CalTech has posted the full text of Ray Bradbury’s commencement speech to the class of 2000.
Large sections come from the classic Bradbury talk he has given in many times and places around Los Angeles. For example, when I was in his audience at USC in 1970 he also dispensed this advice:
Now, right after graduation today, make a list of the people who don’t believe in you. And you have a few, don’t you? I had plenty of people who told me not to do what I was going to do. You make a list this afternoon, of the people who don’t believe in you, and you call them tonight, and tell them to go to hell!
The CalTech speech is full of wonderful examples of that faith in the future Bradbury has been evangelizing about all his life:
I’d like to believe that on some night, 50, 60 years from now, that when some of you are on Mars, that you’ll carry with you-please do-a copy of The Martian Chronicles, which is totally unscientific. It’s a Greek myth, it’s a Roman myth, it’s an Egyptian myth, it’s a Norse edda. And that’s why the damn thing is still around. I didn’t deal with the facts. I dealt with the dream. And some night, teach your children, on Mars, to read the books under the blankets with the flashlight. And in the meantime, they’re looking out at Mars, and the only Martians that are out there will be you. I envy you about that.
The idea of 20th Century sf being about a technological future comes from within the genre itself, so who can blame anyone for using that paradigm to contrast its past and present. Fortunately we have Bradbury’s voice to remind us that our dreams and visions shape the time to come no less powerfully than our inventions.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the link.]