When spectators look at society today, they see today’s youth, absorbed in their phones, laptops, and tablets. They see almost everyone getting more and more used to the idea of violence in society. And they see adults, searching for happiness. Ray Bradbury, who wrote the novel Fahrenheit 451 almost sixty years ago, was able to predict these happenings. But the one big prediction was the Internet. In Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury describes information everywhere; from walls to little earbuds he named Seashells. Most people in the novel blindly obeyed what they were told and believed all the information they were given.
Today, some are seeing these same patterns in this world. Its main cause is the Internet. The Internet today has shaped society’s lives: from what we do in our spare time, to our resistance to violence, and even to our outlook on life. When people are asked what they do in their spare time, most answer something Internet-related. They could be listening to music on Youtube, scrolling through Facebook, posting photos on Snapchat, or even using Google to look up something new. Every minute, thousands of bits of information are being processed around the globe; after all, there are 2 million Google searches every sixty seconds.
People in today’s society, also nicknamed Generation Z, turn to the Internet to get the answers to their questions. These kids are the sons and daughters of those who went to the library or an encyclopedia to get their information, but with the invention of the World Wide Web in 1989, people are able to get answers instantaneously instead of spending hours poring over encyclopedias or getting lost in the labyrinth of a library to find their data. When doing homework, students mindlessly copy their answer off the World Wide Web instead of searching for it, reading it and processing it as needs to be done to learn.
At the same time there is too much useless information to see, like each of the forty-one thousand posts that are posted every second on Facebook. Kids today are absorbed in the Internet, not wanting to be torn from their precious connection, and therefore, don’t have enough time to process what they see or read. Bradbury predicts exactly this in Fahrenheit 451, when Faber explains the three things needed in life, “Number one, as I said, quality of information. Number two: leisure to digest it. And number three: the right to carry out actions based on what we learn from the interaction of the first two. (Bradbury 81) Faber had stateed earlier in the novel that society isn’t exactly following these guidelines on life, choosing instead to be immersed in brainless activities.
Today, because of the peoples of society not allowing themselves the leisure time to process the information or sometimes not even giving themselves the quality of information, people are losing out on life. The people of today are letting the Internet dominate their lives by feeling the need to be connected twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and by using the Internet to do useless activities.
Today, the people of society awaken, check their phones; maybe look at the news or their feed on Facebook. The amount of news they can see at just a click of a button or a tap of a finger is inconceivable. But the amount of violence we see in the news is also terrifying. Because of the internet, we can see the news in Seoul, Wales, and Honolulu all while staying in one place. This exposure to anything and everything also increases our exposure to seeing more violence in publicity. The kids growing up today are more used to the brutality because of the media, and they find it less shocking because of the contact they have with it.
Watching a news story on a mass shooting is less outrageous to those in today’s society because they see it all the time. This is a problem for the sole reason that they don’t find it infuriating. These same kids might go out and commit violent crimes because it is normal for them. Clarisse shares that she is actually afraid of other people her age because of their violent activities when she says “I’m afraid of children my own age. They kill each other… Six of my friends have been shot in the last year alone. Ten of them died in car wrecks. (Bradbury 27) The children in this society are used to the violence so they do not see anything wrong with what they are doing.
This could happen to our society, because the people of today are getting more used to the idea of violence, because of exposure in the media. The Internet gives today’s society a sense of power over their lives that they don’t necessarily have in real life. They have an ability to be who they want to be and to place a facade over who they really are. Throughout the years, there has also been an increase in hedonism, the doctrine that happiness is the highest good.
Today’s teenagers and young adults have taken on the ideal “If it feels good, do it. ” Statistics show that there is an increase in the usage of drugs and alcohol at a younger age as well. But, because of this rise in hedonism, less are thinking about their futures and even what might happen to their bodies if they continue to believe and act upon this. Today’s society receives joy and pleasure over a picture getting liked, reblogged or shared with others. This leads them to do more and more outrageous things for the sole reason of getting liked on the Internet.
But, the life that today’s peoples have created for themselves on the Internet is just the good side of themselves, and the happiness that they receive from getting those likes is fake; if they are not their true selves on the Internet, then the happiness they receive cannot be true happiness. For example, in the novel Fahrenheit 451, Mildred has taken the facade that she would have used over the Internet and applied it to her everyday life, therefore she is never her true self and always shows her perfect side to others, no matter what.
This is shown after she tries to overdose on sleeping pills, when she refuses to believe that she could have done such a thing. Montag tries to confront his wife to ask why she tried to commit suicide, but Mildred just says, “What about last night? ” (Bradbury 16). She refuses to believe that she tried to kill herself by acting as though she remembers nothing. Mildred represents today’s society on the Internet because she tries to put only the superior parts of herself forward and hides the imperfect parts of herself deep inside, much like the peoples of today do over the Internet.
After the invention of the World Wide Web in 1989, the people in today’s society have changed a lot. Some people are addicted to the Internet and some are completely opposed to it. But, no matter what each person believes, the Internet has undoubtedly touched most everyone’s lives. To sum up, the Internet has shaped this society in many ways, some of which include what they do with their spare time, their resistance to violence and who they are as a human.