Privacy – we all need a place to hide

We loose more and more of our privacy. We post on Facebook what we do, what we think, where we are. Many apps have access to all contacts on our mobile devices. Google and Facebook know what sites we visit on the internet. But why bother, if we have nothing to hide?

Last week I saw a very interesting documentary on TV: “Super Stream Me”. Last year, two Dutch guys, Tim den Besten and Nicolaas Veul, started the experiment to share everything on the internet, for 18 days! On their website you could follow everything they did on a live stream, 24/7, from eating to visiting the bathroom, from (not) sleeping to using drugs. With GPS their location was public and their heart-beat was recorded and published as well.

They started with the excitement of being live, of being in touch with hundreds of followers. It was a sport to get as many likes and followers as possible. Soon the question popped up: when are you yourself, and when do you act for the camera? After a couple of days the pressure increased. One of the two was very aware of the camera and tried to entertain the viewers, adjust to the expectations. He was acting before the camera and couldn’t stop it. His behavior became very flat, very one-dimensional. The other one tried to ignore the camera, to act as ‘normal’ as possible, being quite vulnerable in his attempts. He was fighting against expectations from others.

After 16 days they had to quit the experiment, both close to a burn-out.

For me this experiment showed, how important privacy is. You need to have a place to hide. Look at small children or at cats. They all love to hide in a small box. It offers a feeling of safety and comfort, even if the box seems to be too small. Hide and seek is a common game every child loves to play.

The question is not, if you  have something to hide. The question is where you can hide. You have to be able to hide, hide from expectations, hide from what others might think about you, hide from your own expectations, hide from fighting, hide from adjusting, hide. If you don’t have a place to hide, you will experience stress all the time and a burn-out is imminent.

“Being noticed can be a burden. Jesus got himself crucified because he got himself noticed. So I disappear a lot.” Bob Dylan

Privacy is necessary for your mental health, for learning, for being creative, for rehearsing a speech or a dance before you share it in public. Every musician needs a placed to hide too, how more famous you are, how more you are in need of such a place!

I like to hide in reading books and in drinking a cup of tea, just in my own, for myself. Where do you hide?




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