“Secrets Are Lies.
Sharing Is Caring.
Privacy Is Theft”
When I finished reading The Circle by Dave Eggers it became evident that I was scared out of my wits for an hour. Dave Eggers’s narrative is immaculate. Perhaps it was the immaculacy that scared me silly. Perhaps. Or it might have been the way he painted a picture of a world, so closely related to ours, and maybe someday, become our world in the future. Maybe.
The story starts with Mae Holland beginning a job at “Circle”, which is a large internet company, which her friend Annie helped her get. The company comes up with amazing technology and brilliant ideas edging on new technological revolution. She starts her work answering queries about Circle products just like a customer care employee would. She climbs higher and higher with her hard work and becomes one of the best employees. As her first few days turns into her first few weeks it becomes evident that she is expected to do much more than work. It is explained to her that sharing every minute details of her life will only bring joy to everyone else.
“All That Happens Must Be Known” remains the motive of Circle and every employee has happily accepted this. Mae, elated that such a big company has employed her, does her best to fit into the new world. Even when she starts to lose her true self, she continues to be awed and surprised by what Circle has done for her.
The Circle does bizarre things from publicly streaming live video from people’s lives as it happens by means of cameras installed everywhere to tracking every employee at all times of the day to finding what anyone’s ancestors have ever done and thus bringing shame upon the living descendants.
The story reaches a point where only the bathroom breaks of her day remain unknown to millions of her followers. At this point, one will start to wonder why Mae is so blind to the repercussions of her actions and whether attention and appreciation are enough to keep a person doing something morally questionable.
But we do have a knight(s) in shining armour who do what they can to make Mae see the truth behind the evil intentions of the company. You would think that finally Mae saw the right way around and fixed the mess she made. I hoped she would. Sadly she is too far gone with no hopes of returning to the sane world.
The book ends with Mae thinking of a new idea. She thinks of how the thoughts contained in the human mind is private and feels it should be known to all. Afterall, Privacy is Theft.