Some thirty years ago I discovered an inter-dimensional transporter in the center of my grade school library. For me this wormhole was a godsend, because as a lonely bookish kid who had recently lost his father, the world seemed a very dim place. Through this wormhole one could travel to places that ordinary transportation didn’t allow – forward into the far future, back into the prehistoric past, across space to distant worlds filled exotic aliens and fantastical technologies. I was familiar with libraries where I spent as much time as possible reading about science and nature (mostly encyclopedias), but up until that point I had never discovered such an amazing device.
The device had a creator, and his name was Ray Bradbury. The device wasn’t from some futuristic laboratory, but he summoned it deep from within the recesses of his mind and soul. Via its powers he could see what had past, and what was to come.
Because of the device he created I knew that some day we would have wall-sized interactive screens with which would suck up all useful time. I understood long before the first cell phone was marketed that miniature communication devices would become ubiquitous – but that they would have as much power to alienate us as they did to bring us closer together. I knew reality shows would modify our view of crime and the common man. I knew that the constant barrage of music and images and talk and information had the potential to drown out real thought and beauty and creativity which bubbles up from the placid contemplation. I also knew that those in authority could be inclined to distract us with amusements to avoid telling us the truth.
And since I wasn’t caught unawares, since I had been warned by Mr. Bradbury, I am not overwhelmed by the future, which is our present madness – I cherish and protect the lasting elements of my life, my faith, the love and fellowship of family and friends, the hard work of being a thinker and contributor, the right to choose how I will live my life, not by the states dictates, but by the conscience God has given me. For these such gifts I am eternally grateful.
Happy 90th Birthday Ray Bradbury – may you enjoy many more.