The place of secrets in modern society is a genuine article which everyone needs to read.
It was a hot day. The sun was almost at its peak, it rays scotching the vast expanse of land which was covered entirely by sand. The occasional rising of hot winds did nothing to quell the stifling heat and dryness.
Traveling through this desert was a Jew, Abram and his wife Sarai.
They had left their homeland due to a famine and were heading to Egypt.
Just before entering Egypt, a plan of secrecy was hatched; No one was to know that Sarai was Abram’s wife, she was to be introduced as his sister.
Now, Sarai happened to be very pretty and Abram was certain that if the men of Egypt got to know that she was his wife, they would kill him and take her for themselves! Hence, Abram and Sarai entered Egypt as siblings. (Book of Genesis, 1515 B.C.)
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Secrets have always been part of the human nature.
Folklores from ancient history to modern times have been filled with numerous examples of secrecies and deceptions.
With modern man becoming increasingly sophisticated and civil, is there still place for secrets?
Are all forms of deception and secrets bad? Is there room for a healthy amount of vital secrets?
Should you keep secrets?
As humans we naturally conceal certain aspects of our lives from others due to fear of rejection or shame. We are often told, not to wash our dirty linens outside. For example, most people lead double lives. One aspect of their lives is known to the public; a decent, hardworking and respected individual. The other aspect is carefully kept away from prying eyes of the society; usually a bad habit or an addiction. Family problems or disputes are often kept within the family and away from the general public, this is done to give the illusion of a close-knitted, happy and respectable family.
Certain times, secrets are kept to heighten the elements of surprise. For example, during the production of the movie ‘Game of Thrones’, the plots of various episodes were kept secret for over a year, until it became available to the public in cinemas. The directors, producers, actors and extras involved in the project, maintained strict secrecy so as to increase suspense. If everyone knew the plot of the movie or how the movie would end, it would lose its charm and few people would rush to go see the movie when it was finally released.
In the corporate world, secrets are kept to maintain supremacy over rival films and to protect the interest of the organization. For example, the Coca-Cola syrup formula is one of the best guarded trade secrets, which has given the company a competitive edge for years. It is rumoured that, only two persons on earth know the exact formula. Production managers are given the parts or the already completed syrup to mass-produce. Hence, no former employee of the company can produce a drink that taste exactly like Coca-Cola.
In governance, secrecy is often vital and necessary. Classified information is often concealed from other governments and even the public. Hence, the need for a Secret Service. Top level meetings are often held within closed doors, decisions made and actions taken are not publicized, especially, matters of national security or issues involving foreign states. What actually goes on behind those doors and what the general public are allowed to know, are very divergent.
Military operations are also often kept secret until the mission is executed, this ensures success. Covert operations are often planned and executed as top secrets. Information and intelligence are gathered over several years and shared with only a very select few. Deployment of operators is done secretly, usually under a code name or a larger mission is used as a cover, participants are not told the details until they are ready to depart, even their family members are not told where they are headed. For example, the US military operation that terminated Osama Bin Laden in 2011, was kept secret for close to a decade.
Secrets cannot be avoided, there is no human interaction that is completely devoid of secrets. However, it is important to keep secrets in the right perspective and in its proper place; the amount and nature of secrets kept should vary according to the situation and type of relationship involved. Secrets, in the right proportions are essential for human interactions, and would continue to have a place in every society, now and in future.
By Mordecai James