Knowledge: The Immortal Instrument

Have you ever walked into a library and been in awe of all the books, thinking to yourself there is so much I don’t know and have left to learn. Now think about the last time you were at Apple store gawking at all their new devices, is gaining knowledge the first thing that comes to your mind, probably not. My point is the anguish people have to read books cannot be compared to that of technology, partly because knowledge is an immortal instrument and partly due to the fact technology is made by machines and books are made by humans. Therefore the burning of books would indeed matter in our world despite the conflicting opinions presented in the novel Fahrenheit 451.

Books began as rustic, original methods of passing information from generation to generation. They dated back to the time the apostles wanted to preserve Jesus’s message by writing down his teachings, later collected and assembled into a book known as the Gospels. The process of recording information is one which have even informed our present lives, such as our birth certificates used to validate our existence. While looking at the origins of books we can see they are deeply rooted in our culture unlike newer technologies such as Ipads, which are mere conveniences in this day and age. In my family we have many special heirlooms which are actually books that passed down becoming a symbol of ancestral continuity, however maybe one day we’ll began passing on ipads to our future generations. (Hopefully I don’t live long enough to see that day.)The very fact that in our parents days the world still went on was testament to the fact these technological devices are a mere pleasure not a necessity. However in Fahrenheit 451 Bradbury displays books in the opposite way indicating “it’s a pleasure to burn [books]” (1 Bradburry), which truly displays an ignorant society.

Additionally, manufacturing technology requires mechanical efficiency however writing books takes human emotion. TV’s, Computers, Cell phones and IPods are all examples of technologies which serve to make everyone’s life easier. These technologies are also in high demand therefore requiring mass production to sell globally which require men to operate machines to make these technologies.However in many places people are no longer required factories take the jobs of factory workers, so where do we as humans leave our imprint. “If you don’t want a man unhappy don’t give him two sides to a question.”(61 Bradburry) this quote display the idea of being subjective, limiting perspective in order to achieve happiness. However books teach us about the duality of human nature, rendering it naive to be happy all the time. Similarly humans write books in which there is a point of a view detailing different opinions the good, bad, which are all in herent human emotions. It makes sense why we can Identify more with books then we can with technology because they came from humans with real emotion but technology stem from machines which inherently have no emotion.

So as you can see books are so deep-rooted in our culture burning them would be like burning a part of ourselves. Whether it be the fact technology makes life easier and its an innovation with the future its stilled machinery made from more machinery which cannot connect with the human spirit. Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopia where they burn books people alike, and even though the society we live in is no utopia maybe one day someone will write the right book which may take us there for 5, 10, 15 seconds or maybe even our whole lives.


Citation: Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. New York: Ballantine Books, 1953. Print.


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