How is the society in Fahrenheit 451 like a centrifuge?
In Part II of Fahrenheit 451, Faber tells Guy Montag: "Let the war turn off the families. Our civilization is flinging itself to pieces. Stand back from the centrifuge." What is Faber saying?
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Given the metaphorical nature of the quotation, I think that you can wind up with many different reads of it. In my mind, Faber's quote relates to the idea that there is a machine, an "invisible hand" if you will, that drives the social configuration. This force is something that lies outside the control of specific and isolated individuals. When Faber argues that the civilization "is flinging itself to pieces," it reflects the fact that the machine that drives the social order is operating out of control, akin to a runaway train. The idea of trying to repress individual identity, forcing the mode of social conformity down everyone's throats at all particular moments and interests, is a reality that helps to bring to light the idea that the machine driving the society is one that is operating at a high velocity, yet without direction or purpose. It is one that is on the move, yet going nowhere. The result is that as individuals recognize this, the machine moves even faster, trying to bring more in its path into its own recognition. This results in a fragmented state, one in which individuals have to recognize that things will get more harrowing before they improve. This might be where the notion of "Stand back from the centrifuge" enters.
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