In a previous post, I spoke about the nature of the term “right” and why it isn’t the appropriate word for conveying our freedoms and responsibilities we innately believe others should respect. In this post, I continue with that in mind, arguing in favor of privacy but without following the misguided cultural trend of using the word “right”. I begin by listing three types of reasons for privacy, one per section, and conclude with an argument based on my aforementioned article.
Table of Contents
- The Religious Reason – Privacy Stemming from Being a Gift
- The Social Reason – Society and Privacy
- The Personality Reason – Psychological Requirement
- The Right, or Loving, Response – Endowing Privacy
Each section is rather short and should serve to stimulate ideas rather than be a comprehensive proof of the need for privacy.
Privacy Stemming from Being a Gift
Privacy is an inherent desire of people. This desire stems from the inner being of man himself/herself, seeing himself/herself as a gift, as the late St. Pope John Paul II stated. As gifts, we are to maintain our dignity and the dignity of others by protecting those intimate aspects of ourselves, physical, psychological, and spiritual. This can only be done at minimum with a certain degree of privacy in various areas. Included among these areas which are or will be in the future accessible to technology are the mind and the body of the human. (I consider all kinds of invasive technological measures, such as mind-reading/controlling devices, see-through glasses/cameras, hidden cameras in private rooms, and various methods of privacy invasion better left not described.)
Society, as it is, does need some protection, but no method I have listed or considered as unacceptable could be of any more benefit to society than other methods of observation by law enforcement.
(I have considered the degree of exposure of the human body considered not “private”, and while the face at the very least may be argued as public, everything else is highly debatable, even the hands, but I will not endeavor to explore this issue deeper. I leave all this for you to contemplate.)
Society and Privacy
Every person wants to fit in to society, but every person wants to maintain some degree of uniqueness. This varies from person to person. These two desires tend to oppose each other depending on the methods one chooses to implement in fulfilling them. For introverted people who are more strongly aware of their uniqueness, this desire to be unique is one of the factors contributing to their desire for privacy. If all about a person is exposed, they can be more easily compared with anyone else and dismissed as being “normal” or not unique.
In any case, this uniqueness of the individual allows them to offer something to their family, friends, and loved ones by maintaining that aura of mystery only uncloaked at the appropriate times and with the most worthy individuals.
Another reason for privacy is the lack of trust. This reason is eliminated in heaven, but we’re here on a planet full of critics, teasers, trolls, and an untold number of people looking for something sensitive they can insult, regardless of their reasons for doing so. Privacy protects individuals from harm, both physical and psychological. For example, the privacy of a house protects an individual to some degree from a scheming individual who needs to know the layout of the interior to ensure the successful execution of his malevolent plan.
Everyone who is an introvert understands their own personal desire for privacy and would be unwilling to relinquish it if asked to do so. Privacy for the introvert, as well as for other types who understand themselves, allows for the stimulation and growth of the mind. For example, the child who plays alone exercises his imagination, uninterrupted and therefore unimpeded by the flow of daily life outside of him. Some individuals are able to compensate for this interruption, but for others, it is detrimental to the development and exercising of their abilities. A vivid dream frequently paused because of ruckus or background commotion becomes an unfinished dream, and may never sprout into a creative solution to a real world problem. Lack of dreams lead to lack of aspiration, lack of character, and lack of interest in challenges those dreams might of encouraged overcoming.
Furthermore, repeated invasions of privacy decrease happiness – because the person wants to be left alone and is unhappy when not – and therefore decreases productivity, mental development and, consequently, the chances of success in an increasingly challenging business world.
Privacy is also necessary for the correction of emotions, the sorting of one’s thoughts, and the calming and training of the mind. In privacy, one can reflect on the ideas of the present, have time to recuperate from sad or tragic events, pray and meditate, and practice focusing and directing one’s thoughts onto positive, life-changing ideas and attitudes. All this leads to peace of mind and the contentment of the individual.
Finally, invasion of privacy, particularly for introverts, leads to lack of energy, particularly psychological energy, due to an ever constant awareness of the outside world as well as the one within. In the end, they become privacy advocates instead of scientists, inventors, and people that a progressive society should have.
Because privacy is a need spiritually, socially, physically, and psychologically, we can only act in a loving/honorable/charitable manner towards other human beings if we respect this privacy and ensure it is not invaded except for reasons that everyone can see would be necessary. For if we care for our fellow man, then we desire what is best for him, and if privacy benefits him, then he ought to have privacy. I would say, “Be courteous”, but it seems many people have long forgotten what that word entails and to what extent, if they even remember the word to begin with.
The invasion or intrusion of privacy can be done to an understandable measure by parents, especially in the early ages of a child, while still being within the boundaries of loving kindness. The parents care for the child, and must invade or interrupt privacy for the protection, growth, and development of their child. Even with these permissions, they are not always entitled to invade such privacy at whim, especially the more sensitive areas of privacy, without the utmost respect for the individual.
Society ought to honor privacy, not simply by making anonymity possible, but by doing the most to protect any exposed information as confidential between two parties.
In this era, it has become much easier to give out information, even accidentally, without recompense, without protection, without any feasible way to correct it. It has also become easier to steal, making identity theft and intrusive government surveillance scary realities. For the preservation of society, its sanity, and the greater progress of mankind, it is necessary that these issues be resolved and that privacy be respected in all of the respects I have mentioned – spiritual, social, physical, and psychological. If that is the case, it bring us back to life at ease and make the hectic world a much more bearable place.