“The Circle,” by Dave Eggers is a novel that centers around a girl named Mae Holland, who works at an internet technology company called The Circle that pursues to control flow of information in turn they can takeover the whole world. Mae unknowingly take part of the operation to complete the Circle and eventually be the face of it despite hurting her some of her friends and family members along the way.
Many people closed to Mae such as her ex-boyfriend Mercer and her mysterious partner Kalden(who really is Ty and is one of the Three Wisemen) struggle to convince her to stop, but she goes on to help the corporation believing that she is contributing to the greater good. On the outside, the Circle professes as a community of transparency that create technology to perfect the world where they could end poverty, violence, and manufacture better human beings; however, their interior motive is constructing a totalitarian dystopian society that is under their authority.
Transparency to keep people safe is one of the concepts of utopia that The Circle is striving to accomplish, but this lead to an infringement of people’s right to privacy. The Circle seek for a world where everyone is monitored in some ways because “who would commit crime knowing that they might be watched anytime anywhere? ”(Eggers 67). One of the ways to achieve this ideal world of no misconducts is by using Seechange cameras, that is introduced by Eamon Bailey, which are little wireless cameras that give users instant access to live high quality videos of the areas where they are placed.
Along with that, owners of these cameras can share their live feeds with the world letting them know exactly what happening at the moment. The role of these cameras is to keep people in check so they are expected to abide by the rules at all time. Alternately, these devices manage to keep the crime rate down but they cost people the right to behave normally in public. As the book continues, see change cameras appear everywhere even in Mae’s parent’s house as a part of the insurance plan to keep her father safe.
The purpose of placing these cameras at Mae’s house is to “gather as much information” about her dad’s health but “each morning they reach up and put some kind of cover on them”(Eggers 361). When Mae approaches her parents about the situation and knowing that they are on cameras, they “adjusted their behavior”(Eggers 365). From the text, her parents clearly desire to have some concealment of their lives but for her dad’s treatment, they have to broadcast their lives for the whole world to observe.
Imagine everyday with the camera turning on 24/7, her parents could not behave like themselves. Let alone, they are definitely not the only ones who feel that way. The cost of keeping people safe cost many people the basic human right of owning some space. They do not have a say in this and once The Circle is complete, everybody have to give up their information even when they do not want to. They suffer to behave differently with a promise of freedom and safety from The Circle, but still have to live under their confinement.
The Circle ideal of no privacy help cease people’s fear of rejection but in turn destroy intimacy. As an illustration, Luv Luv is a software that is currently being tested by The Circle, and it allows users to search up any information about their dates based on what they post, like, or mention on the the internet. Gus, the presenter of LuvLuv, states that the software “scans the web and uses some high powered and very surgical search machinery” to ensure that a person would not get rejected by their significant other(Eggers 121).
Francis volunteered to search up information about Mae in front of everybody else without her permission which made her furious. In Francis’s mind, he believes the gesture would impress Mae because he would be able to find out more about her. Even though she offered those information online she still wondered “why couldn’t her just ask her? ”(Eggers 126) This software defeat the purpose of going on a date and finding out information about about the other the other person. At the beginning of the Novel, Mae seems like the type of person to retain parts of her private life to herself.
An example would be the Saturday that she went home to visit her parents but she was questioned by Denise for not posting anything about it online. Mae assumes that those kind of things are for her to decide whether she wants to share them or not, but at The Circle, she is required to. Programs like LuvLuv poses as ways for people to be more romantic, but in reality they take away one of the things that makes dating fun, which getting to know your love interest on a date .
When pairing the mindset of using information to better the world and a capitalist ideology together, it becomes a recipe for a complete dystopian. Ty(one of the Wisemen) mentions that Stenton(the other Wisemen) “saw a connection” between “their work and politics, and between politics and control”(Eggers 489) With this in mind, in the novel, the Circle is near its peak where they have created technology to monitor people and control most of the information that the world receive since they wiped out almost all of their competitors.
Once they control people’s knowledge of the world, they could shape their perceptions to their benefits. They can provide people a false sense of a perfect world, and eliminate people who goes against them. Ty warns Mae about the destruction that the Circle could cause when they know everything about everyone; he mentions that if “you can control the flow of information, you can control everything” and you will create a “mob rule, a filterless society where secrets are crimes”(Eggers 487). As demonstrated with the transparency with politicians.
They are encouraged to wear a seechange cameras with live audios and live stream everything on the internet for everyone to see. When a politician opposed the Circle’s ideas or call them out for being a corporate company that takes advantage of other people for profits(which they are), Stenton places “incriminating stuffs” on their computers(Eggers 488). This could happen to anyone else that goes against the company and their operation. The perfect utopia is modelled by the vision of the Circle and no one else has a say in it.
Imagine living in a perfect world where all the basic things that make a person human are taken away because some corporate entity defines the “right” way to live. In The Circle, although there are great elements about the company’s technological advancement in improving the world, they prove that utopia will remain as an idea and cannot exist without turning the world into a dystopia for other people; one person’s way of living, could be another person’s idea of hell.