Book 45 The Circle

The Circle by Dave Eggers fulfilled the “Book with no chapters/unusual chapter headings/unconventionally numbered
” for the PopSugar 2019 Reading Challenge. The novel has no
chapters. It is one long set of text, broken up by single blank lines. I
listened to the audio and was not aware of the non-chapters. The book was stream
of conscious.
And it scared the crap out
of me.
Social media and the high level
of connectivity are making the world a tiny place. People can find their
ancestry, old high school flames, and that neighbor who wronged them years ago.
The amount of data out there is mind-blowing. In the wrong hands, that information
is an opportunity for many evil deeds.
The premise of the story is
basically Facebook goes cancerous and spreads—invades—into every single aspect
of people
’s lives. The Circle (the company) dictates everything that can be
known, should be. Using capital to exploit this notion, they seek to spread the
Circle to every section of a person’s life. They encourage people to place mini
cameras everywhere. They ask their employees to take part in everything at the
company from surveys to picnics to concerts to mandatory posts on social media.
There’s a reason most of the workers are young because I think us older peeps
would call bullshit.
By the last third of the book,
privacy is theft and secrets are lies. These statements shook me to my bones. Privacy
is theft? Oh, no, honey. Just no. I
’m a private person. I’ll put myself out there a
bit for the sake of my books and reaching my readers. But Mae (the main character)
opts to wear a camera around her neck 24/7 to be “transparent.” Many others
take up the cameras too, including politicians who want to be “clear.” I’d like
some transparency in government, but people do not have the right to all
information. Some things must be private, secret, or just none of your damn
The company uses many of
the social engineering techniques I researched for my second book. Guilt,
shame, and passive-aggressive behavior shape their employees into doing whatever
is asked and they do it happily.
“Don’t you think someone with cerebral palsy
would want to see what it’s like to paddle a kayak? Why wouldn’t you share your
experience with them?” Of course, the answer is yes. Because you would be a
terrible person to say no.
But Mae never considers the
person asking the question. Why do they get to demand these images, life
experiences, secrets from her? Why should anyone be able to watch you do
anything? People are entitled to a space of their own. But if they resist, they
are shamed into complying. I could see this happening in today
’s society.
It’s scary.
“I followed you on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook. You didn’t follow
me back. What kind of person doesn’t do that?” But the simple requests in The
turn into “Why didn’t you help my daughter get a job? Why didn’t you
share your private time with us? I just met you, but why haven’t you give me
your all?” That type of entitlement is rampant in today’s society and The
hits it on the nose.
The book begs we be careful
and watch what we share out there, who we grant permissions to in the name of
progress. The novel has a very valid point. Take note, my friend, and change
those passwords.
     I give The Circle by Dave
Eggers Five Zings.

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