In the late 18th century, the English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham designed a type of institutional building and a system of control. He called it The Panopticon.
The design was supposed to be for a prison. It would allow all inmates of an institution to be observed by a single watchman without the inmates being able to tell whether or not they are being watched. The word reflected the design – Pan – meaning ‘all-inclusive’ and ‘opticon’ meaning observation.
What would have Bentham have made of the UK today? For we now live in a virtual Panopticon.
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