Build or burn: Ray Bradbury

“Those who don’t build must burn.” —Ray Bradbury in Fahrenheit 451

17470674I had never read Bradbury’s classic book—somehow it never crossed the path of my life. My son did an English paper on it though, so the novel ended up kicking around my house. I picked it up.

Full credit to Bradbury for his vision. The technology he wrote about in 1951 did not exist at the time, but it does today.

Reading it in 2015 it was easy to forget how inconceivable the ear buds, the big screen TVs and the interactive technology would have seemed to readers in the 1950s. They are all such accepted parts of our lives today. And I respected Bradbury’s “big picture” life themes too.

In the novel, firemen set fires instead of extinguish them. The main character spends his days burning books, and when he suffers a crisis of conscience over the destruction of these contraband items, a rebel gentleman tells him: “Those who don’t build must burn.”

Those who can’t, or won’t, add beauty, value or improvements to the world feel the need to diminish or destroy the work of others. We see it in co-workers and family members, and these days it is in full display on social media feeds. To read comments on YouTube or some Twitter feeds is to despair about humanity. People burn, burn, burn the works, the actions and the appearances of others.

In the end of Bradbury’s book, a small group of rebels exist on the outside keeping some building blocks in place for the future. Their numbers are small, but they make the determined—and far more difficult—choice to build, not burn.

Snide comments, resentful remarks, criticisms that harm instead of help—those are the seductively tempting and easy choices. But we can do better than that, can’t we?

Build, baby, build. 





About Arlene Somerton Smith

Writer, laughing thinker, miner of inspirational insights, sports fan, and community volunteer

Posted on July 10, 2015, in Arlene Smith, Arlene Somerton Smith, Inspiration, life and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. You are a voice in the wilderness………thank you for this.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The Millennial Pastor

An iPhone Pastor for a Typewriter Church

Invest In YourSelf First!!

Only We Can Change our Life, No one Else Do it For Us


awakening to the sacred feminine presence in our lives

Dr. Jen Gunter

Wielding the lasso of truth

and the words that echo..

a lot of words...

Hurry Up & Wait

Random thoughts and a collection of ideas, stories and photos

Alex on Faith

Growing in faith together!

Be Different "BUT" Be Yourself

Journey from severe depression - Self healing - Acceptance - Learning - Growth - Connecting - Understanding - Being Unique


« me arrodillo por las noches ante tigres que no me dejarán ser - lo que fuiste no será otra vez - los tigres me han encontrado pero no me importa. »

La Audacia de Aquiles

"El Mundo Visible es Sólo un Pretexto" / "The Visible World is Just a Pretext".-

Moral Fibre

Musings of She who Knits in Churches


comida italiana



The Godly Chic Diaries

Smiling • Writing • Dreaming

Be Blogger (Official)

Writing is all about finding the courage to write. And courage is all about realizing that some things are more important than fear.

Yellingrosa's Weblog

Poetry, Visual Arts, Music and IT Tech




Simple made easy! psychology love feeling emotion thought behaviour success strategy

%d bloggers like this: