Seconds Analytiques


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  1. "That woman, the other night, Millie, you weren't there. You didn't see her face. And Clarisse. You never talked to her. I talked to her. And men like Beatty are afraid of her. I can't understand it. Why should they be so afraid of someone like her? But I kept putting her alongside the firemen in the house last night, and I suddenly realized I didn't like them at all, and I didn't like myself at all anymore." (67)

Explanation: People are afraid of those who are different, perhaps because they serve as contrast, bringing out their own faults or showing them that different shades of opinion can exist. People—particularly those brought up in closed or doctrinaire societies—want to believe that their actions and patterns of life are rational and true. Encountering individuals who think otherwise can be daunting and disconcerting. It is for this reason that radically religious, socialist, and dictatorial civilizations target nonconformists and censor incendiary books.

  1. "The public stopped reading of its own accord. You firemen provide a circus now and then at which buildings are set off and crowds gather for the pretty blaze, but it’s a small sideshow indeed, and hardly necessary to keep things in line… It didn't come from theGovernment down. There was no dictum, no declaration, no censorship, to start with, no! Technology, mass exploitation, and minority pressure carried the trick." (87)

All great changes and political circumstances originate through the masses; therefore, for change to occur, crowds need to be involved, rather than isolated individuals. Change in history is comprised of the needs and desires of the masses effectuated by dynamic individuals. These individuals become famous only because the crowd wills them to and desires their actions. Martin Luther King, for example, existed in times that were ripe for desegregation. He served as spokesman for millions of others. Had he lived in an earlier era­—Colonial times, for example—he may well have been spurned.

  1. Granger remarked that he hated "a Roman named Status Quo!" (p. 156). There are many reasons for the collapse of the once mighty Roman Empire. One of the reasons given, according to the political model of "the limits of growth," is attrition and erosion of the empire. Powerful rulers such as Marcus Aurelius focused on keeping the barbarians out and on maintaining the habitual running of their country, rather than on encouraging and promoting discoveries, new insights, and inventions (Bardi, 2009). Their leaders were content to follow the same paths that Rome had always led instead of attempting to understand complex situations and to look into new strategies for dealing with their problems. The result was that they continued implementing solutions that only worsened their situation and led to the decline of their empire. The status quo is destructive on an individual level, as well. Growth, on both the macro and micro levels, necessitates constant monitoring, reflection, and new (and sometimes risky) ways of thinking and implementation.
  2. "Let you alone! That's all very well, but how can I leave myself alone? We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?" (p. 9)

Explanation: Reflection and discussion, as well as open communication with others, can shake us out of our torpor. Entertainment and factoids dull the mind. The human ceases to live, existing purely in a vegetative state. We need to be open to new ideas, however bothersome and contrary to our notions they may be. It is only through consideration of different perspectives and by opening ourselves up to new ideas that we can actually achieve something in life and truly live it.

  1. "I sometimes think drivers don't know what grass is, or flowers, because they never see them slowly. If you showed a driver a green blur, Oh yes! he'd say, that's grass! A pink blur! That's a rose garden! White blurs are houses. Brown blurs are cows. My uncle drove slowly on a highway once. He drove forty miles per hour and they jailed him for two days. Isn't that funny, and sad, too?" (p. 9)

In today's fast-paced world, quantity has become more important than quality. Consider, for example, the motto of the academic world: Publish or perish. The quality of the study or treatise is less important than the quantity. Students, too, are taught to produce as rapidly as possible rather than, as once was the case, to spend intense and extended time reviewing and rethinking. In academia and in life, we must not move so quickly that we only see pink blurs instead of rose gardens.

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