Stuff Your Eyes With Wonder

6 Jun

To commemorate Ray Bradbury’s death, here are some of my favorite quotes from Fahrenheit 451, my hands-down favorite book of all time.

“We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?”

“With school turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers, grabbers, snatchers, fliers, and swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers, and imaginative creators, the word ‘intellectual,’ of course, became the swear word it deserved to be. You always dread the unfamiliar.”

“A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Take the shot from the weapon. Breach man’s mind. Who knows who might be the target of the well-read man?”

“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 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.”

“Books were only one type of receptacle where we stored a lot of things we were afraid we might forget. There is nothing magical in them at all. The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us.”

“The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.”

“The books are to remind us what asses and fools we are.”

“You’re afraid of making mistakes. Don’t be. Mistakes can be profited by. Man, when I was young I shoved my ignorance in people’s faces. They beat me with sticks. By the time I was forty my blunt instrument had been honed to a fine cutting point for me. If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you’ll never learn.”

“It didn’t come from the Government down. There was no dictum, no declaration, no censorship, to start with, no! Technology, mass exploitation, and minority pressure carried the trick, thank God. Today, thanks to them, you can stay happy all the time, you are allowed to read comics, the good old confessions, or trade journals.”

“What could he say in a single word, a few words, that would sear all their faces and wake them up?”

“Everyone must leave something in the room or left behind when he dies. 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 lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.”

“Stuff your eyes with wonder.”

“I want to see everything now. And while none of it will be me when it goes in, after a while it’ll all gather together inside and it’ll be me.”

5 Responses to “Stuff Your Eyes With Wonder”

  1. Pat June 6, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

    Something I picked up in a little indpendent bookstore in Santa Fe… a small book entitled “Why I Write” by George Orwell. After I’m done, I’ll share it- sounds like something you’d enjoy. It’s basically a compilation of several essays written in the 30s and 40s. And I’m betting his insights only look wiser all these years later!

  2. Jessie June 6, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

    Talk about one that slipped by me, especially during my intense consumption of classics phase. Good thing I can also use this phone to buy books. Done and done.

  3. Danny June 6, 2012 at 10:06 pm #

    Ray’s a baller. Thanks for putting these all together Kira– you’re a star. ‘Kaleidoscope’ is a short story worth your time too. It sticks with you like gummy bears on a bare ass.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Favorite quotes from Bradbury's 'Fahrenheit 451' – This Just In - CNN.com Blogs - June 6, 2012

    […] blog Sorry Television also posted a list of favorite quotes from the book, her favorite of all time, to commemorate […]

  2. Favorite quotes from Bradbury’s ‘Fahrenheit 451′ | OTS Networks - June 6, 2012

    […] blog Sorry Television also posted a list of favorite quotes from the book, her favorite of all time, to commemorate […]

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