Build or burn

From Fahrenheit 451:

The old man nodded. ‘Those who don’t build must burn. It’s as old as history and juvenile delinquents.’

Must there be such a drastic dichotomy? Build or burn?

I’ll say this: if you’re not building a life, then you’re at least burning time. As I wrote a couple days ago, we build relationships, families, communities, and careers as we age. Juvenile delinquents care nothing about producing–but the hope, of course, is that some day they will.

I think Ray Bradbury put people in two camps: the builders, creators, thinkers… and the burners, controllers, dullards. Since he was so much a member of the former group, he probably couldn’t comprehend why a person would not want to add more beauty to the world. He celebrated life, and the above excerpt is a reminder that if you’re not contributing, then at the very least you’re burning potential.

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