Although the latter was almost caught up with reality today, albeit in a way that Asimov could not even imagine in his worst nightmares.
Apart from that, however, novels of the future are always ridiculous after a few decades.
But apart from these adventure stories, there are also stories that do not aim into colourful worlds, but rather deal with the effects of certain social decisions and present us with a mirror that shows us and our world much more honestly than we would like.
One of the most depressing is Fahrenheit 451.
“It was a desire to set fire. It was a desire of its own to see how something was consumed, how it turned black and into something else.”
It was a desire to burn books.
Today the medium of the book seems to be an anachronism, for we have long been preserving the great narratives of our culture in other ways. Via the TV, the computer or 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 history to explain the world to us.
And through this we lead a life without support, which makes us more lonely than it was ever a generation before us.
“They say I’m antisocial. In fact, I’m a very sociable person. It only depends on what one understands by sociability. To talk to them I count as socializing, for example. Or how strange the world is. It’s nice to be with people.”
She clattered with some chestnuts she had picked up outside the house.
“But rounding up a number of people and not letting them talk, you can’t call that sociability. One hour of television, one hour of basketball or round of battles or running, one hour of dictation or painting, and then again gymnastics. But, you know, we never get to ask questions. … Until the day is over we are 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But reading is much more than an outdated technique. The book itself is the most wonderful tool for developing our mental power and unleashing our deepest emotions.
And that’s how it changes us as human beings.
And in the long run, the world we live in.
Just like the new media.
“Everyone I know is out dancing and roaring or in fights. Have you ever noticed how violent people are these days?”
Because our culture, everything we love about our world, the way we see it and be human in it, is based on the book for us.
And we should not let it get 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 forbidden, not because it has nothing more to say, but because people are no longer able to hear it.
And so they also fall silent.
“You know what? People talk about nothing.”
“They’ll talk about something.”
“No, about nothing. They usually just mention any car makes or clothes or swimming pools and say, simply great! But everyone says the same thing, no one ever thinks of anything else.”
People without history are born. Soulless people, without curiosity and joy, who know neither where they come from nor where they go.
Cut off from their past and blind to the future, they live in an eternal now. Trapped between screens trapped in strange worlds louder than her own voice.
Bradbury’s book is not a utopia, but an oppressive possibility that is taking shape today.
A story that was supposed to shake us up.
“What we need is not to be left alone. What we need is to be disturbed from time to time. How long has it been since you’ve been really upset? For a good reason, a real reason?”
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