What are some quotes that sum up the loss of privacy and ability to express your individualism in the Circle by dave eggers?

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Well, first, please realize that you have summed up two of the most important themes in the story by mentioning "loss of privacy" and "ability to express individualism."  As a result, there are quite a few quotes that prove these themes to be avidly important.  The irony of this book is that most quotes involve both themes in a muted way.  However, there are a few that can point to the specific themes you mention.  Let's take a look at them.

Most people would trade everything they know, everyone they know- they'd trade it all to know they've been seen, and acknowledged, that they might even be remembered. We all know the world is too big for us to be significant. So all we have is the hope of being seen, or heard, even for a moment.

This quotation has everything to do with the theme of the "ability to express individualism" or, more appropriately, the LACK OF that ability.  It is this individualism that will allow us, as the author says here, "to be remembered" and "to be significant."  Unfortunately, says the author, we have reverted to revealing everything about everyone to everybody in order to have some minute detail be remembered.  As a result, we have forgotten how to live and, in our effort to express individualism, we have LOST our individualism.

I will go ahead and admit that it's easier to find the thematic concept of "loss of privacy" in the book.  There are simply more examples.

I mean, all this stuff you're involved in, it's all gossip. It's people talking about each other behind their backs. That's the vast majority of this social media, all these reviews, all these comments. Your tools have elevated gossip, hearsay and conjecture to the level of valid, mainstream communication.

If all of this is gossip and everyone knows everything, then there is NO privacy at all.  Everything is revealed and everyone feels free to talk about everyone else.  There simply isn't any privacy involved.  Think of it this way, there is a certain (what I would call) private joy of physical intimacy between husband and wife.  That should REMAIN A MYSTERY to everyone but that couple.  We have taken away these mysteries by our extreme social media.  Privacy is important.  Social media exploits that privacy.

And it’s eliminated my ability to just talk to you. ... I mean, I can’t send you emails, because you immediately forward them to someone else. I can’t send you a photo, because you post it on your own profile. And meanwhile, your company is scanning all of our messages for information they can monetize. Don’t you think this is insane?

Again, a complete lack of privacy.  If an email is immediately forwarded to someone else, then that is no longer private.  It is the same with photography.  Once the photo is shared with another, and that person posts it on their profile, ... ANYONE can see it and copy it and post it as well. 

And, yet, I think one of the most important quotes of the book doesn't really have to do with either theme you mention.  It has to do with the theme of "the unknown."  I say continually that we HAVE to be okay with NOT knowing (especially in regards to religion).  That is where faith comes in!

ALL THAT HAPPENS MUST BE KNOWN. ... We are not meant to know everything, Mae. Did you ever think that perhaps our minds are delicately calibrated between the known and the unknown? That our souls need the mysteries of night and the clarity of day?

In conclusion, let me say kudos to "the mysteries of night"!  Kudos to those who are okay with "not knowing."  Kudos to those who avoid Facebook and Twitter for the most part and even flee from media in general.  You know who just announced he does this?  POPE FRANCIS.  Makes one think.

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