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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Privacy and Secrecy

Privacy and secrecy are in the news a lot lately, and it has me wondering: Is there a difference between privacy and secrecy?

Privacy is defined at as:  the quality or state of being apart from company or observation, freedom from unauthorized intrusion, a place of seclusion, secrecy. 

Secrecy is: the condition of being hidden or concealed, the habit or practice of keeping or maintaining privacy or concealment

Notice how each is used to define the other, yet they are different.

Assuming the opposite of private is public, and the opposite of secrecy is transparency, I think most people when asked will insist on private secrecy while usually demanding some measure of public transparency.  However we seem to live in a world where private lives are made more and more  transparent, most of the time voluntarily, ie every time we post on Facebook, not to mention "reality" TV.  While public institutions (all of them not just government) are becoming less and less transparent, ie countless layers of bureaucracy, out-sourcing, and obsession with security.

Now what does all of this have to do with our spirituality or faith?  Maybe the tension between these dynamics permeates our lives because we live in a time when the commonly accepted, and quite modern, illusions of public and private are being challenged and renegotiated.

I use "illusions" because the great enlightened teachers of most spiritual and faith traditions have taught that the private and public are not separate but always interconnected and interdependent.  One place where this relationship between private and public is taught are the teachings of Jesus in The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5-7) .  Here Jesus shows us numerous connections between our inner and outer lives.

Take a few minutes and read the entire Sermon on the Mount and see if you make the connections as well.  FYI - when you use the link make sure you click through to chapters 6 and 7.

It's no secret - our inner and outer lives are connected in ways we are yet to imagine.



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