The Death of Thought

by Mike Shea on 4 June 2004

I'll be away this weekend at the Everquest Guild Summit in San Diego. I'll be pitching an Evil Agenda of communism and socialism; I'll be asking for more single group content, more opportunity for better gear for single-group hunters, and more Lost Dungeons of Norrath style expansions. Wish me luck!

Michael Moore released a trailer for Fahrenheit 9-11. The final clip in the trailer is worth the download time. I'll be seeing this one in the theater.

I can't remember if its related or not but I just read Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. The ending is a bit abstract but the rest of the book is a great read. It's not quite as powerful as Orwell's 1984 but close. A great read.

Farenheit 451 brings up an interesting thought about people, probably Americans, and our desire for distraction from thought. We watch empty TV shows like American Idol. We surf the internet until our mouse finger hurts. We walk around with little black beetles in our ears that chirp away while another beetle chirps our response into someone a few blocks or a few thousand miles away. We play games for hours and hours only to shelf them with no real progress made in our lives.

I find it hard to just sit down and read a book. I find it hard to sit down and write. I find it hard to go take a walk. Even when I'm playing Everquest, I'm surfing on my second machine, watching Tivo, or chatting like a chipmonk on my cell. I built myself an analog room; a room with a desk, pens, notebooks, a reading chair and a light; but I don't use it as often as I would like.

In Fahrenheit 451, it isn't the government who decided to start burning books, it was the people. The people, so distracted with meaningless noise, loathe those who seek knowledge. Their feelings of inferiority, if they are able to feel anything substantial at all, lead them to destroy any knowledge they can and outcast any who seek it. Taking a walk alone is practically a crime.

It's far fetched to see a day when all books are burned, but its not too far at all to see a society that cares more for distraction than it does for thought. Book sales are down. When they do sell, its crap like Angels and Demons and the Da Vinci Code: Hardy Boys for adults. TV is mindless, meaningless, and soulless, unless you're watching The Shield or Most Extreme Elimination Challenge.

Go buy a good book like Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 or Orwell's 1984. Go for a walk down to a nice bench and spend an hour reading. Buy a notebook and a pen and write letters to your unborn grandson about your feelings on the war in Iraq. Think.