In Fahrenheit 451, we are shown a world that has changed to become a society without books. Existing books, banned and outlawed, are perceived to be hidden treasures for their knowledge; a vast, rare understanding of the past knowledge. This written love for books is really quite beautiful. However, I have begun to wonder if the infatuation for books lies not in their knowledge, but in the methodology behind acquiring the knowledge; there is something romantic and picturesque about an intellectual individual taking many long hours to draw from books of old. Google isn’t sexy like this. And yet, Google presents us with an understanding of the world that many books will not be able to compare to. Apples and oranges. Both taste better dipped in chocolate.
As I’ve grown older, I have come to appreciate knowledge of the past in a much deeper way. It’s this understanding that causes the world around us to have deeper shades of color. I fear we live in a world of RGB, where every intricate detail is stripped of its beauty and simplified down to its core. The idea can no longer be appreciated, but summarized. Discussions of truth can no longer be cherished for many decades, but must be stripped down to a bite-sized Sunday sermon for fear of offending the parishioners anxious to catch their Sunday football. The shortest distance is not always the best distance.
What sparked this revelation in me was – believe it or not – an iPad app, the New York Public Library Biblion App. My hat is officially off to the NYPL for recognizing the ever-changing climate of education, spending a significant amount of time, money, and thought into creating one of the best apps I have ever had the pleasure of stumbling across. The app covers the 1934 New York World Fair, with high quality photos, descriptions, and stories of almost all of the major exhibitions. From the Robo Man to the first looks at Tele-Visions (a gadget that only received 2 sentences of description in the guidebook, mistaken to be another useless idea), it’s absolutely refreshing to read these stories. Truth be told, every penny I have spent on the iPad was worth it, simply for having the ability to see this app.
After having a wonderful conversation this morning, I realized just how much I would love to be able to spend many weeks/months/years in deep conversations, rather than simply being another rat in the game of life. There’s something very enviable about men of old who devoted their lives to pursuing truth, asking questions, and soaring to unseen heights in their intellectual capacity. We’ve rotted our minds, friends.
There are few things I would like to devote my life to, as I’ve only started to understand what is truly important. However, I’ve realized a few themes that I would like my life to reflect and pursue are that of the mind, soul, and person. By person, I mean the development and successful achievement of each individual beings desire and ability to become the best version of their self. Mediocre is no longer acceptable in a society where we truly have no excuses for failure to become individually great.
I would like my life to reflect my belief in ideas. I believe in the recognition, development, and inspiration of ideas that are truly great. While it’s a somewhat laughable topic, at times, my infatuation and understanding of truly great products is often misunderstood by those around me.
When I observe a car drive by, I don’t simply see the beauty of a shiny object, but the dedication and precisions of a perfectly crafted V12 engine. I see and understand the intricacy and level of detail that has been put into such minute details as the aerodynamic efficiency of the smallest detail, such as windshield wipers and tail lights (Mercedes Benz). One can see the shape and design of hoods, without recognizing the slight bump in the hoods is not for aerodynamic purposes, but as a hats-off recognition to the original design of car hoods that had winged panels on either side of the engine. Oriental import cars to not give this little-known secret handshake of industrial designers who respect their roots. I hope you never see a car the same way again.
Our society has spent a great amount of time focussing on the family, rather than the individual. In church culture, the family has risen to new heights as the pinnacle of success. What ever happened to the individual achievement of one? While there are many things I do not agree with in the way I was raised, my hat is outstandingly off to the way our parents raised us; teaching us to be free thinkers, individuals, and driven to pursue our individual success.
Mom, I know you read my blog and I wanted to personally thank you for not being afraid to raise me in a way that you knew could lead us to one day disagree with each other. Your desire to see your children have free minds, even if it meant the possibility of not seeing eye-to-eye on certain topics, is one of the most selfless acts of love a parent could have ever done. The world needs more parents like you.
This leads me to one of my last topics, which is the development of Heroes. While walking home from the gym, I noticed an elderly lady struggling to move two large trash cans to her house. I initially hesitated, but decided to walk over and ask if she’d like help. She politely turned down my offer and I walked on my way. Afterwards, I realized it probably wasn’t smart to offer assistance to an elderly woman in a predominantly-conservative-Jewish community when I am returning from the gym, sans shirt, with several tattoos visible. Regardless, it sparked an idea.
Everybody in our family referred to our father as Superman, as he was a fitting image of both Clark Kent and Superman. When I find to be somewhat ironic is that Mark and I have also coined this nickname without trying to. This happens to be one of my tattoos; the Superman symbol is on my right ribcage. I got it the day of Dad’s funeral.
Superman is real. While there may not be any costumed heroes flying around the sky, I believe each and every one of us has the ability to be our own superhero to those around us. We may not have bright spotlights shining on the clouds calling us to leave our Batcave…but we have our opportunities to be heroic. Who will step in between a man verbally abusing his girlfriend? This is no more or less noble than offering words of encouragement to the store clerk who looks as if they are at the end of the line in life.
Who is going to be willing to love their wife before ever meeting her? Where are the men who can be role models to young men, teaching them how to give a good handshake, respect those around them, and do their best in life?
I believe in Superman. It’s my personal goal to become more of a strong man every passing day, while encouraging others to do so as well. Society has taught us that heroes exist only on screens, rather than in the seats of the audience. You’ll never fly in the sky if you aren’t willing to walk the talk. Be a hero.