“You sit at a desk twelve hours a day and you have nothing to show for it except some numbers that won’t exist or be remembered in a week. You’re leaving no evidence you lived. There’s no proof.”
When I read this, something just clicked inside my head. I completely agree with what Mercer was saying to Mae while they had their argument after she posted a picture of his work on the internet. Mae thought she was just trying to help Mercer by getting his work noticed by the rest of the world, but she was really just being a perfect example of the horrifying world that is displayed by Eggers in the book.
Honestly, I am a technology lover. I love everything about it and how it could possibly help and change the world, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t scare me as well. We constantly hear people cry out about our loss of privacy due to technology, which I agree with, but the thing that scares me the most is the loss of life. I don’t mean people dying from technology, instead I mean people becoming lifeless blobs that do nothing but sit in front of a screen all day, every day doing nothing with their life. I was raised up not receiving my first cell phone and laptop until I was 17. I had consoles to play video games (Which I love!) all my life, but I never let it control my life. Being raised this way, I was taught to cherish moments and interactions in life which truly make you feel alive. I am a firm believer in the quote “Just because you’re alive, doesn’t mean you’re living.” I’m one of those people who, if you took their phone or computer away, they wouldn’t freak out and scream out that they are “Dyyyyyyiiiiiiinnnnnggggg!!!!” That attitude and lifestyle is something I see throughout The Circle as well as more and more in real life.
I love how Eggers has created the character Mercer. He is probably my favorite in the story. He might not want his work mass publicized and be overweight, but I believe he has his head on straight. He shows up in the book after, what seems like long spurts of “Circleism” (Long time talking about Mae’s events at the Circle), to give Mae a taste of reality. A taste that she spits back out by being naïve and riding the Circle train pretty hard. Like it was said in class by Prof. Fest, she seems “somewhat inhuman” in the way she is taking everything in at the Circle. How can someone working on seven screens for 12 hours a day sustain a healthy life? Even if she kayaks every once in a while? It is most certainly inhuman and sickening. Like Mercer said, she is leaving no proof that she even lived. I believe this is a metaphor for people in real life that a sucked into their jobs or their technology that don’t get out and explore the world and interact with other humans, in a humanly instinctual way. They get either wrapped up in their jobs or the computers, thinking that they are interacting with people since they are emailing and messaging all day, but really they’re just becoming zombies that talk about doing things instead of actually doing them.
Eggers, in my humble opinion does a perfect job at portraying the dark side of technology while selling it as the good. It is seen all throughout the book; just one example is Bailey’s SeeChange. The list goes on and on, but to me, people losing their “life” to technology is the scariest and most realistic.