Secrecy vs. Privacy

Our society is quite backwards in terms of our behaviour. We claim we want privacy and fight for that very right, however we live in a world where modern culture allows us to expose every moment of our day through online forums and social media.

Despite these facts, humans are still quite adamant when it comes to their privacy. But at what point does privacy cross that invisible line into secrecy? What’s the difference?

Privacy is generally defined as “the state or condition of being free from being observed or disturbed by other people” or “the state of being free from public attention.” Once again, this is a bit of a misnomer, considering how the average person lives in today’s day and age.

Secrecy is defined as “the action of keeping something secret or the state of being kept secret.” In layman’s terms, secrecy requires one to keep something from others. It’s not always a bad thing, but it does require something being held back.

Privacy generally requires being left alone. Secrecy generally requires intentionally keeping something from others. The question I pose to you, dear readers, is where does the line exist and is one inherently worse than the other?

I’ve seen the above-posted meme a number of times and it always gives me a chuckle. Cell phones have become the carriers of our private lives and we tend to guard them closely. Cell phones are likely the best example that I can think of, because most people would agree that their phone is “private”, but the level of protection people use for their phones tend to suggest it errs closer on the secrecy side.

The line is extremely blurred and some would believe that one is needed in order to achieve the other. This makes sense. In order to maintain privacy, some secrecy will inherently be used and vice versa.

The problem comes when one uses that secrecy in such a way that it brings harm to others. And if privacy is used in such a way that it keeps you from the surrounding world, this can be detrimental as well. Although choice of lifestyle is ultimately each person’s individual choice, it’s important to consider those who are closest to us. ☯

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Published by

Shawn

I am a practitioner of the martial arts and student of the Buddhist faith. I have been a Type 1 Diabetic since I was 4 years old and have been fighting the uphill battle it includes ever since. I enjoy fitness and health and looking for new ways to improve both, as well as examining the many questions of life. Although I have no formal medical training, I have amassed a wealth of knowledge regarding health, Diabetes, martial arts as well as Buddhism and philosophy. My goal is to share this information with the world, and perhaps provide some sarcastic humour along the way. Welcome!

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