Fahrenheit 451 is centered around a society that has banished books, reading and any type of further knowledge. The society had become obsessed with technology and their lives were invested in it. People fell asleep with the buzzing of white noise through earphones stuck in their ears. And, at the end of the day, no one really loved anyone. Those who realized this had to leave the society on their own in order to create a life where wisdom is preserved and appreciated the way it should be. I remember reading this book in high school and loving it so much, mostly because of the pure eeriness of how much it has become true. It was written in the 1980s, before iPads and Facebook. But look at us now.
Recently a security bug, HeartBleed, has become viral. Heartbleed has created a vulnerability in our OpenSSL systems and has given others the ability to view the private memory of systems that had once been held secure by the OpenSSL. This has caused panic in millions of organizations because their private information and is stored into programs that risked being hacked with HeartBleed progressing throughout the Internet. Not only has this created a major privacy dilemma, but it has also disrupted the lives of thousands of people.
While I agree that this calls for a series of precautions, and I can understand why it’s created an inconvenience in our lives, I still find it depressing that so much of what we consider to be valuable is stored in these temporary pieces of technology. We keep track of our bank accounts on the Internet, we store our family photos and home videos on our phones and computers. Our essays and hundreds of thousands of pieces of important educational works can be found strictly via the Internet. And when something as destructive as HeartBleed begins to take over these things, it creates a huge threat for our lifestyles.
Why are we so dependent on these things if something like this could easily erase so much of our history? Imagine the world if all our technology stopped working overnight. What would you do? There’d be a riot! Yet that’s how humans used to live. Heck, I remember a time where having a three-person telephone conversation over a landline was the coolest thing since sliced bread.
And it’s not just that so much of our personal information and lives are stored into these things, but technology has taken over the things that used to be precious. There have been many occasions where I’ve sat at a dinner table across from my loved ones with nothing to say because each of us were glued to our cell phones. I spend so much of my time addicted to Facebook and Twitter instead of enjoying the sunny day outside or having an intimate conversation with a friend.
It’s as though the things that actually make us human are slowly dying down with each new technological innovation that enters our lives. These kids walking around with cellphones and spending their weekends playing video games, they don’t even know what it’s like to build a fort outside until your bare feet grow numb from the cold. They don’t have the imagination because these sources are making their imagination up for them. And what kind of childhood is that?
I don’t want us to turn into robots. And sure, all of these things add great advantages and conveniences to our lives, but to invest so much of who we are into them just isn’t natural. We should not be sedated by our technology, but rather caught in the moment of sweet, beautiful, personal experience.