Our Hidden Panopticisms

Imagine you wake up to find yourself in a dark and cold prison cell. Only the sounds of water rhythmically dripping from an unknown source to comfort you in the loud silence of the large cell. As you do your first 360º of the cell, you discover that all except for one of the walls are completely empty. It appears to be a large screen-like glass wall; although you can not see through it, you can almost guarantee that it is a one-sided window. BOOM! A loud buzzing sound emits from all sides of the room, and instead of cowering down, you suddenly gain curiosity to who is your prison keeper. Welcome to the world of panopticism. In this example, the inmates are always watched by a guard, yet they can never see who is watching nor when. This system invokes compliance since people tend to internalize their fear of constantly being watched. 

Unfortunately, we live in a society where this panopticism extends far beyond prison walls. It permeates our daily and digital lives by giving us the false illusion of safety through Ring Doorbells and extra security. Our society constantly barters between casual shopping and surveillance, preventing us from scruitinizing our reality.  We see panopticisms in social media as we share various parts of our lives with strangers, through online shopping as companies can see our interests, and many other ways where we blindly surrender our information just to follow a trend. Although there are many benefits to these new pieces of technology, many profound issues and concerns now arise, specifically related to privacy and freedom.  This sparks intruiging discussions and questions. As humans, it is our responsibility to discuss the concerns of our society with each other. The bigger question submerges: when will we discuss and who is ready for these conversations?

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