I can’t speak for everyone reading this, but I keep having to remind myself “close your mouth, Zac” because of how shocking the events continue to be. From the crazy “Dream Friday” presentations, to the voluntary-go-or-you’re-in-trouble events, I was in awe at the company’s herd-like mentality. However, selling the idea of transparency was the icing on the cake. I can’t help but imagine clear frames of people walking around with nothing to give to society, because everything they are is already known. Bailey’s guidance of Mae to present SECRETS ARE LIES, SHARING IS CARING, PRIVACY IS THEFT yields to be terrifying because of the “real world” potential for this to happen.
On paper, the majority of these mantras make sense (the third is a little out there in my opinion but, still, I can relate). I can remember being taught not to keep secrets and the chanting of the childish rhyme “secrets, secrets are no fun, secrets are for everyone,” while people were whispering. Sharing, on the other hand, was never taught to me personally (I’m a twin so it comes with the territory), but society has drilled this idea into children every chance they got from television shows to books. Lastly, while more difficult to relate to the third mantra, as a child and even today I am told constant by my overprotective-but-good-intentioned mother “I gave birth to you so I have the right to know what goes on with you.” So, not to jump to any conclusions, but I’m sure you all can relate to the mantra in one way or another.
I would argue that Eggers created these three statements as a response to the real-world traction that they continue to hold. Pertaining to SECRETS ARE LIES, think about the ordeal with Edward Snowden. The American public was outraged at the fact that they were being listened to, but perhaps they were even more taken aback by the fact that the government had kept this hidden for so long. This mantra, while not to a ‘Circle” extent is present in society today. Moving on to SHARING IS CARING, again we can showcase roots in modern society. Take, for example, the mentality of entitlement that is said to pervade in the younger generations. This mentality didn’t appear out of thin air. It came from an overuse of sharing. The line between what is considered sharing and taking has been blurred as a result. Lastly, PRIVACY IS THEFT. In The Circle, Mae steals the kayak, not knowing a SeeChange was present in the area (275). In this case, the though of privacy did lead her to steal. It’s the same way in reality. Surveillance cameras and alarm systems are used in homes in order to deter people from breaking in or stealing because they are in a sense not alone.
Surprisingly enough, the mantra of this dystopian society are already present. This fact makes Eggers novel that much more terrifying because all it makes our present only a step away from The Circle’s “community.” Overall, while Americans teach less intensified versions, the mantras SECRETS ARE LIES, SHARING IS CARING, PRIVACY IS THEFT are present in reality whether people want to accept it or not.