A friend of mine loves to write but she has stopped turning to words as a means of processing her experiences and thoughts. She is concerned that someone will find her writing and be hurt by her words; that someone will take her “at the moment” thoughts and perceive or read them incorrectly.
Curiosity is an interesting thing. Humans have the unquenchable desire to know, to find out, to discover information especially when it is something they believe to be private or a secret.
When I was in college, I wrote a letter to a friend which contained something not so bad but not so nice about my roommate’s boyfriend. I left the letter on my bed in my room where the boyfriend found and read it. He was, as one can imagine, upset. Our relationship was never quite the same.
I was a bit upset as well. This was my room. He read a letter that clearly was addressed to someone else. When I related the story to a friend she empathized and passed down some wisdom from her grandmother: “Never write anything you don’t want published.”
I took it to heart. Things I want to remain private, well, they are rarely written. There is always that chance that someone will find the information, usually by no fault of their own.
I believe in privacy for many reasons, the primary being that I think people need an outlet. People need a forum through which they can get things out and come to terms with the ideas and thoughts and emotions that they are experiencing without fear of the perceptions or judgments of others. Interestingly, people use the forum and yet, when it is found, those feelings and thoughts are often taken out of context, perceived incorrectly, and judgment is passed.
A letter, a journal, personal doodling, a logged in e-mail account, an unfamiliar mobile phone… how many of us will turn our heads and walk by?
People, more often than not, can not let the opportunity to read or discover the secrets of others pass. We don’t just walk by or turn our heads. We stop and investigate. Curiosity gets the best of us. We often don’t realize that we could easily walk by and ask about our observation later demonstrating our respect for the other’s privacy and yet our interest.
We often don’t stop to recognize that once we delve into the privacy of others, we then have to reconcile ourselves to the information that we discover. Information that may be different than it appears. Once we read or discover or delve into the secrets of another, we can not turn back the time and have things remain as they were.