Eggers and Control

In class we talked about the scene where cameras were placed in high risk areas for civilian militant action. How Eggers frames this argument is pretty clever. We discussed how it would be very difficult going against a plan positively impacting human rights, which, within the novel, seems to justify this very traditional view of panopticism. Within The Circle, however, participants actively engage in their own monitoring; they send zings, post photos, check into events, and are expected to catalog every aspect of daily life. The question is, ultimately is this idea of self reporting more effective for a totalitarian schema than traditional, forced monitoring. Does this inherent false sense of personal sovereignty allow for more control over those operating within the system, or do active fear based tactics remain most effective? Can we say definitively that indoctrination is the best method of compliance?

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2 Responses to Eggers and Control

  1. exelsisxax says:

    What do you mean by best method of compliance? If you mean most effective, indoctrination is it. Things like patriotism and faith are so incredibly powerful because of how easily they can warp what an otherwise rational person thinks about the world. Having some belief pounded into you as being absolutely true with no possibility of refutation can set up an insane amount of resistance to opposing viewpoints later on. The weakness of those two methods is that they are built on lies. What the Circle does is far more devious, even more so than 1984’s Big Brother system. What the Circle spreads around, what it supports, what it endorses and propagates are often factually correct or for the betterment of society. They don’t do a whole lot of lying. Internet access for all, political accountability, and social integration are all good things. It’s a terrifying thought that, even if there aren’t any nefarious plans behind it, an organization with such good intentions truly could bring about a human apocalypse even when starting off from hard facts and noble goals. The subtle filtration of truth, not its manipulation, really is the best method of control that there could ever be.

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  2. zucconi says:

    This reminds me of Mae’s Dream Friday presentation with Eamon, they talk about how his son watches videos of other people climbing Mount Kenya to someone sailing in the America’s Cup. This gives his son, who is wheelchair bound, a feeling of accomplishing these things as well. In this light, it seems very admirable to document what you do in order to share with people who aren’t able to experience it themselves. But when Eamon says that “Equal access to all possible human experiences is a basic human right,” it seems more intrusive and creepy. According to The Circle, it is a right that everyone should be able to access what happens in your daily life. I haven’t read ahead, but this makes me wonder if they are going to want everyone to go transparent. Certainly this would be more effective in stopping crime since people don’t have to assume they’re being watched, they know they’re being watched because the camera is around their neck.

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