Forums » Do you believe in Magick?

Knowledge versus Willful Ignorance

    • 80 posts
    March 15, 2011 11:07 PM EDT

    Ray Bradbury wrote his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 in 1950. Most kids were required to read this book when they were seventeen years old. Having just re-read the novel at the age of forty-seven makes you realize how little you knew at seventeen. It is 165 pages of keen insights into today's American society. Bradbury's hedonistic dark future has come to pass. His worst fears have been realized. The American public has willingly chosen to be distracted and entertained by electronic gadgets 24 hours per day. Today, reading books is for old fogies. Most people think Bradbury's novel was a warning about censorship. It was not. It was a warning about TV and radio turning the minds of Americans to mush.

    It is now sixty years later and his warning went unheeded. A self imposed ignorance by a vast swath of Americans is reflected in these statistics:
    • 33% of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.
    • 42% of college graduates never read another book after college.
    • 80% of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year.
    • 70% of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.
    • 57% of new books are not read to completion.
    • There are over 17,000 radio stations and over 2,000 TV stations in America today.
    • Each day in the U.S., people spend on average 4.7 hours watching TV, 3 hours listening to the radio and 14 minutes reading magazines.
    • The projected average number of hours an individual (12 and older) will spend watching television this year is 1,750.
    • In a 65-year life, the average person will have spent 9 years glued to the tube.
    • Number of 30-second TV commercials seen in a year by an average child - 20,000
    • Number of videos rented daily in the U.S. - 6 million
    • Number of public library items checked out daily - 3 million
    • Percentage of Americans who can name The Three Stooges - 59%
    • Percentage who can name at least three justices of the U.S. Supreme Court - 17%
    When Ray Bradbury wrote his novel in the basement of the UCLA library on a pay per hour typewriter, television was in its infancy. In 1945 there were only 10,000 television sets in all of America. By 1950, there were 6 million sets. The US population was 150 million living in 43 million households. Only 9% of these households had a TV. There was one TV for every 25 people. Americans read books and newspapers to be aware of their world. Today, there are 335 million television sets in the country. The US population is 310 million living in 115 million households. There is a TV in 99% of these households, with an average of 3 TVs per household. Your reality is whatever the corporate media decides is your reality.

    Bradbury envisioned gigantic flat screen wall TVs that interacted with the audience and people wearing seashell earbuds so they could listen to the radio. Anything to keep from reading, thinking, questioning or wondering. Today, anesthetized kids and non-thinking adults sit in front of the boob tube with their Playstation controllers in hand and a microphone attached to their ear, killing zombies while talking to their fellow warriors, sitting in their own living rooms somewhere in the world. Apple has sold 260 million iPods since 2001 that allow people to zone out and live in their own private music world, never needing to interact or associate with their fellow humans. Millions of Blackberry addicts roam the streets of our cities like androids, forcing alert pedestrians to bob and weave to avoid head-on collisions with these connected egomaniacs. They are overwhelmed with their self importance.

    For those who have not read the book since high school, or have never read the novel, here is a quick summary of Fahrenheit 451:
    Guy Montag is a fireman who burns books in a futuristic American city. In this dystopian world, firemen start fires rather than putting them out. The people in this society do not read books, enjoy nature, spend time by themselves, think independently, or have meaningful conversations. Instead, they drive at extreme speeds, watch excessive amounts of television on wall-size sets, and listen to the radio on "Seashell Radio" sets attached to their ears. Guy meets a girl that makes him rethink his priorities. He starts to question book burning and why people fear books. After not showing up for work, his boss Beatty comes to his house and explains why books are now banned. According to Beatty, special-interest groups and other "minorities" objected to books that offended them. Soon, books all began to look the same, as writers tried to avoid offending anybody. This was not enough, however, and society as a whole decided to simply burn books rather than permit conflicting opinions.

    Knowledge versus Willful Ignorance

    "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 non-combustible 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." - Beatty in Fahrenheit 451

    In Bradbury’s novel the fireman’s duty is to destroy knowledge and promote ignorance, in order to equalize the population and promote sameness. Any impartial analysis of the current state of affairs must conclude that he was absolutely right. In an interview with the LA Weekly in 2007, Bradbury clarified his views:

    “Television gives you the dates of Napoleon, but not who he was,” Bradbury says, summarizing TV’s content with a single word that he spits out as an epithet: “factoids.” His fear in 1953 that television would kill books has, he says, been partially confirmed by television’s effect on substance in the news. “Useless,” Bradbury says. “They stuff you with so much useless information, you feel full.”

    Bradbury wrote his novel shortly after WWII, at the outset of the Korean War, during the early stages of the Cold War and in the midst of McCarthyism. The novel reflects these influences. Orwell’s 1984 used television screens to indoctrinate citizens. Bradbury envisioned television as an opiate, keeping the public sedated. The wall televisions in Fahrenheit 451 allow characters to interact with those watching. Bradbury captured the future of reality TV. Entertainment today is dominated by reality TV. We are blasted by the likes of Jersey Shore, Jerseylicious, American Idol, America’s Got Talent, Survivor, Big Brother, Project Runway, Dancing With the Stars, Amazing Race, Housewives of OC, NJ, NY, DC, and Atlanta, I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant and fifty other mind numbing reality shows. Morons with names like Snookie and The Situation are better known by teenagers than George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. In Bradbury’s world, television was used to broadcast meaningless drivel to divert attention, and thought, away from an impending war. Today, television is used to broadcast meaningless drivel to divert attention, and thought, away from ongoing wars, government corruption, impending financial collapse, and truth.

    Bradbury still lives in Los Angeles and observes the alienation aspects of his novel playing out exactly as he envisioned:

    “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.”

    Read the whole thing here: http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article22857.html

    Read the book here: http://kisi.deu.edu.tr/murat.goc/451.pdf

    See what i'm talking about?: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mYvb6JMOYU


    This post was edited by Who's Absalom? at March 15, 2011 11:34 PM EDT
  • March 16, 2011 9:06 AM EDT
    hello absolam
    In France, the culture is very important, there is an omnipresence of reading. Almost all French families have one or more library home. The French company, the French school require people to read. And the reading becomes natural. In my family (me, my husband and my daughter (7 years)) read about 7-10 books a month. But I can tell you that television began to take an important place. We look mean (French population) 2 hours per day. To watch most of the time for political broadcasts (the policy is very present among us), stories or movies or TV series. It is obvious that this tv we landed our reflections. Advertising is unbearable. A few years ago there was a ban on cutting film to get publicity. But there are few things more vicious is the power it gives to people. There are ideas well established, not really interesting debate. In short, you learn nothing special. More and more French family does more TV at home.
    Despite an active reading in french, they lack openness. Holistic medicine is frowned upon.
    olistic medicine is frowned upon. People who have gifts (magnetism, medium, etc. ...) and almost hiding rarely speak. The problem we have in France is that we base our knowledge on the "REASON". The last two centuries philosophers have talked a lot about the reason. Our culture is limited by reason. We have created a standard "reasonable. " Religion is not reasonable. It is a right and an inspiration but nothing more. France is a secular country. It is difficult to discuss the changes that we live as soon as you are in a class of "crazy person". There was a change, certainly, but very slow. But too slow for me. You complained about the lack of "culture or reading" to you, but I myself complained about the lack of openness. To go beyond the words and let his heart speak. This attitude is not French.
    • 80 posts
    March 16, 2011 9:54 AM EDT
    France has had some very prolific writers and probably the two of the most important to this day. Emmerich de Vattel: The Law of Nations; and, Jean Jacques Rousseau: The Social Contract. Both very important books for our time. The Law of Nations was incorporated into the US Constitution and is the reason Americans are so thoroughly confused about their rights today. It would be good to rekindle an interest in these works.

    I'll post both of these books in the Sovereign Ontology group section shortly.


    "I find television to be very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go in the other room and read a book." ~Groucho Marx
  • March 22, 2011 1:40 AM EDT
    So much useless information is constantly fed to the masses. None of it really gives the individual any liberation beyond knowing something that no one will know about or care about in another 200 or so years. So much information reconfigured and spat back out as an echo.. Until it turns into disinformation and thus confusion. When will people think for themselves? When will "common sense" become common law? Everyone wants truth yet rarely does anyone listen to their self. Yes it is sad that people in this day and age are in a constant state of denial. Using every possible outlet to shield their mind from caring about the world around them. TV and Video Games help with this lack of care by desensitizing people through the projection of violence and gore as well as deceit. We are breeding monsters through socially conditioning them to accept such a corrupt world and that it is even "funny" and "fun" to join in on the corruption. No.. The people are not ignorant (dead) for they "survive" amongst us. The people are disillusioned. Under the enchantment of "Corporate" TV, Music, and games. Thus for change to occur the programming must change. The people stay "willfully" ignorant because they are conditioned to act as such. It is a means to their survival. As for those who are aware and wish to do something about this place.. Well most of them are just as bad as the ignorant because they still feed the corruption by being apart of such a society (corruption). One cannot fight off the symptom when one is feeding the Problem. I hope what I have written helps you to understand and thus forgive those that are stuck or constantly stumble even though they are aware. The best thing to do in times like these is to stop the bullsh17ing and keep focused on the things that matter so the people you talk to and the ones that eavesdrop become informed and are led to think and act differently. Each person has their talent that allows them to express their self to this world. Thus if we use our talents to change the way people think and act for the better then perhaps we will see some change. Because regardless of what anyone thinks as long as we fight there will always be war. The only thing we can do is recondition through awareness and boycott anything that we cannot change for the better. Cast away your stumbling blocks and adapt. Be the change you wish to see in the world :) Evolution through conscious co-creationism instead of self destruction through warfare, greed, and coveting.
  • March 22, 2011 3:40 AM EDT
    Be the change you wish to see in the world.. i like that :D

    "Video Games help with this lack of care by desensitizing people through the projection of violence and gore" unfortunately this is very much the case.. studied showed after world war 2 that most soldiers did not actually shoot at the "enemy" they couldnt shoot another human being.. the "solution" the military came up with ws to make the targets they shot at as realistic as possible to desensitise the soldiers.. so if video games use the same techniques.. shooting photo realistic "enemies' and offering rewards for doing it... well you see where it goes..

    but it doesnt have to be like this, its a media that has the potential to educate, to make people actually use their brains, to wonder, to ponder.. one of the most amazing games i have ever played is called "the path" based on the old stories of little red riding hood.. you control a group of girls one at a time who travel along a path to their grandmothers house.. thats it.. nothing more complicated than that..its only when you step off the safe path, the path thats well lit, comfortable, that you discover the dark in each of them.. its a work of art more than entertainment and stays with you. making you think..
  • March 22, 2011 12:35 PM EDT
    The new means of communication, media, computer etc. ... are tools to communicate. But in recent years they have become an interface without exchange. How can one have an opinion while watching a news program that disseminates information while arguing in the form of opinon. When television channels have supported George W Busch on weapons of mass destruction they have done their job? Or should they give information (neither) and invite the viewer to form his own idea? To ask the real questions? When you play a violent video game or not, that it is not anchored in our minds?

    We do more with distracted today, we disconnected mind. Empty his head shot video games, movie or TV series you it helps us to ask ourselves the real questions? Or we anchor In My illusion. It's still a way to condition us. The more one is conditioned, the less you see the truth. We no longer seek for ourselves! We no longer live experiences are preferred to see on television. We can no longer afford to act to find us ... to experiment. We forgot to move alone. We lost contact with Earth, contact with nature. The initiatory journey, alchemist, is almost over.

    As we find when we no longer seek the guide. The vast majority of people think to find happiness thanks to things outside (car, home, sport etc. ...). So they consume. If I eat I'm happy, The more I eat more I reinforce my ego .. my ego is strengthened even more. I am no longer a wonderful person with the potential to awaken. I get an ego that is becoming harder and harder, thanks to the identification, packaging that I accept when I want to disconnect from an absolute reality. I further strengthens a relative reality. Lose and forget our true nature prevents us from asking the right questions. Over my head in television (as disinformation machine, a packaging) the more I lose myself completely. I forget my relationship with myself. I miss the relationship I had with nature. That play Alice in Wonderland ... I fall into the hole to forget and get stuck in the room of duality, or I continue to pursue the White Rabbit, which symbolizes the perseverance to find a question .. Have we the courage to follow the white rabbit to ask good Questions? For it takes courage to see that we are fooling ourselves and that has always been the consumer society is a trick of the mind. I'll continue to consume without understanding?

    Or I'll take the time to ask questions, to have a reflection, and then make the decision to consume or not?
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