Friday, October 28, 2011

Invade At Your Own Risk

Privacy is an interesting security. It is, at once, both personal and public... privacy lies very close to you and what matters, yet it requires participation from others, making it decidedly impersonal.

This dichotomous relationship we have with our own privacy means that it isn't always in our hands. We guard it with the appropriate caution, but it belongs to a collective which we don't control. What is it worth? Have you ever read your neighbor's mail? Or listened in on a conversation, eavesdropped a meeting, facebook-stalked someone?

If our privacy means that we have an unspoken contract with someone, then why should we be surprised when the contract is breached? I've never talked about my privacy boundaries with anyone... and I'm a very private person, so I imagine that a lot of people don't give it the adequate attention. My rules are simple:

  • I don't lie about what is truth. If I did something and you find out about it after the fact, I'll feel bad, but I'm going to tell you the truth, however painful (for both of us).
  • I don't keep things from people to hurt or spite them. If there is something I know, and you don't... know that I've done it for what seems like a good enough reason to me. I value honesty and disclosure, but I'm also a realist. Honesty isn't always the best policy.
  • In spite of my ridiculously stoic value system, I'm not perfect. I succumb to moments of weakness and insecurity like everyone else. I may do or say (or omit) something because the cost of being honest is more than the price of keeping an untruth. I'm sorry, but this is the case. Against all speculation, I am a human, with human shortcomings.

Yet, in spite of the excuses or reasons I mention, I take accusations of deception very seriously. I do not intend to deceive anyone, and actually relish the thought of being brutally and purely honest... it's just that deception sometimes occurs unexpectedly.

I think what I've learned about deception is that if you believe someone is lying to you, whether they are or not, you can find the evidence you need to prove your case in most people's lives. We live on a weakly constructed foundation of loose truths. Believe, and you can prove all your friends are honest; lose faith in someone, and you can probably prove they're lying to you... the only thing that changes is you.

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