Is It Okay To Have Secrets? - Ecotrain's Question of the Week

Happy New Year Everyone! I almost missed this week's question by EcoTrain regarding secrets. The question is phrased exactly: It's a secret, but is it good to have secrets? Well, my innitial instinctive response would be: I ain't telling, since it wouldn't be a secret any longer, but that would make it way too simple. As always, the question is quite a composite one, which needs a bit of deliberation.

Depending on the Secret

Okay, so let's start as close to home as possible, with the pettiest kinds of secret that wouldn't make much of a difference if you told them. Like setting the thermostat just one degree lower, because I think it's too hot, but don't feel like subjecting myself to pointless arguments with those who think it's cold. Or the fact that I take another cookie when no one's looking, after I'd already declared the previous one was gonna be my last one, simply because I don't want to argue about the amount of cookies I consume.

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Compared to these banalities, having a secret lover or a not telling anyone how I've been simply wasting my days in the city after losing my job, are more serious offenses. Of course I still need to add who I'm keeping the secret from. Because assuming that I don't share my life with a partner, all these things would be my own business, and nobody else's. This also brings me to the second criteria, the target or recipient of a secret.

Depending on the Target

It is certainly not the same who the person is I am keeping a secret from. On one extreme would be my wife, meaning the person with whom we agreed to share our live with. In this case, I would say ideally we should not have any secrets whatsoever, including about cookies or thermostats.

On the other extreme, even past the complete stranger with whom I don't even want to share the least bit of info, I would put faceless entities, such as governments or corporations. It's quite ironic actually, that the unknown strangers out there probably couldn't care less about my info, unlike governments and corporations, who seem to have an unsatible appetite for my personal info. And it is precisely for this reason that I don't really care that Joe Unknown finds out what I did last Summer, but I am a bit concerned if my search engine knows where I bought some product... And don't let me get into what I like to share with my friendly government agents!

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Personal Privacy or Something to Hide

What if we could not have any secrets? Personally, I am not so much bothered by glass walls. Sure, let me put all my cards on the table, and bring everything out in the open. Just don't judge me! and that's the important part. Over the years I have discovered that by being honest about yourself towards others, you ultimately will have to be honest to yourself, which ultimately is a great practice, making me feel much more comfortable than living in denial or hiding.

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The part about the judgement, however, is my only concern. And given the current tendencies, I think this concern is not completely uncalled for. So yes, until this bit of issue is taken care of (and we're definitely on the right way, though we've still got a long way to go), I'll be keeping my own little secrets.

Secrets as Part of Individuality

For some reason, thinking about this question reminded me of soap bubbles in water. Each bubble is an individual, clearly defined and separated from all the other bubbles. Once you break down this barrier, two or more bubbles can be combined into one big one... until all you have is one homogeneous layer of soap on top of the water. I think that's what taking our ability of having secrets would do to us. We'd become one with each other, and lose our individual self.

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It is my belief that this homogeneity is what we're headed for anyway... eventually, once we die and the rest of the world too. And yes, once all the bubbles have been unified, another agitation will most likely stir everything up again, and we'll be back to a great diversity of individuals again, as all things repeat themselves. But until then... let's appreciate our uniqueness, our individuality, and our diversity. And yes, part of all this is our ability to have our own little secrets.

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