An Extremely Transparent World
Would you worry about privacy if no one casts judgement?
I always dread the day my family goes for confession to church.
It is a yearly tradition — usually a week or two before Easter. The objective of this process is to introspect and admit your flaws before the reverend priest and it shall be washed away.
Looking at the end result, one might be tempted to think that the process is simple but I find it very daunting to be in a vulnerable position for those few seconds and confess my errors. I feel deep shame and embarrassment yet I manage to surmount those emotions and go for the session.
We await for our turn in reverence and when it is time, kneel beside the priest and honestly admit the flaws. This is followed with advice from the scriptures and a prayer. If done right, you emerge feeling relieved — which is the purpose in the end.
As per law, the priest must forget the matter and never raise it up in the future. However, being human I fear he would recollect it when he looks at me later. To put it simple, I feared judgement for revealing my secrets.
My Dad once told me how back in his childhood, confession sessions had a much different format. People would sit together and everyone would publicly admit their mistakes. Yes, everyone hears it — not just the priest.
I could not imagine myself in that environment, yet, when I thought about it, I realized a couple of points:
- Others realize no one is perfect
- A sense of trust is established in the system
- If shame was experienced, it will now be acts of honour alone
And the more I tried extrapolating this view with the world you and I live in, I started questioning a lot of fears we have that limit us today. And this is the subject of this write-up. Join me in this thought experiment of a hyper transparent society, and the possible implications it might have for our future.
Disclaimer: This is all pure opinions and no research has been carried out to check prior work in this matter. You are most welcomed to share your feedback in the end
I have a problem if my parent checks my social media private activities. Am I doing something illegal? Not really. Then why should I be worried if someone takes a look, for I am not going to go to prison.
The problem here is judgement at a different scale — the fact that thoughts and opinions will start to accumulate in the viewers mind that might conflict with the image you try to create for yourself.
But what if I could see my parents’ messages? What if it was a two way transparent path?
Worst case: We cast judgement on each other, while internally feeling ashamed for the other one is right, to a degree, to think that way. We break ties and move on.
Or, we realize our flaws, work towards creating a better relation by behaving in a way that seems reasonable to the other one. You might argue that in doing so, I am loosing a bit of my true self. And you are right.
But if you look close, you will find out that beyond the divide of good and evil lies shades of imperfection, few of which we tolerate, while others kept hidden.
There is a third possibility: We stop judging each other. We understand that no one is truly good and move on in life.
In such a transparent world, data breach would not matter — because no one will ever judge you, or use that information against you. Getting advertisements on bras? Well, everyone knows the time spent online and how that prompt arose so who cares now?
However, living this way will be hard for us emotional beings. Shame could become meaningless after a while and the distinction between good and evil will greatly blur over time.
Also to make a promise to not judge someone for their transparency could be a mistake as well. If I know someone will die in a years time because of their present actions, do I not have the responsibility to change that destiny via timely intervention? If so, am I not forced to cast a judgement?
So maybe under certain circumstances, where damage is severe and within a range, intervention via judgement should be allowed. However, enforcing bodies such as the government might use this advantage and carry out actions that benefit the cause of the collective. Sounds familiar?
Probably dictatorship in the form of extreme dominance can occur by taking control of free transparent exchange. Some believe that if true Artificial intelligence was made that knows everyone in every aspect, it would adopt a communist spirit to bring about what is best for the collective — probably at a cost from your end.
Transparency also means nothing can remain proprietary. The secret recipe of XYZ organization is now open to everyone. Would this kill innovation as there is no incentive for working and developing solutions that immensely reward you?
At an individual level, it can be daunting to think that everyone is aware of the hours I spent on pornography or stalking others. Yet, with a collective falling in the same filter, will I be punished? Or rather, should I be punished?
As you can infer, a transparent world can lead to several issues. Maybe instead we need transparency within confines. The confessions made in public in Church back in my Dad’s childhood was a secret kept by those present within — who respected the trust they shared mutually. This ensured the revealed matters were not content to gossip about the subsequent day.
Yet the present world we live in is really polarized, with people deliberately hiding their true thoughts and embracing facades to keep up with society. Would you call that as living? Would a judgement free world helped them be comfortable with who they are?
Nature is believed to follow the best path possible to shape our society and as a truly transparent world has not yet come, maybe its because that is a recipe for failure. Yet, I would like to believe that one day, I can remain confident even if I know my parents checked my messages for they do not judge me.
Maybe casting judgement on others is in our nature. What do you believe?
Here is a short film on a confession (possibly) gone wrong.
Stay true to your self!