Our privacy is becoming non-existent in this world. Once a thought or a feeling leaves our brain, it becomes open to public scrutiny. Whether it is a comment made on social media, a document stored on a device or a picture taken, nothing is truly “private” anymore, and nothing is safe from the judgment and opinions of others.
A subject is broached online, from the raising of children to the governing of the country, and suddenly everyone has an opinion. Never mind they have not experienced parenting, or ever voted in their life. As I become older, I become more outwardly innocuous and more inwardly rebellious and opinionated. I don’t remember needing to struggle with this dichotomy when I was younger.
The people in my earlier life who knew me, knew me.
I was “ like an open book”, and spoke and acted in accordance with what I believed and felt and understood. Others might agree or disagree, but that was alright and we moved on. As the decades have passed by, I have sensed a subtle shift in our “freedom of speech” in Canada. It seems the more we proclaim tolerance and attempt to educate acceptance of all by all, the less we really tolerate as a society. I have observed a stifling attitude online where the majority, or at least those with the loudest voices, rule and enforce conformity to one opinion on a subject, as a sort of mass “cyber-bullying” so to speak.
So today you must know me for a long time, and well, before you will truly know who I am. I hesitate to write down or say what I really think and feel. It is too polarizing, too open to critique, perhaps not quite politically correct enough for today. Too many people are going to see those inner workings of my mind I admit I am afraid to be transparent. Afraid of social censure, of ridicule, even physical harm if my thoughts deviate from what appears to be the norm. What I am thinking may not conform to the publicly declared mass opinion of what is the correct thought.
If what I think does happen to be politically correct today, that may not hold true for tomorrow, since the definition of political correctness is always changing.
Is this part of my experience of aging? Are the ingrained thoughts and habits of over fifty years etched on an immutable tract in my brain? This lack of privacy of thought in public conversations seems to sit more easily on the younger generation who do not complain about it the way we older ones do, but instead seem content with the status quo.
Does everyone start to notice this mismatch between their inner and outer worlds? If so, how has our existence become thus? Or has it always been this way? Or is it just my existence? The times are such now that I hesitate to post even this…..perhaps I should delete it, as I have so many other posts, since it might raise ire, be flagged, be judged, be labeled, etc. How do I dare question the way things are? Of course Canada must now operate this way, since a few bad apples have spoiled the freedom, the trust, the honor between people and organizations that I remember.
In these uncertain times, there is, from necessity, a close watchfulness and examination of all that happens in our lives in order to prevent public harm. Our work, health, business transactions, family life, property and travel are all scrutinized. Nothing is now truly our own, exempt from the eyes of others, except for our thoughts.
Our thoughts are, for the moment, inviolate.
I am certain, however, that this is only because there is not a readily available, mass produced method to detect them. If, (and I fear when), this detection becomes available, I am sure our thoughts will be searched and that walking though an airport will involve a thought scan the way a body scan is currently employed. Our minds will be examined for any contraband idea or an original spark that could ignite a social revolution. I hope during the remainder of my life I can keep at least my beliefs, values and thoughts private and share only what I choose to of them. For there really is nothing else that is truly mine alone.