Ray Bradbury was the author of Fahrenheit 451, which I have read multiple times in High School. Very good book. I believe Ray Bradbury meant that just because you burn a book, doesn’t mean a culture is destroyed. Knowledge is power, and people will continue to read books if it will help their own culture/society succeed; burning a book is unnecessary in stopping the progression of a culture.
I agree that burning a book, or multiple books, will inevitably destroy a culture from the inside out. If people had no way of documenting how their culture worked, or works, how would they pass their knowledge down to their next of kin? It would be difficult, unless people conveyed their messages by word of mouth only.
Ray Bradbury might have meant that burning books is pointless, because if no one reads the books, what’s the point of burning them? If no one reads anything, the culture dies. If no one learns anything, the culture dies. If you force people to stop reading intellectual books, the culture will die. He could have meant there is more than one method to stopping a culture from flourishing. There are two options; burn the books: cultures die. Force people to stop reading the books: culture also dies. Either way, the culture dies. This quote is self explanatory.
Overall, this quote can be used towards other aspects, other than just books. You don’t have to take down every YouTube video in order to get people to stop learning about them, even if only one person saw a YouTube video, they could explain in detail what it was about to other people. There is no need to burn every book, if any, and there is no need to take down YouTube videos. People will learn and cultures will survive, but not as efficiently as when there were more things written down and documented.
In the 21st century, it seems as if less hardback and paperback books are being read and our culture is changing more and more into an internet-fueled society.