Thursday, August 23, 2012

"This was not fiction"

One day, a week or so ago, when I was staying in Seattle Children's Hospital with QE, I glanced out the window and this sight caught my attention: 

 

Five people (there was actually a sixth, just outside the view of my camera), each on a phone. 

This sight caused me to reflect upon one of my favorite books, Fahrenheit 451 and a quote from Mr. Bradbury himself in regards to his novel and the reality of the world we now live in:

In writing the short novel Fahrenheit 451 I thought I was describing a world that might evolve in four or five decades. But only a few weeks ago, in Beverly Hills one night, a husband and wife passed me, walking their dog. I stood staring after them, absolutely stunned. The woman held in one hand a small cigarette-package-sized radio, its antenna quivering. From this sprang tiny copper wires which ended in a dainty cone plugged into her right ear. There she was, oblivious to man and dog, listening to far winds and whispers and soap-opera cries, sleep-walking, helped up and down curbs by a husband who might just as well not have been there. This was not fiction.

Ray Bradbury wrote Fahrenheit 451 in 1953 and the quote above was from later that decade...over 50 years ago. And look at us now - we carry in our pockets and in our hands computers; computers that can deliver entertainment, communications, and world news to us instantaneously. This is nothing short of a miracle, in my opinion. 

However, when I read Fahrenheit 451, as well as the observations of Mr. Bradbury, I realize I need to be careful; to utilize my phone appropriately and cautiously so as not to be swept away from the sights and sounds of the world around me. We need to find balance. A way to take advantage of modern technology - but still live present in our more immediate world. For I would hate to ignore the feeling of the breeze on my face, or miss the smile from a passerby on the street. 

I need to be more like Clarisse McClellan.
  

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