“Folks, we’re at the dawn of the Second Enlightenment. And I’m not talking about a new building on campus. I’m talking about an era where we don’t allow the majority of human thought and action and achievement and learning to escape as if from a leaky bucket. We did that once before. It was called the Middle Ages, the Dark Ages. If not for the monks, everything the world had ever learned would have been lost. Well, we live in a similar time, when we’re losing the vast majority of what we do and see and learn. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Not with these cameras, and not with the mission of the Circle.” (77) *Due to this being an eBook version, the pagination will be off from the physical copy*
Through the charismatic voice of Eamon Bailey, Dave Eggers is able to persuade readers on an interesting view point of his. Despite the technological advancement around the world, we could potentially be heading right down the path to our very own version of the Dark Ages. With cameras and the Circle however, this wouldn’t be a problem, and in today’s actual society this is just as true. Record is kept of everything in one way or another, whether it be caught on camera (like the Circle’s mission in this example) or with endless online databases of text messages, instant messages, photos, etc. Having the words come from Bailey is the first thing that stands out to me. Pitching the idea of this mass surveillance makes the Circle seem like the good guys from the get go. Rather than society losing so much of the information and events we cherish, it is all stored somewhere forever. This keeps everyone on the Circle’s good side for their mission without really thinking about the full implications of what is at hand.
Loss of privacy is the obvious downside initially seen when looking past Bailey’s presentation. It then becomes necessary to decide how much of your privacy is worth giving up to feel safer due to these programs, or if it really will stop information from falling through the cracks like the Dark Ages. On one hand, every precaution should be taken in order to both maintain a higher level of security for the people in society. Greater interest should also be taken in order to preserve what would be considered history in the future. But still, how safe can this program make the world and how much would saving and documenting this amount of information benefit society? People will still find ways around the system, and crime would not go away forever. As far as the mass data bases go, it may do more harm for history than good. The truth in situations would absolutely be more out in the public view than in previous times, but how would human interaction change? It seems as though a much more secretive lifestyle would be lived in many different cases due to the fact that someone would always be watching your every move.
While operations such as those planned to be used by the Circle have both various pros and cons to them, I do feel that the pros would further benefit society as a whole, especially considering them coming from Bailey’s mouth, as Eggers uses in the passage above. His charm definitely eases doubts when taking into consideration the program as a whole, but whether or not Bailey’s charisma is good thing used for persuasion in the right way, or as a smokescreen to push through something that may not be as beneficial as it seems is up for debate on its own.