Privacy and its pursuit – August

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Couple of days back, Ideasmith who writes at The Idea-smithy had a post about privacy, which sparked off, a comment from me “privacy is never due to lack of people“, Which she found profound, and wanted to me to elucidate. This post is an attempt to do the same.


Before I start with my version, here is what the google told me when I searched for “privacy”
Answers.com defines privacy as “The state of being free from unsanctioned intrusion”.
This is something which makes the concept of privacy really subjective.

When we are amidst a group of people, a large crowd for that matter, do we feel intruded? yes, we probably do. What happens when there is no one around, do we feel private?. again, most probably we will.

Consider a musician who plays for himself, a person who thoroughly enjoys his music, and has extreme amount of concentration and focus on his work, now make him play at a concert, Do we think he is intruded by the people?, well probably not, were people unsanctioned here? may be not, but then he really does not care, he is so much into his music that he totally ignored the crowd. Do does he have his privacy? yes, he does, he was never intruded, his mind was so much focused that the intrusion by crowd never happened.

Consider a person who is really passionate about things, may be work, may be love, or even something as trivial as sports, now make him spend time alone, provide him privacy, no people around. Do we think he has no intrusion?. His passion always follows him around, even when he is not with his love, his partner is always around, if not in person in memories, or in mind, or in just the thoughts and dreams, so was it sanctioned ? no it was not, was he intruded?, as he was.

So why do we need privacy anyways, may be because we don’t like the feeling of being watched. So do we feel watched amidst a crowd?, do we feel left alone when there are no people?.

I have this bad habit of picking one person in the crowd and trying to observe him very closely, couple of days back in a traffic signal I saw a beggar, he was totally trying to catch people’s attention but nobody seemed to notice him, he was not spotted at all, there was a huge crowd, so was he handed an unwanted privacy here?, or was it the crowd who chose to have their privacy amidst a lot of others?

I try really hard to do something which is totally uncharacteristic of me, may be walk up to a stranger and begin a conversation, or may be try to slip in a crazy comment or two at a girl, but somehow I never get myself to do it, even when I am sure no one is there to watch me, so with no one around, what is it, that’s giving me a feeling of watched?, why cant I defy my rationale? why don’t I forget my consciousness.

What Is it that we do with privacy, what Is it that we want to do when we are not intruded, there can be only two kinds, something which is socially acceptable which needs to be done in absence of people, or something which is not socially acceptable and deserves lack of people.

Lets consider something which is socially acceptable, say may be have a deep conversation with your friend, with no intrusions from the outside world. Even though I have very few friends, sometimes I do tend to meet them in crowded places, say cafe. Now when I am with him/her, with lots of people around, do I feel intruded?, why should I, If we are having a meaningful conversation, concerning both of us, with both of us having will and consent to talk it out, I don’t think there can be any intrusion from outside.

so does it mean that privacy is never due to lack of people?, actually I take back my statement,
I would like to restate it as “Privacy may not be always due to lack of people.”

I believe privacy is due to lack of noise, now noise can be anything, it can be crowd, cluttered mind, literal noise, specific person, sunlight

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One response »

  1. Interesting subject. I have a different take on private conversations in public places. I tend to not want to discuss anything private in the listening vincinity of people I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I live in a political town. And maybe it’s because I have overhead things discussed by others that weren’t meant for my ears, but I was still able to put 2 and 2 together. But then, I also think that any expectation of privacy is an illusion in today’s world.

    Martine..
    Does this mean you feel private in absence of people?, I like the idea “Expectation of privacy”.. its again the expectation which changes from person to person..
    Welcome to Virtual Ramblings.
    -Rambler

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