I saw the Circle this last Saturday and it caused me to ponder. What would happen if you could locate a criminal in a matter of minutes because everyone that’s on social media is looking for them at the same time? What would happen if you could locate a long lost friend or relative to notify them of a death in the family or just because you missed them? Would you be better behaved if you knew someone was constantly monitoring you? Would you speed? Would you get drunk? Would you participate in a crime? If you saw something breathtaking and kept it to yourself, would that be selfish? If you could sky dive and send that image to someone who was confined to a bed, wouldn’t you? I went to Glacier Park and did the Iceberg Lake trail. I describe that journey to lots of people, but not everyone. Is that selfish of me? If you knew you had a network of thousands if not millions of people that understood your feelings or could give you advice and support, or could explain things you didn’t understand, wouldn’t that feel great?
Secrets are Lies. It is truth that is left untold. It is deceptive to not tell the whole truth and to keep secrets from anyone. Why would you keep secrets anyway? If you look at all the great literature in the world, the downfall of each flawed hero is his proclivity in keeping secrets. Because we do not have perfect and instantaneous communication, we choose what we want to reveal and to whom. But if there was a way to make that level of communication possible, wouldn’t that eliminate misunderstandings? Wouldn’t it be great to not have to guess whether the person with whom you were conversing was telling you the truth or only part of the truth? This is a slippery slope. Secrets are secrets, not lies.
Why are civil liberties and a right to privacy important? People don’t really think privacy is an issue since they share publicly what they’re doing at all times, what their kids look like, the phone numbers, the places they eat, the friends they made, the memories … One was sharing his last bowel movement experience! In fact, if you look at celebrities–both the Hollywood types and the politicians, even though they are watched like a hawk, they still continue to do scandalous things. Even when every thing they say and do finds itself in a newspaper or on a t.v. show or the subject of gossip on a blog, they wear bikinis that are the wrong color, say terrible things to their maids, gossip about other celebrities. They ignore the constant surveillance. To be honest, I really don’t want to know about your last bowel movement, or your kids’ ages, or your opinion on evolution or trash or the latest celebrity scandal.
It’s like gun control. Law abiding citizens follow procedures, fill out paperwork, and are generally not a menace to the society. Law breaking citizens find ways to get around the system and cause major disruption in schools, churches, parking lots costing lives and endangering many people. Boring people would not mind constant surveillance, and those that would want to avoid it would find a way to get around it. If I had cameras in every room, I’d have to do my laundry more often, clean my bathroom more regularly, do my dishes. I would rather figure out a way to cover up the cameras because the way I keep house is really nobody’s business but mine. Does that make it a secret? No. Does that open me up for more criticism? It might. Why won’t you let us see how you clean your toilet? Do you have something to hide? (Wiggles eyebrows menacingly.) Would I watch other people 24/7/365 if I had access? No. I don’t care what their bathrooms look like. I am not interested in their favorite foods or concerts or theme parks are. I might be mildly interested in their kids or grand kids, but that’s just because I love little kids and babies.
People have been designed to see differences. It’s a matter of survival. Us vs. Them. When they see how others live, they judge them–are they one of us or one of them? I think that would be the most disturbing to people: being judged by people you don’t know and who don’t really have any reason to be looking at your behavior and your dirty kitchen. The biggest question I would have is why would you want to know what everyone is doing at every moment. Remember the movie “Truman?” It was a reality show show where everyone watched one guy all his life. What would make this different? Remember his reaction to finding out he was the star of a show and everyone was watching every move he made, every foible, every decision, every conversation… He felt violated, betrayed, depressed because everything that happened in his life was orchestrated to get the biggest ratings. Would constant surveillance change people’s behaviors? It might. Some (especially those addicted to selfies) would play to the cameras. Some would be a better version of themselves until they got burnt out. Some would find a way around the system. I think I would find myself in the last category.
Another thing to consider is not everyone viewing this information has the most upright of motives and it would make evil easier to perpetrate. You know when people are home and when they’re not, and because you’re casing their place, you also know where the cameras are located. Or they see you sitting on your couch day after day eating chips and watching TV. Cyber bullying would be easier to pull off. Every easy fix is also an easy break. Comprehensive surveillance is never comprehensive. Not everything that is done for the good of the people is appreciated. View Prohibition. Remember the old saying, “Mind Your Own Business.” Take care of yourself, be the person you were meant to be before you start looking at others.
I found the ending of the movie quite disturbing. I won’t spoil it for you, but it seemed that our heroine won! And was observed 100% of the time for the rest of her life? Doesn’t sound like a win to me. If people communicated and connected, there would be no need or want for surveillance. Most people, if they minded their own business, would be too busy fixing themselves to be spying on their neighbors.