Thursday, May 31, 2012
Dystopia and the destruction of language
I watched the film of Ray Bradbury's 1953 "Fahrenheit 451" a classic from 1966, in it firemen rather than putting out fires, start them, they burn books, in an attempt to introduce equality within "modern" society. Thought and ideas are considered dangerous, the state does everything it can to remove it. It is part of the genre of dystopia books and films, most written in the light of the rise and fall of twentieth century dictators.
At their heart is the redefinition or subjugation of language, actually making language meaningless, it is a "Babel effect", in most of those novels it tends to reduce communication to the superficial and leads to a dis-ease within society that is "cured" by drugs, sex, violence and superficial entertainment. The message of most of these novels that the centre cannot hold, mainly because communication breaks down, words no longer serve a purpose in expressing thought.
It is the manipulation of language, the control of thought that these novelists find most worrying.
Mr Cameron's redefinition of marriage seems to fit into this mould. I asked when he first announced his cunning plan what term we are going to use to define the loving, lifelong, exclusive relationship between members of the opposite sex, in which they hope to procreate and raise children. We need a new term, now "marriage" is to be redefined as a "loving commitment between two people" irrespective of gender, irrespective of place of children. We need a new term because "marriage" now will longer define what the majority of human beings aspire to.
Mr Cameron is robbing our lexicon of a word that expresses something so fundamental to society and human nature that we will have to find a new word that expresses what "marriage" had previously meant.
Posted by Fr Ray Blake