Why does Bradbury refer to Ortega Gasset in his book Fahrenheit 451? What is implied about Gasset's philosophy?

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amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The characteristic of the hour is that the commonplace mind, knowing itself to be commonplace, has the assurance to proclaim the rights of the commonplace and to impose them wherever it will.

As they say in the United States: "to be different is to be indecent." The mass crushes beneath it everything that is different, everything that is excellent, individual, qualified and select. Anybody who is not like everybody, who does not think like everybody, runs the risk of being eliminated.

- This quote is from Gassett's "Revolt of the Masses." Gassett was a liberal humanist philosopher.  He wrote about the superior man and the "mass man."  The mass man simply was content with who he was, the circumstances he was born into.  The mass man doesn't really think about the future.  He just lets society and the masses push him along as he passively listens to authority.  The superior man thinks about history and the future. If the "masses" were to revolt, they would need to do do individually.  Gassett's philosophy was existentialist in a sense: the individual must take responsibility for his/herself and for his/her future society.  Mentioning Gassett as one of Simmons' specialty was purposeful. Montag was a "mass man" and through Clarisse, Faber and notably, his own curiosity, became an individual thinker.

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Fahrenheit 451

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