The Circle - a thought experiment

I just finished reading the book "The Circle" (by Dave Eggers) and I since I'm trying to write more, why not write a few words around that?

The book "The Circle"
Photo from Wikipedia

There will be A LOT of spoilers in this text.

What I enjoyed with "The Circle"

I borrowed the book from a friend (thanks, S!) after I'd seen the movie.

My first conclusion was that it was an interesting movie with a really bad ending. It tried to be an "end" but didn't end anything. It really tried, but nothing seemed to change. This was completely opposite the book where there's a slow transition throughout the entire book, nowhere is there a great reveal or a huge change, there's never an end, and it's rather a constant slow scary change to the person we're following that makes the last pages very... Real. Completely infuriating but at the same time, understandable. I'd seen the change slowly happen as I made my way through the book. And I was afraid.

Scary woman wearing white trapped in a house with her hands on the glass.
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez / Unsplash

The one we follow

When we follow Mae through the book, she always justifies her own actions (as I believe a lot of people do), she tries to look at issues through perspectives, unfortunately, she doesn't understand that there are others than her (lots of those people around these days). And then we follow her to see how she grows distant to the people she loves while the world transforms.

And the world transformation is sooo interesting! It's a slow transformation, and it's very grounded in what's happening right now in the world.
It's not a regime transformation, but a data transformation. Where on one side we have the people arguing that everything should be known to everyone at all times. At least the right to know everything, and then we have the people that say that everyone should have the right to choose what others should know about them.

It's not a regime transformation, but a data transformation

At some point, they might seem like fairly close thoughts. The right for people to do what they please. But one is about me having control of my own data, life & choices. While the other is about giving up that control and trusting it with the rest of the world. Would you?

Let's look at transparency


Photo by Samuel Zeller / Unsplash

There's this one "discussion" in the book where Mae is being... "Lectured" about transparency and how it would impact others.
The example that is brought up is:

What if every non-heterosexual person at the exact same time would make their sexual orientation known. Would anyone be able to "hurt" this minority when it's obvious that it isn't, in fact, a minority?

I find this to be REALLY interesting! First of all, I can kinda see where the argument is coming from. It goes in the same direction as the (flawed) argument that men that have sisters, wifes & daughters that identify as female have it easier to understand sexism and be less of an... idiot about it.
The problem with that as well as with this is that it isn't universal, as much as I'd love that, it isn't.

There are fathers with brilliant and successful daughters that look to them as disappointments simply because of their gender. And what I fear in our case... Is that (in this thought experiment) if everyone that isn't heterosexual became known in an instant. For some, it would probably change, they would see how normal that was come closer to acceptance or perhaps just become scared because there are so many others against them.
But then there would probably be another group, a group that simply said: "We now know which ones to hunt."


Photo by Kaylah Otto / Unsplash

Imagine the fear of being a non-heterosexual person at that point. Everyone that previously hated you, everyone you were safe from because they didn't know you. Suddenly they do. Suddenly they know who you are, and you know that if they see you, they want nothing else but to take you off this world.
That'd be scary, I don't know if I'd be able to leave the house, have a social media account or do much at all, to be honest.

It would feel as if my life was stolen from me. That when someone else proclaimed their "right" to all information about me. They removed my right to live my life.

You could say, since everything is transparent from the people that hate you, they would be hushed as well. But really, would they?

So yea... I don't think it's a good thing to make everything known.

Differences in the movie

A person holding a clapper board  in a desert
Photo by Jakob Owens / Unsplash

Let's just start off with the obvious the book is better. And now let's talk about details.

In the Movie they kinda... Force two VERY different characters together as a single person. A strange person that is a mixture of both in the book. These two people in the book fill a similar type of need for Mae, but they do so in very different ways. Where one symbolize the openness, and the other the unknown.

More stuff, in the book you can understand how Mae thinks. You can understand the small battles that are happening within her and how she reason about it. You can feel the tension that's between her and her best friend. In the movie... All of that is completely gone. We don't hear her think... We don't understand her and we therefore hope she would do as we want her to do. Which she does in the movie... NOT IN THE BOOK.

One more thing

They missed some scenes that would have been amazing to see in a movie. There are a few scenes where they talk about an enormous aquarium, where they see some fantastic creatures. I can see why you keep that out of the movie ($$$$) but it would be nice to see none the less.

THE ENDING


Photo by Jorge Garcia / Unsplash

So yeah... The ending...

At the end of the film, they go like: Big revelation

And then the next scene they drop it like the idea was poisonous and if the last scene didn't happen.

And in the book. In the book they hint at what could be done, they show it in the readers face by another character that this this is what should be done to, save the world. And at some point, we might believe this voice of reason, but then we turn the page and figure out that no. Mae followed the path that she had walked along the entire book.

Maybe she had traveled too far to turn back?

When will we have traveled too far to turn back?