Why a secretive society is an unhealthy, unhappy and dishonest society
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We learn early on in our lives that there are some things that it is proper to keep hidden, not to talk about to our families and friends; to anyone.
Thus we learn early on in our lives to keep secrets and tell lies; we are given a primer in dishonesty.
In fact the only person we may tell is a therapist or psychiatrist later on in our life because keeping these secrets has caused us so much unhappiness.
But do we really need therapists to unburden ourselves of these secrets we keep locked up?
What if we had never been taught to hide away our improper thoughts from our families and society, then everything would have been out in the open and all our problems resolved when we were children; just talking openly to each other would have cleared everything up so there would be no need for the “deep clean” of psychoanalysis.
And sex is only the first thing we learn to keep hidden; there are a whole lot of other feelings of unhappiness that we do not talk about which, because we have created this box of secrets to put our sexual feelings in we can hide everything else in as well.
So we end up with a society filled with people going about with lots of secret feelings about themselves and each other that they will not tell even those closest to them but will only tell therapists; a society where we are constantly being secretive and dishonest.
Is it any wonder then, that in such a society, those who find themselves in a position of power behave dishonestly and corruptly when they live in a society where a certain level of dishonesty is already socially acceptable?
But what if we made it a taboo instead to make someone feel ashamed of speaking honestly; what if we got rid of shame and recrimination and said, “A child can say anything, ANYTHING to their parents ; talk about anything and never have to bottle it up well into their adulthood so that it can fester until they have to go to a therapist to deal with it”.
Of course this would be uncomfortable at first, but let me ask you, if taboo and secrecy are healthy then why do we need therapists? They simply deal with the damage caused by the secrets we keep so keeping those secrets can’t be healthy.
Today there are things I cannot talk about with my mother and father and things they would not talk about with me. They are adults; I am an adult and yet there are things we cannot discuss.
But that can’t be right, surely? Surely they are the VERY people with whom I should be able to discuss anything; the people who have known me since birth, the people who love me the most and who are closest to me. Is it really natural that, instead, I should go to a therapist; a stranger and tell them how I feel? Is that really the healthy way?
And when I see politicians and advertisers on TV, I know of course that they are, to some degree, lying to me but why shouldn’t they lie to me when we’re all lying to each other; we are all saying things like “I’m fine” when really we mean, “I’m not fine but it’s just a problem I can’t talk to you about”.
Does this mean that we have to be brutally honest with each other? No, because why do we have to be brutal at all? If a woman asks a man, “Do I look fat?”, why can’t he say, “Yes but your still beautiful and I love you anyway” and wouldn’t she rather that he said this than, “No you’re not fat”.
Furthermore, how many infidelities would occur, if men and women could say, without fear, to their partners, “I have unfaithful feelings and thoughts”.
If they could say that to each other and talk about it before they actually commit an infidelity then perhaps they could resolve the issue.
In fact perhaps, whenever a man feels like cheating on his partner, he should tell his partner, “I keep having lustful thoughts about other women” and then they can work it out.
But why do we keep all these secrets? For the same reason we hide our wrinkles and our blemishes. I think we keep them because of social competition. People are taught, “Don’t reveal your weaknesses”, “Don’t let people know you have problems” and as a result we hide them in spite of the fact that EVERYONE has problems and weaknesses, we participate in a crazy farce that ultimately makes society weaker; we suck in our psychic gut rather than letting it just hang out and thus, rather than dealing with problems, they just get swept under the carpet.
Also: Mothers, I would urge you to buy your sons a “Do not disturb” sign to hang upon their bedroom door, so that rather than “keep secrets” they can just “have privacy” which is a very different thing.
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While I agree with your
While I agree with your assertion that openness is a positive thing, you have to remember that 'the family' is often the root cause of many people's problems. Confiding in one's parents is not always possible and many children have no one they can talk to at all.
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While I did enjoy this - I
While I did enjoy this - I was attracted by the title - I was hoping for something more pollemical - like the the fact that the UK has no official register of the real owners of it's companies and that its offshore holdings thrive on secrecy that enable corporations to defraud us all - I'm sure that there's a link to be made to the family there. I did enjoy the piece though.
Thanks for reading. I am grateful for your time.
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