The Central Idea, The Central Tower


The laws and norms that govern societies are constructed by a few and maintained by many, though the ease of their maintenance is dependent on public opinion of them. Should a law be considered unfair, it will never become a norm and therefore necessitate constant force to be upheld. When people are convinced that rules or laws are in their best interest, however, manipulation rather than force takes the lead in the process of maintaining them. Through processes such as constant observation and effective labeling, those who establish regulations can ensure those people meant to be controlled by them are aware of the place of the regulations in their lives.

Before I walk into a 7-Eleven convenience store, I read a sign on the door that states: “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service.” That customers should enter a business fully clothed seems like a reasonable demand. Even if I personally believe that the clothes policy is oppressive and I should be able to wear or not wear whatever I want, I should recognize that there are other customers who may not agree with me and failing to meet this demand can make them uncomfortable and likely will end in me being escorted out of the store or arrested. The idea that people should be fully clothed in public is one that is considered common sense, though its labeling as such is what makes the sign effective, not the sign itself.

Upon entering the 7-Eleven, one of the first things to catch my eye is a television screen with live camera footage of me entering the 7-Eleven and looking at myself in the television screen. Now that I know I am being watched, I’m far more likely to adhere to the rules of the store. While I may have previously considered entering the store with shoes and a shirt only to take them off in defiance of the establishment, the fact that I am being watched by cameras makes me second guess myself. It doesn’t matter if the cameras are actually recording. I know that most cameras are set up to record video, therefore I’ll assume that these are recording or that someone in power is watching them, ready to alert the authorities should I begin to untie my shoelaces. My tendency to adhere to rules considered to be “common sense” and the fact that I know someone is monitoring my decision to do so makes the effort of breaking the rules not worth it.

Julian Tineo