Throughout the novel, the author utilizes three ideologies within the Circle in order to show the level of transparency the company desires, making a claim about this culture and the extremes into which these mantras have taken root: “Secrets are lies”, “Sharing is caring”, “Privacy is theft”.In showing these ideologies within the company, it can be seen that these mantras lack an ability to entirely function in the “real world”.
After Mae put her life and job at risk when she stole the kayak, she soon realizes everything she did would be discovered by the Circle. When confronted by Eamonn Bailey, it appeared that Mae would try to hide her wrongdoing, keeping it a secret. When asked a series of questions regarding this secret, Eamonn tried to make the point that if Mae knew she was being watched, revealed what she had done, and aimed to learn from her mistake, then she would fulfill the ideals of the company and promote the mantras so highly valued.
The Circle strongly believes that “secrets are lies”. Mae makes the logical argument in defense of what she would do with information her family may want to know, but she chooses not to tell them for the sake of their feelings. Not all secrets are actually lies. Eamonn believes that issues regarding national security can be open, when this is not at all the case. For instance, the designated survivor, a US cabinet member who does not attend large events in case of attack, is kept secret. This person is not kept secret as a lie but as a protection in case of attack. This secret is meant for the betterment of the nation, not a lie to avoid hurting someone’s feelings.
In the idea that “sharing is caring” this is aimed at allowing Circlers to know everything about everyone. When you are young and it comes to sharing your toys with someone who doesn’t have any, maybe then “sharing is caring”. However, when it comes to data, health records, and personal information, sharing these intimate parts of life are not necessary in order to achieve a common good. In different views of politics, some people believe that people who make more money should have to pay a larger sum of many in taxes, encouraging the welfare system and preventing some capable people from returning to work. By encouraging this sytem, sharing is not helping these people improve their livelihood or sense of independence.
In the ideology of the Circle that “privacy is theft”, the company believes that by keeping things to yourself, you are robbing others of experiences they are entitled. Because Eamonn’s son has cerebral palsy, he is unable to experience some of the vast things that Circlers have and by denying him of that experience to keep it private, he is robbed of something that is believed to be rightfully his. Privacy belongs to an individual. You cannot take claim on the experiences, the data, or intimate details of someone’s life because they do not belong to you. There is nothing which to be stolen because privacy is entitled to each individual. Experiences may be shared, but choosing to share those details is in fact, what defines privacy.
In looking at these mantras in today’s world, they can not be upheld. Theses values in which the Circle idealizes are subjective. There are definitely times when secrets are lies, sharing is caring, and privacy can be viewed as theft, however, the extremes to which the Circle will go to put these ideas into practice is not realistic for the everyday person. In order to protect the safety of individuals, nations, and prevent misuse of information, keeping certain aspects of life private are essential.