THE THIRD EYE


Technology has done wonders like never before; it has been helpful as well destructive for the humans over the centuries. In the process of evolution and evolving technological innovations humans have invented a third eye, and it became part of our lives in the year 1816 when Nicephor Niepce developed the photograph/image with his camera. Camera has become part of our life and understanding from the early 1900. Today our perception and perspective is molded day-in and day-out with the help of the third eye (The Camera). Today we see the world through it, we understand, empathies, sympathies, get emotional; and get annoyed at events that we seen on various media sites and other social networking sites that we use. In fact what we know of our surroundings is through the camera. We started to believe more in what we see through the third eye/camera than our own eyes. People stage activities and other events to fool people around the world with the help of camera. We become active participants when something is reveled through the camera, but on the other handwe become inactive, passive, and incapable of doing anything, when our own eyes are part of an incident/event.

The statement ‘Seeing is Believing’ holds true for majority of people around the world, especially when it is through various mediums. Over the years the third eye/camera has also undergone changes from visible to invisible with the help of modern technology. The visible and unseen has been shaping and reshaping our institutional and societal functions at large in various aspects from the time it has been introduced (Camera). The technology that we have developed today, made certain things possible, as we have access to observe and understand many aspects of our society, culture, lifestyle and various other elements without our physical presence (CCTV footages). With the help of the camera, we are witnessing various activities like the good, bad and ugly aspects that were hidden, or many a times would have gone unnoticed.  In many cases the Big Brother is able to watch the entire world siting at one place with the help of the third eye (CCTV/Satellite images). Is the fear of unknown and surveillance making people behave themselves or not is subjective matter, according to R K Ragavan former CBI Director and  statistics from National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) it has not yielded any good results?  Even when the Banks, ATMs, corporate organizations and other institutions are secured by the personal and other surveillance robbery and crimes are committed in broad daylight. According to Stuart Waiton “cameras are often impractical and limited at doing what they are supposed to do – reduce crime and the fear of it, and to catch criminals”. The camera has not deterred the criminals so far as crime is concerned rather it is the opposite. In order to infuse faith in the governance and institutions the state has increased the surveillance at public places and other areas. Considering the positive and negative points, one would see more negative aspects; as the common people have lost free places that were generally out from surveillance. Minton argues that “There has been a corrosion of a public ethos within much of the urban regeneration of recent years – something that has resulted in the ‘death’ of the city as a living public sphere (Minton 2009).

Today camera is been extensively used by individuals, media houses and those with the vested interests. Camera combined with the internet became part of our mobile phones with the help of technological advancements and its integration, this integration of technology is making everyone experience and live the hell and heaven at the same time. “The academic literature within surveillance studies, whilst raising an array of useful insights about technology, modernity, consumer society and governance, appeared to either lack a sense of agency or to give too great a sense of a domineering Big Brother, to explain why cameras and surveillance had become so significant” (Waiton 2010). One can always argue that the growing threats and insecurities as one of the reason for over surveillance that is making people to accept being watched.

1.The Mobile phone camera
At a another level the camera has become an instrumental tool in exposing the dirt to an extent that is often invisible to our naked eye; it has exposed the dirt with regard to media, politics, god men, religion, crime and various other events that are part of our society, and that often go unnoticed. Mobile phones and CCTV are playing a vital role in exposing the reality like never before giving certain advantage to the common man on issues like corruption and crime.  The integration of technology has turned out to be boon and bane at the same time. Today apart from the million eyes that are watching us, we have added equal number of eyes in the form of mobile phone cameras and CCTV. Individuals have become vulnerable and empowered with the introduction of mobile camera; Ordinary citizens are becoming reporters and are contributing in the News production and information, on the other hand they themselves are becoming the subjects for others. The media houses are increasingly adapting to crowd sourcing method for News and other information. Media web sites and television channels are encouraging the common man to contribute to the News, during emergencies and other national disasters. People are requested to post or upload videos that are useful for the general public. We see a lot of News both audio/video and text contributed by the people in the media web sites like CNN, BBC,NDTV and many other international and national media agencies. The common man with the help of the third eye/camera is able to expose the crimes, incidents, events, corruption and other with this powerful instrument.

2.The Role of CCTV
With the increasing crime rate in many parts of the world people are taking help of the CCTV. Today we see all the government, private institutions including the individual and public property, heavily guarded with the help of the third eye/cameras.  Though the crime rate has not decreased with the CCTV introduction, most of the criminals are been caught with the help of the CCTV footages. The police and investigative agencies are able to piece together the crime scene with the help of the CCTV. We are able to do justice to the victims and send the criminals behind the bars with the help of the CCTV footages, also we are able to see how the crime has taken place with the help of the third eye/camera that is recording the moves of every individual at Air ports, railway stations, bus terminals, banks, and ATM’s including all the public and private places. It is the third eye that is preventing criminals to be on a back foot in certain instances. But one has to understand that he/she is under constant gaze of the third eye, and it is impossible to escape its gaze in the present settings.

What we see in media and other information sites is what our perception about our society. We spend a lot of time decoding and coding what is shown to us with the help of communication tools like television and various other mediums of communication. We believe in media more than our own eyes; people have positive inclination and respect to certain media houses for their ethics and unbiased objective reporting. People who exposed the dirt and corruption involving the politicians and the government with the help of (hidden cameras) have themselves became victims. It is not just the media that got exposed; many institutions around the world are being exposed with the help of third eye. The gullible nature of people is taken advantage by many God men in our country. The third eye exposed many fake God men in compromising positions and indulging in anti-social activities. ‘No one is a thief until there are caught’ this holds true to all the fake God men, politicians and many individuals in prominent positions. It is not the omnipresent God who is watching us but the ‘the third eye/camera is watching everyone’ and no individual can escape the gaze of this powerful eye.

There is no doubt that camera has been instrumental in avoiding and altering various evils that existed in our society. On the other hand the ordinary folk often become prey to this powerful instrument; the internet is filled with content that is extensively recorded with the help of the mobile camera. The invisibility of the third eye combined with the hidden motives of people; make young teens and college girls including house wives and working women vulnerable and victims to this powerful instrument. The third eye is been abused like never before if one analyses the content on the internet and social networking sites. Millions of ordinary men and women lives are at stake for the activities that they do willingly or unwillingly get exposed for the rest of the world. The third eye is highly appreciated when it expose the dirt and evils in our society, especially with regard to corruption, politics, culture, fake God men, illegal practices, abuse at working places etc. butat the same time it is also highly criticized for the unethical use by state, organizations and few individuals. Can we escape the gaze of the third eye? Are there any options? May be yes, one should be alert and careful with their surroundings, irrespective of the place, one should not forget that we are been constantly watched, not only by the people, but also by the invisible third eye/camera.

References
  • A. Minton. Ground Control: Fear and Happiness in the Twenty-First Century City. London: Penguin, 2009.
  • S. Waiton (2010). The Politics of Surveillance: Big Brother on Prozac. Surveillance & Society, 8(1): pp.61-84.
  • R.K. Ragavan (2015). “A Violent India: NCRB Data Shows Crime on the Rise” https://www.thequint.com/india/2015/08/25/crime-data-suggests-india-is-becoming-more-violent-by-the-day

About the author: Dr. A. Nagraj is serving as Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication, English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad. Previously he served as Assistant Professor in the department of Mass Communication and Journalism, Tezpur University, Assam. His articles are published in daily newspapers and magazines. He is a regular contributor of Dimorian Review also. A good number of his research articles have been published in national and international research journals. He has participated and presented a good number of research papers in various national as well as international seminars. He is also associated with various scientific associations/ bodies.

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