Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The long slow march

When we finally notice that we are being watched, why do we all of a sudden change our behavior? Why do we feel the need to project something completely different from what we actually feel like doing? It’s probably because of our fear that the authority will not approve of what we actually want to do, and that what we want is always contradicted by what we should (examples abound throughout Judeo-Christian ideology and parenting methods). Perhaps we try to portray the ideal instead of embodying the “flawed.” I notice some students change their behavior to be much more unusual, usually on the voice volume scale, when they see a tour of the campus going by. Why should our lives matter to these people we don’t even know? Why do we feel the need to treat these other people as a mirror of our lives, by which we can judge ourselves?

When I started looking at the “Demonstrate” web site, I began to think about surveillance and what would happen if they started hooking up real time cameras in more public spaces, and if they began publishing the videos and pictures for the world to see. People would probably freak out at first and revolt against the idea, but after a while, the fuss would probably die down and people would resume life as normal. My conclusion reminded me of our discussion over the uproar about the News Feed on Facebook, and how, now, people have gotten used to the idea about things being published about their actions on their profiles and on others’ home pages. Why do we change our attitudes when we have an object which becomes a mirror to ourselves? Why do we look at ourselves different in regular mirrors? Why would we eventually get used to the idea of the surveillance society? Would we actually? Has the progression to real time changed our ideas about privacy and are we slowly walking to Big Brother, but freely accepting it?

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