I'm in favor of transparency on all levels. The idea is that we should each strive to share as much as we can about who we are and what we do.
But it isn't actually possible to be completely transparent. I can't share with you how I truly feel when I look at sunflowers. I can describe the feeling as best I can, listing words for emotions and physical sensations. But I am limited both by the words I have available, and that perhaps I don't actually perceive how I feel accurately.
But that's deeper than what I'd like to talk about here. What I mean by transparency is the choice we have to share our selves and our actions, or not.
For example, I use drugs. Some of them are illegal where I live. Most people choose not to be open about their illegal drug use, for obvious reasons. However, I have chosen to be transparent in this area of my life. I feel this honesty helps not only my personal well-being, but the well-being of others as well.
It is this choice I am referring to here. I believe the more people who choose to share how they live the better off we will all be. The main reason I choose to speak openly about my use of drugs is that I think they can be used for people's benefit, and I want more people to know about this aspect of drug use.
As another example, let's pretend I have a secret habit that I don't believe to be beneficial for myself or others. Let's say I cut myself when I feel depressed or highly stressed.
I won't tell anyone about this habit, and I'll hide the scars on my body. It's a feeling of shame that goes along with the depressed state of mind, and by cutting myself I'm able to enact punishment for my perceived shameful behavior. On one level the act of cutting itself is a projection of this shame, and by keeping it a secret I'll remind myself what an embarrassing individual I am.
The point I'm trying to get to is that when kept secret, this behavior will perpetuate itself and feed more negative emotions and behaviors. It will continue in the classic 'spiraling' behavior that comes along with a depressive state of mind.
However, if I choose to open up and share with others that I cut myself, I can begin a process of healing. Often this involves finding others who engage in the same behavior. Imagine me finding out somebody I respected also used to cut themselves. They may not have volunteered that information if I hadn't brought it up first. The internet has allowed us to share much more, and to do so anonymously. A person who cuts can find an online forum to hear from others with similar habits.
Being able to share stories about detrimental behavior also gives it normalcy, which helps a person feel less shameful. When we can forgive ourselves we are much less likely to punish ourselves in various ways and keep these cycles going.
Secrets are weakness. If you have something that must remain hidden, you're setting yourself up to be miserable when it's no longer a secret. And in my experience secrets have a way of inevitably materializing themselves.
What's exciting now is that not only are we able to share much more directly through the internet with video and audio, but also that we'll soon likely be forced to. We are entering into an age where we may be recorded almost constantly. Drones are flying through the air with video cameras, and as we know technology doesn't go backwards.
Soon we may find ourselves in a world of transparency whether we like it or not. It's a world I will welcome with open arms, and very few secrets.