Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
As usual, when mankind thinks it has come up with a new, razzle-dazzle invention that can give it nearly God-like powers, when compared with the real powers, it comes up short. Sometimes it comes up destructive. Today’s topic is one of those kinds of comparisons.
Technopticon? This is my idea of an upgrade of the old term, “panopticon”.
Panopticon is a portmanteau of the Greek word “pan,” meaning “all, every, whole, all-inclusive,” and “opticon” refers to “an archaic optical instrument enabling wide views of cities.”
The term was and still is also used in reference to “a type of institutional building [in this case a prison designed like an atrium with the guard tower in the middle] and a system of control designed by the English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the 18th century. The concept of the design is to allow all prisoners of an institution to be observed by a single security guard, without the inmates being able to tell whether they are being watched…although it is physically impossible for the single guard to observe all the inmates’ cells at once, the fact that the inmates cannot know when they are being watched means that they are motivated to act as though they are being watched at all times. Thus, the inmates are effectively compelled to regulate their own behaviour.” [emphasis added] Continue reading at Wikipedia.
In my own combination, a “technopticon,” is a mashup of the word technology and the word opticon, meaning a viewing mechanism or system that is not limited to just one location, but is a means whereby one can “view,” everyone, everywhere–every morning, noon, and night.
One centrally-located viewing system (like the NSA?) monitors all–and some people are even tracked and controlled from the inside (think computer chips and more).
The technopticon thus supersedes the panopticon in three critical ways:
- it is not an external, one-location, viewing system limited to one building or a recording device focused on only a single scene or event, but, thanks to advances in technology, it is
- both an external and an internal tracking system–down to those RFID chips embedded into, well, potentially everything, for observation, tracking, and control, but, of late, it can also be
- an even smaller, nano-sized, device insertable into living beings.
However, and regarding the emphasized portion of the definition of panopticon, the similarity between the two terms is that the mere THOUGHT of such tracking systems can cause people to monitor their own behavior (the better to control them by…). Talk about having your cake, eating it, AND making other people bake it for you!
So, a technopticon would be a surveillance system for the whole planet, inside out, upside down–animal, vegetable, mineral, and people–via technology.
And, if we are to believe the inventors of “smart” technology embedded in every intersection lamp post, utility box, appliance, new apparel (new anything, potentially), and inside living things–not to mention the hacking ability of all things embeddable, if that’s a word–the day must be coming quickly when whatever constitutes the central control switch will be turned on.
But wait! You might say the whole planet could be a prison of sorts with no escape, if whomever is at the controls colludes with the wrong spirit!
And you would be right.
Now to my favorite part of this discussion.
Omniscience: “Infinite knowledge; the quality or attribute of fully knowing all things: an attribute of God.” (Wordnik)
Here is what we know about God’s kind of pan-sight, as it were:
- it knows no limits,
- it encompasses activity in His creation from start to finish, beginning to end (see: prophecy), and
- God’s all-encompassing view awaits neither man nor machine, as He is the One Who created the power to see (both literally and figuratively), created man, and created all the raw materials man needs to build both balm and bomb, but, sadly, so often chooses the latter.
But the best good news is that, although many of man’s machines and machinations benefit the world, you can never really know the motivation, source, purpose, or end game when the dark side steers the gears, but with God, it’s the exact opposite:
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
Variableness and “shadow of turning,” as in no “change, variation, mutation.”
What we see, read, and hear about God and His intent is what we get.
And the best “getting” of all received by those who choose to worship Him* and not the raw materials He provided to make of them what we will (the good, the bad, and the ugly) is this timeless promise, as put in John 3:16:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
In such a time as this, when certain power-mongers would hack their way into the very minds and hearts of others–literally and figuratively–in order to kill, steal, and destroy (motivated by another spirit altogether), fortunately, the Word of God still stands.
*Here is some information on both why and how to receive God’s greatest gift: ABCs of Salvation