Shame is a useless feeling. It makes you want to kill yourself, but in a way that you premeditate it to make sure you don’t leave a stain. However, even in the most shame-based cultures, there is a streak of rational behavior that can be adhered to and honored.
Recently, my Hummy Singers and I have been dealing with a particular individual’s obsession with image. As much as it is my practice to publicly express the vapid and silly things that this person in question was doing, we did what most couples probably do and had a long philosophical discussion about it.
Upon analyzing the essence of privacy, we have discovered a few truths:
- Privacy is a boundary, though 99% of the time it’s a boundary that is only expressed when crossed. It is technically a form of power, and it is also a form of distrust.
- Privacy is a relative cultural boundary. Go to Africa and they’ll tell you how much money they make and how many people depend on it, but Asians have a hard time telling you that they have a job or make money from it.
- There are 3 ways to reconcile who should move on a cultural boundary: the one with less power to stay in their ways, the one who asked first or more emphatically, or the one who has more power or patience to carry out the honoring.
- Everyone has unspoken boundaries, and it is the responsibility of the other sensitive and aware individuals to honor that boundary.
- Therefore, it is our moral duty to honor any unclarified boundaries that we come across.
When I was younger, I had believed that open and honest full disclosure was vitally important in all aspects of living. I have now come to realize that although this is a freaking awesome way to live and love, it is also an egregiously offensive cultural norm for anyone who regards privacy as an important value.
As a barely-professed writer, I tend to talk about people. Many writers have learned the art of using fiction to obscure what they really think about the morons they encounter in their day-to-day life, but I’ve been a bit slow to learn that particular trick, and my parents have suffered tremendously from it. Read the previous blogs all the way to the beginning for proof of that.
In light of this, I offer my direct apology. I screwed up a bit. The direct reason why is because of an over-application of David Allen’s Get Things Done System to all my doings. The dialogue has consistently gone like this:
Them: You did something wrong.
Me: What can I do to change it?
Them: You really hurt our feelings and hurt our reputation.
Me: What actionables can I do to ensure I don’t do it again?
Them: We were really hurt by what you did.
Me: What did I specifically do to hurt you?
Them: You published something about us.
Me: Should I never publish about you again?
Them: Only publish good things.
Me: That’s not going to happen if you want to be part of our personal life.
(long, awkward silence for 3 months)
(again from the top, but with more feeling)
From here on out, I’m no longer posting anything about them. Whatever problems they have can decompose inside their own minds without my desire to help them being part of it.
My theory is that this won’t change anything. At this point, the only desire they seem to express is to regret things really hard instead of the more popular flavors of revenge or reconciliation. However, my family and I would rather be on the up-and-up with the world around us than spiral downward into self-imposed adequacy or forced obscurity. If we’re going to fail, it would serve the world to know better for themselves!