Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Knowledge is Power. And other trite truisms I'm going to repeat.
He liked to watch them burn. The crinkle and recoil and inflamed edge of paper when fire grasped it around the mouth.
He seared the ideas.
Scorched the information.
He lit the books and smiled into the ravenous flames with their fingers reflecting in his black pupils. Then Fire Chief Beatty returned to his station in Ray Bradbury’s classic, Fahrenheit 451, for a robust laugh and a round of cards with the other fire-lickin' boys.
I'm guessing here but he probably won every hand. Somehow.
In the classic, though starkly believable, world of Bradbury's control-heavy culture, information wasn’t power. Except, of course, to those who silenced it.
“You can’t build a house without nails and wood. If you don’t want a house built, hide the nails and wood. If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none. Let him forget there is such a thing as war. If the government is inefficient, top-heavy, and tax-mad, better it be all those than that people worry over it.”
That's Beatty at his finest.
Chief Beatty believed in the bliss of it. The utter joy of knowledge nothingness. Too much information made people think. And thinking brought about empowered individuals who warred and struggled and took life on the chin.
Those kind of people decide for themselves. They contemplate. Deduce. Mull over and meditate on. Dare I say it, they might even study both sides of an issue. And then form an opinion, discover a truth, find a solution, create a cure, fill a gap, and open a previously closed door. They might create running water and racing wheels, garage doors and paper plates, shoe inserts and air-conditioning, railroads and raisin cereal and rain guards for your Mazda.
They might turn out to be revolutionaries. Without bloodshed. And healers. Without egos.
They might, eek!, turn out to be capitalists.