A world in which every surface is occupied by a seamless camera and every human individual is plugged permanently into the camera, receiving a constant stream of images through a surgically applied eye visor.
Each individual receives the same images, which are transmitted randomly, and remains constantly aware that any point an image of themselves may be beamed across the network (‘Super-Pan’), which is viewed perpetually by every other individual on the planet .
The individual is powerless to break the one and only law that guides the Super-Panoptic society – a rule punishable by social ostracization, a removal from the system, and an effective ceasing of their existence.
Rule 1, the only rule, is that ‘Thou shalt not remove your visor’.
The individual becomes thus a mere instrument of surveillance in a society who’s only purpose is surveillance. 1
M.R.Watson. Rights Reserved. 2007.
The system is self maintained as in a society where absolute surveillance is a reality, life outside that which is monitored appears to be a form of non-existence – mortality. Therefore any transcendence of the surveillance system is avoided at all costs. Whether or not anyone is controlling the system is superfluous to the point, as the system could just as easily be self perpetuating without an independent monitor. The advance of surveillance beckons its eventual ubiquity in this way: In a completely advanced surveillance society there can be no escape even for those who developed the technology in order to initially further their own interests.
In this sense the advance of history through all of its guises may be seen not as one leading to ever greater dominance of more and more persons by fewer and fewer barons. It may rather be seen as the gradual advance of surveillance: From the castle on the hill, to the town hall that employs a small body of local sheriffs to gather information, to an advanced state and police network, supported by the media, to, eventually, the Super-Pan.