“Nineteen Eighty-Four”, the famous novel by George Orwell, is a distressing, troubling and very interesting example of science–fiction which nowadays can be read as a metaphor of a certain evolution of our modern society.
When it was written, in 1949, it would have been difficult to imagine that 60 years later many details of the plot would have become in a way real, even though, luckily, not the most important elements and Orwell, probably would have not imagined that his tragic “Big Brother” would have inspired a very kitsch format for a TV reality
In our time, which is often accused of excess of individualism, we have become used to many things, which are in conflict with the principle of individualism, but one of human features is really being flexible and adapting itself to all what happens gradually until considering it completely normal, while it would not have been the same if the change had been sudden.
presence in our towns, we nearly don’t notice them anymore and, since we don’t think of them, they don’t affect our daily life.
But if we take a little time to think over, maybe a creepy feeling of
discomfort can be perceived when we oblige ourselves to realize that during our daily life we are filmed several times and theoretically nearly all what we banally do in the streets is recorded, even though for a short time.
It’s difficult to have a precise idea, since there is not any need of special permission for installing security cameras, but it seems that in Great Brittany there are more than four millions of them, one for 14 inhabitants and Italy is at the second place for the number of security cameras in Europe, with one for 35 inhabitants.
I know, we might reply that it’s not a problem at all, because we have nothing to hide if we behave legally and properly and then all the recorded images are deleted usually after 24 hours and so on and this way we have a higher level of protection against crime and so on, so on. It’s all absolutely right.
Then if people are asked if they prefer either freedom or security, they might answer that freedom is more important theoretically, but security is fundamental in daily life.
It comes to my mind one of my favourite quotes of Bertolt Brecht from his “Life of Galileo”:
Andrea: Unhappy is the land that breeds no hero.
Galileo: No, Andrea: Unhappy is the land that needs a hero.
And paraphrasing it I feel like saying:
“Unhappy is the land that needs security cameras to feel safe.”