Ever hear someone say that they have nothing to hide? Ever discover something about someone that was unfamiliar? Ever see/hear anyone ask for the login information for a website? Ever see anyone write a diary out in the open? Ever see anyone talk to someone on a phone in a quiet place?
I think we’d all like to say that we have nothing to hide, but I also think that, if we were asked to tell everything to any one person – and I mean everything – that there would be… a long……… awkward…………. silence.
Anyways, after listening to TED Radio Hour Podcast episodes “Keeping Secrets” and “Why We Lie”, I was reminded that as much as we might say that we’re open and honest, we’re not. I think that there’s one part of ourselves that we hide from everyone, maybe because we’re afraid to be judged, because we all want to have connections.
In the episode “Keeping Secrets,” Frank Warren collects hundreds – if not thousands – of letters that arrive literally at his footsteps. The idea of writing something kept within, something that is never said aloud, and to send it to another part of the world and to a stranger’s house – it’s terrifying, even if it’s anonymous. Glen Greenwald asked anyone, who says that they have nothing to hide, to email him the password to their emails so that he could look at all of the emails… and he has yet to get a reply.
In the episode “Why We Lie,” Jeff Hancock had a study that suggested that people tend to lie more often over the phone while people tend to lie the least via emails. He and the radio host, Guy Raz, said that maybe it was because emails could be tracked, that if there was a lie, it could be proved in print.
In the show “Person of Interest”, a machine with artificial intelligence has any and all access to technology and the internet in order to be able to identify possible threats big and small. There are episodes in which people’s iPhone are used by the machine to track a target. When finding out about an individual, there is nothing of which cannot be found by the Machine (unless it’s only printed).
Sometimes, what remains hidden is smile and has reason to be joked about. There are some people who, when they’re alone, would dance to their favourite song, beating their pillows to the beat of the drum. There are some people who, when they’re alone, would sit in an odd position to study. There are also some people who could be found wearing two very different fashions, depending on who they’re with or where they are.
To be completely honest is hard, for many reasons. Sometimes, we’re afraid to be judged, to be laughed at, to be taken advantage of. Sometimes, we are fully aware of all the secrets that we have in our heads. Sometimes, our minds have found ways to keep it a secret from our consciousness.
Maybe, as an experiment, take out a bunch 4X6 papers (or just cut out a bunch of papers into 1/4 size). On each, write a secret, something that no one has heard or seen. After that, cut it up and put them together in random order. Be creative. You never know, maybe all those secrets could sum up to something worth showing to the world.