Enjoy the best Ray Bradbury’s quotes from the “FAHRENHEIT 451” I’ve recently read.
“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. <…> Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs or the names of state capitals or how much corn Iowa grew last year. Cram them full of noncombustible data, chock them so damned full of ‘facts’ they feel stuffed, but absolutely `brilliant’ with information. Then they’ll feel they’re thinking, they’ll get a sense of motion without moving. And they’ll be happy, because facts of that sort don’t change. Don’t give them any slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology to tie things up with. That way lies melancholy. Any man who can take a TV wall apart and put it back together again, and most men can nowadays, is happier than any man who tries to slide rule, measure, and equate the universe, which just won’t be measured or equated without making man feel bestial and lonely. I know, I’ve tried it; to hell with it. So bring on your clubs and parties, your acrobats and magicians, your dare-devils, jet cars, motorcycle helicopters, your sex and heroin, more of everything to do with automatic reflex. If the drama is bad, if the film says nothing, if the play is hollow, sting me with the theremin, loudly. I’ll think I’m responding to the play, when it’s only a tactile reaction to vibration. But I don’t care. I just like solid entertainment.” [P. 29-30].
“The books are to remind us what asses and fools we are. They’re Caesar’s praetorian guard, whispering as the parade roars down the avenue, `Remember, Caesar, thou art mortal.’ Most of us can’t rush around, talking to everyone, know all the cities of the world, we haven’t time, money or that many friends. The things you’re looking for <…> are in the world, but the only way the average chap will ever see ninety-nine per cent of them is in a book. Don’t ask for guarantees. And don’t look to be saved in any one thing, person, machine, or library. Do your own bit of saving, and if you drown, at least die knowing you were headed for shore.” [P. 40].
But even when we had the books on hand, a long time ago, we didn’t use what we got out of them. [P. 76].
“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawncutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.” [P. 73].
‘Stuff your eyes with wonder,’ <…> ‘live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security <…>’ [P.73].
“There was a silly damn bird called a Phoenix back before Christ: every few hundred years he built a pyre and burned himself up <…>. But every time he burnt himself up he sprang out of the ashes, he got himself born all over again. And it looks like we’re doing the same thing, over and over, but we’ve got one damn thing the Phoenix never had.We know the damn silly thing we just did. We know all the damn silly things we’ve done for a thousand years, and as long as we know that and always have it around where we can see it, some day we’ll stop making the goddam funeral pyres and jumping into the middle of them. We pick up a few more people that remember, every generation.” [P. 76].
“We’re remembering. That’s where we’ll win out in the long run. And some day we’ll remember so much that we’ll build the biggest goddam steam-shovel in history and dig the biggest grave of all time and shove war in and cover it up.” [P. 76].
Montag said, “I’ve been a fool all down the line. I can’t stay long. I’m on my way God knows where.” “At least you were a fool about the right things,” said Faber. [P. 61].