction titans Isaac Asimov, Michael Crichton, and Frank Herbert somewhere across the universe. This of course reminded me of Mr. Bradbury’s book Fahrenheit 451 (and the wonderful Julie Christie movie made from it). And that in turn made me think about censorship: Not the censorship of speech, but the far more dangerous censorship of thought itself.
Fahrenheit 451 is about a society where reading books is banned, books are hunted down and publicly burned, and people caught owning or reading books are treated as criminals. (The title is the temperature at which paper catches fire.) People can not only not discuss ideas, they can’t even read them.
Other sci-fi classics address this concept, too: “The Running Man,” the wonderful movie created from Stephen King’s novella; the “Matrix” movies, where your thoughts are created for you; the TV series “The Prisoner;” and, taking the concept to an extreme, “The Stepford Wives” (original version). I’m sure there are many more, and I’m hoping you’ll chime in with your favorites.
I was hoping to end this post with an appropriate quote from our hero and blog mentor, the great Benjamin Franklin. I think this one fills the bill:
“It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins.”