Almost immediately upon our arrival back to the States from Mexico a family member shoved a book in my hand and said I could have the book if I wanted. It was kind of an odd exchange with no preamble or really any reason of any kind as I think back on it. I think I promptly said, “Ok, thanks”, and that was that. The book was tossed into our vehicle and sat.
When we moved out of the country we literally sold almost every possession we had accumulated throughout our marriage. Actually that’s not quite accurate. We even had childhood stuff we were still clinging onto. We faced head on the fact that life is more than mere possessions. If you take nothing else away from this paper, do this one thing for me: go find some stuff in your house or apartment or whatever and if you haven’t looked at it or used it at least once in the last six months, then give it away or sell it. Go make a donation to a thrift store or inquire if anyone needs anything that you have. Trust me, you’ll be better off for it.
One thing we did keep was a working SUV that we had owned for several years. A 2002 Toyota Sequoia. It’s been nothing but dependable and very minimal on the electronic doodads outside of the OBDII system that’s been standard in most vehicles for quite a while. We’re trying to get to the million mile club with it. We’re only roughly 800,000 away from accomplishing that goal so I guess time will tell. At any rate, we figured since we’re a five piece band it would be nice to have a vehicle we could just hop in and use when we came back to visit. It proved to be the right choice, but now that we were back full time, I needed another form of transportation to make the roughly forty five minute commute to work every day.
Back to the grind and all that.
When I was learning to drive a car my family was staunchly “pro-manual.” Everyone learned how to drive a stick shift. Not only did it give me an appreciation for the vehicles and skills that others might not have, but it also proved a boon to me several times in life when a manual car or truck was the only option available to me for one reason or another. I fondly remember a time that a friend and I were the only two people out of a whole crew of laborers at a summer job in high school that knew how to drive a stick, so we were given a much easier job driving around in a dump truck. It pays dividends I tell you.
In that vein I vowed to teach all of my kids how to drive a stick as well. The lessons had already begun back in Guatemala with my oldest son as almost everything down there is manual. Back here the decision was just as easy to buy a cheap used 5-speed for both commuting and passing on to my son for his first car.
That’s where the book would come back in to play. Upon giving the SUV back to my wife, all of my—there it is again—accumulated stuff that had already built up in the front seat was unceremoniously dumped into the new little car. I happened to be between books at the moment and at the time I was in this cycle where I would read a non-fiction book and then follow up with a fiction title and so on and so forth. The book in question was called The Circle and it happened to fill the fictional void in my life at the moment.
I won’t comment on the film adaptation that later spawned. I know it starred Tom Hanks and the girl from Harry Potter. I guess it bombed. I think Hollywood sometimes tanks movies on purpose to further their agenda. They always want to telegraph what they’re about to do but that doesn’t necessarily mean they want us paying full attention to it.
I guess the usual “spoiler alerts ahead” are in order if that sort of thing is a big deal to you.
The story deals with a young woman named Mae who lands a job with the Silicon Valley super tech company call The Circle. You can think of this as basically a conglomerate of the FAANG companies. For those not familiar, that would be Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google. Seems pretty appropriate if you ask me as these companies seem to have everyone in their collective bite at the moment. I suppose they should be renamed to the FAAAN companies since Google is really called Alphabet. But I digress.
The Circle is founded and run by the “Three Wise Men.” They fall along the lines of one being the PR or figurehead, the other being the businessman and the third being the reclusive developer who actually built the original technology from which the entire company sprang. Stories abound that the three wise men or Magi of the Bible were actually trained by Daniel and that’s how they knew to look for the Star…and yet again I digress. In addition to the wise men moniker you kind of get a pseudo-trinity vibe here as well.
Mae starts out working in customer service and is introduced to all sorts of various numbers, progressions, ranks and things that she’s supposed to keep up with. In a kind of techno-Communist newspeak we see everything culminated into a Participation Rank or “PartiRank” for short. Much like the movie Office Space with its optional-but-not-optional “flair”, Mae finds out that although her participation is to be voluntary…it’s also required.
Our new masters love the art of passive-aggressive behavior and the book hits the nail on the head in this regard.
After getting acquainted with her basic duties, Mae realizes that she works and lives in what is basically a cultivated and curated theme park. Food, drink, and all the basic necessities are paid for and provided. Concerts, parties, and various other activities are constantly scheduled and meant to keep everyone on campus. The idea is that you’ll be so busy using The Circle’s software technologies along with everything else they’ve provided, so why would you ever want to leave? It’s basically a blending of a work life and a personal life together where the lines are very blurred. The ultimate black mirror. For details on that read my paper Black Mirror.
At several key points in the novel, new technologies are unveiled at big stage performances similar to what Apple puts on for every new device they make or what we see with the Consumer Electronics Show or the Electronic Entertainment Expo for videogames.
One of the devices they unveil are called SeeChange cameras. These small cameras are placed all over the world and they can be freely logged into by anyone to see what they are picking up at any given time.
As the story pushes on these small cameras become a type of pendant that a user can wear around their neck to go “transparent.” First this is pushed on Mae as a way to atone for something she does that gets her into trouble. This makes her a kind of spokesman for the idea of going transparent.
We see this mirrored in our world today with celebrities and athletes being used as the “early adopters” to implant the idea that we should do what our supposed role models do. There’s a reason why they are called stars and idols. Words mean things, folks. I hope you’re paying attention.
Eventually The Circle pressures politicians to go transparent and social media becomes filled with talk that no political meetings should be held behind closed doors. The people have a right to know all and see all. The politicians who won’t go along with the plan are all found to be compromised in some way, typically by authorities being given a tip that they have child pornography on their computer.
After a few examples are made and several others are cowed into it then the real sea change begins to occur with calls for making it mandatory that all politicians must be transparent.
I have to wonder how much of this is playing out today. With deep fake technology and hackers that can get into any computer system how hard is it really, when you stop and think about it, for any government to plant anything they want and then turn around and use it as evidence? And since deep fakes are very realistic that can be used both ways to either condemn or exonerate someone based on the will of the Beast. Who’s to say that alibi video or photo is legit or not? It’s not like the spook investigators will tell you one way or another. Look at how many people still believe the famous “Earthrise” photo is real…and that was a cheesy copy-pasta job that any first grader could do nowadays.
The Circle further flexes its muscles by demonstrating that they can use big data analytics to basically find anyone at any time.
Mae’s ex-boyfriend is used as an example. He is basically a Luddite type of person who mostly shuns technology and prefers to live a simple lifestyle. At one point, after learning that he makes chandeliers out of deer antlers, Mae sics the full force of The Circle’s social media on him, bullying him and pressuring him to stop making the horrible contraptions because they are so offended that he would kill animals just to make a product.
As it turns out, he was harvesting the antlers naturally and not killing the animals to necessarily get the product. Scared out of his wits he decides to move to a reclusive cabin in the woods, pushed even further to the fringes of a society that he no longer feels comfortable with.
When he is tagged as the one to be found, it literally sends people in person to do the sleuthing. I talked about how this guerilla-style approach has already been used to great success in marketing. See The Beast. As people begin to show up at his cabin and peek through windows and bang on the door, he flees in his truck. Undeterred, Mae and the “Circlers” unleash camera equipped drones to follow and track him. Figuring that if they can find him secluded out in the woods, then there would be no place left to hide, he decides to commit suicide by driving off a bridge.
Big Data coupled with Artificial Intelligence. Need I say more? Well, I guess I already have. I dealt with this very subject in my paper about Westworld.
Another bit of tech that the Circle unveils is dubbed “PastPerfect” and is designed to trace a family’s ancestry and heritage back to assess, not only where they came from, but also what the family may have done or been involved with. If something nefarious or taboo is found it could hurt one’s social standing or limit one’s opportunities.
The climax of the book sees the transparent politicians cede even further power to The Circle by making it mandatory that all people have a Circle account to be allowed to vote. This new version of technology infused democracy is dumbed down to “Demoxie.”
As the story goes on, it builds the vision of basically two competing worlds. The one we’ve known, perhaps the simplistic or natural world if you would call it that, and this new world that is characterized by the internet of things and techno-wizardry. Today we see things such as “The Fourth Turning” or a “Great Reset” being bandied about almost daily. It seems very clear that the programming is pointing to the way of life we’ve grown accustomed to in the last one hundred years shifting to something markedly different.
I read the book in 2017, and even within the four years from when the book was written, you could already tell that it was pretty prescient in where the author thought things were going. As I’m writing this in a 2020 post-U.S. selection election environment, the similarities are even more startling.
Let’s go back a bit and look at where we are now.
While we don’t see a real-life version of SeeChange cameras attached to rocks and trees and such, there’s almost no need. Urban city areas are already sprawling with closed-circuit cameras and other security cameras. Street corners, traffic lights, buildings, nothing is off limits. Add in supposed artificial intelligence technology features and now you have active monitoring systems with facial recognition, gait recognition and even eye monitoring capabilities.
We currently see law enforcement officers being required to wear body cameras in many places, but non-uniformed citizens rarely need to worry. We have already all been programmed to equip ourselves with our own personal cameras and take them with us wherever we go. Just in the past couple of years alone there have been several high profile incidents that were heavy politicized and taken in a context of only one source of record. How many times have mainstream media reports been found false after footage from another camera holder is actually shown to the public? And how often do we find the big-tech gatekeepers censoring the footage because it does not go along with the official narrative?
Further, “the internet of things” has now led us to putting cameras on our front doors, in our rooms, monitoring our driveways, etc. It’s a spook’s wet dream. And all they had to do was sell us on the benefits of it and put in on sale for Christmas and the masses gobbled it up. And that’s to say nothing of the built-in eavesdropping bug devices like Alexa and Google Dot.
Add to this the fact that now many children are distance learning from home and using camera equipped computers to interact with their class and teachers. This has already led to incidents such as police being called to a student’s home because the teacher saw a BB gun hanging on the wall in the background and was “alarmed.” I guess “SeeChange” was pretty close. In reality we have “see something, say something.” More of a personal touch, no?
And what about “PastPerfect”?
We’ve had sites such as ancestry.com around for years already having people pay to dig into their genealogies and connect dots. Now they have upped the ante by adding DNA collection into the mix. Similar to the book all it took was a TV show and some high profile celebrities to sell the masses on the benefits of doing so.
There were even a few instances where actors took public “shame” because of the abject horror when it was found that they had an ancestor who owned slaves.
The new craze is to go digging into cold cases and play “find the serial killer” based on genetic genealogical evidence. There was the famous case a couple years ago where they caught the “Golden State Killer” based on DNA profiling. The practice continues. They’ve estimated that at least 80 people have been charged with past crimes based on genetic profiling. Pre-crime wasn’t enough for them, I guess.
This also reminds me of an older movie called Gattaca where everyone in society is scrutinized and categorized based on their genetic makeup. If it’s found that you have some hereditary trait or proclivity for, say heart disease, then you will automatically be rejected for certain jobs or have a lower status in life. That film largely flew under the radar, but when I first watched it I was truly frightened and understood why The Powers That Should Not Be would go in this direction.
The control structure that will be put in place to offer “freedom” will be the most complete totalitarian control system ever devised. Right down to our very DNA.
This current election fiasco is also a part of that incoming system. Like what was depicted in the book, a few days after the election I ran across a headline that said, “2020 was the first-ever presidential election where people cast votes via smartphone.” There is a company called Voatz that is currently pioneering this remote voting software.
We already had social media giant Facebook touting how many people it was helping to register to vote. Regardless of the outcome of who “wins” the race, you can rest assured that measures will be taken to ensure that this doesn’t happen again. It will get support from both wings of the crooked bird we call a two party system.
What will happen if they make getting a driver’s license, passport or some other document to mandatorily come with some new online account? We talk a lot about “the mark” and what it entails all the while missing the forest for the trees. You already can’t buy or sell without using the government’s paper debt note. Try walking into a Walmart and purchasing groceries with a 1/10 oz. gold coin that comes straight from a U.S. mint. See how that works out. We willingly commit fraud with every purchase. Debt—which is what a treasury note or dollar is—can never be used to purchase real property.
Yet here we are.
Our internet of things will eventually all have to be linked to each person’s one centralized account system. Money, voting, even house deeds will all become block-chain ledger systems. Crypto-currency has been used to pave the way for this. They tell us that it is decentralized and private, but in reality it is not—at least not in the ways that matter.
Just like phone calls and credit card purchases, the details are not so important to those doing the snooping; it’s just what they call meta-data that is important. Your card was used at such and such store at such and such time. That puts you there. You made a phone call to so and so because we know your cell phone number and theirs. It doesn’t matter what you talked about, only that you made the connection. Guilty by association. Let alone the fact that they can also use the cell phone towers to triangulate your physical location.
In the same way, block chains can be monitored and meta-data can be mined for information. And even if the “decentralized” cryptos are currently fairly anonymous as they stand, don’t think for a moment that any government-endorsed version will be. Either way it doesn’t matter. All of the “know your customer” laws that banks have to abide by to stop dreaded money laundering are already in place at all major crypto currency exchanges. Mt. Gox and the early truly anonymous exchanges were made examples of long ago with impressive shows of force.
Remember Cash for Clunkers where we were all sold the idea of getting rid of our nasty old cars that were supposedly badly polluting our environment? That was the plan to take the mostly mechanically controlled cars and get them off the road to make way for the new computerized models. Now the majority of vehicles on the road can be tracked and in many cases remotely powered down by technicians miles away. Again, just like in the novel these features and technologies are sold to us as about “safety” and for targeting “bad guys.” We don’t even blink an eye as we give up more and more of our autonomy and freedom for GPS infotainment systems, automatic braking, driver assist steering, adaptive cruise control and velvet chains.
The one thing the novel couldn’t account for was a plan-demic. I guess not enough people were buying into the techno-utopia dream fast enough. Or maybe the baby boomer generation just wasn’t dying at a quick enough rate for TPTSNB and they needed a plan to encourage both.
Like many predicted, as spring was turning to summer, the autumn and winter are proving to cement “the new normal” with second and third wave headlines along with overwhelmed hospitals and up-to-the-minute death tolls.
Every major network TV show that has come back on air now has COVID-related storylines featuring mask-wearing actors. The propaganda is so thick Stalin must be smiling in his grave right now.
Even a casual perusal of commercials will show you that you should be ordering everything you need electronically—trackable—and from big corporate giants like Amazon or Walmart. Heck you can even buy one of those fancy schmancy new cars with all the built in nannies for people who don’t really know or care how to drive and have it delivered right to your door.
Along with the propaganda machine, the big social media giants have seen it fit to crush any and all resistance. Long gone are the days of old, you know, six months ago when one could even casually still find example after example of empty hospitals and rooms full of new and unused ventilators hot off the assembly line. Extinct are the almost daily commentaries of doctors or nurses speaking out against the narrative.
When I finished the book, I couldn’t help but feel a type of yearning. It’s so strange because everything in this world feels out of joint. It seems that humanity wants paradise, wants a true utopia. But they’re not willing to have it on Yahuah’s terms. In a real sense we cannot hide from The Most High. His surveillance program is even more complete than anything a fiction author or TPTSNB can dream up.
In the book, The Circle makes these mantras for everyone to follow. They include “privacy is theft”, “secrets are lies” and “sharing is caring.” In a weird way, we all know that there are things we keep secret or private that are sinful. And who can argue with sharing? That goes along with treating our neighbors as ourselves. But this is an inversion and perversion of how we are supposed to live.
Yahuah wants our hearts to be truly set upon Him and His ways. Not only does he want us to toss out all of the junk and things that we’ve accumulated in our soul, but he wants us to help each other in our burdens. He does not want to compel us either with passive aggressive rhetoric or through naked force. If we make our ways align with His, He deletes all of the footage as it were. It’s only after we have filled our own cup to the brim with disobedience that we finally get the end that we truly deserve.
In the end, what I do know is this: the circle is definitely closing in. And that circle is a noose. The funny thing is, I think it’s merely chafing the skin at this point. Most of us (let’s be honest here) still hold out hope that we can continue this charade of reaping the benefits of all this techno-wizardry and not have to pay the inevitable price.
I’ve been thinking a lot about James 4:4 lately. I believe, like many passages of scripture, we take it far too lightly.
“You adulteresses! Don’t you know that friendship with the world is enmity with Elohim? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of Elohim.”
Maybe the Most High has been giving us signals for quite some time that we’ve become a bit too cozy in Babylon. Perhaps the cup is almost full and the harlot is about to receive a double portion of judgement. The question is, when the time comes will you really want to leave?