TED Conversations

Arkady Grudzinsky


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Do we need privacy?



1. The state or condition of being free from being observed or disturbed by other people.
2. The state of being free from public attention.

So, it's a form of freedom. I find it deeply controversial.

Does it mean that we should not pay attention to each other? There are stories on internet of people dying in subway from heart attack in the midst of a crowd passing by.

Is it possible? We leave traces behind us every minute - online, when we use credit cards to buy something, even by walking in the street with a cell phone in our pocket. Why are we outraged or feel threatened when we find out that someone "is watching"? Perhaps, it goes deeper in our psyche that we think or can explain.

What is the difference between privacy and secrecy? When and why do we need them?

Some people put their whole life online. Some are cautious about giving any personal information to anyone. Ironically, we can protect ourselves from oppression and crime both ways.

What's your attitude towards privacy? I would appreciate the links to videos and sources on this topic.

Topics: privacy secrecy

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    Jun 27 2013: In today's world I'm probably a dying breed but I put that down to when I was very young and working at a hospital. 27 years ago privacy and patient rights was taken as normal and having health professionals all through the family, one takes it as normal.

    That man that said " too many stories" told you a lot and everything about himself Colleen, some or a lot of people out there don't have 1/5th of the life experience that you have and others on here and that can make them ugly.

    Have you ever heard of the term " Subjective vampirism?" For a quick five minutes when I first heard of the term I thought "I must assess what I have done and what I absorbed from others who have lived a more fuller life so as not to be confused what is mine and not mine"
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      Jun 27 2013: You are right Ken....people tell us a LOT about themselves. I believe we can only give to others that which we have in our hearts, so if someone is behaving in an "ugly" way, it simply shows us that is what s/he has in her/his heart.

      I also am very conscious of confidentiality, after working/volunteering with so many agencies which have a vulnerable population. It helps for all of us to be honest and truthful about the information we put on line about ourselves.

      I have not heard of "Subjective vampirism"....would you share more information about it?
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        Jun 27 2013: Re: "it simply shows us that is what s/he has in her/his heart."

        I also hold an opinion that what we say about other people characterizes us more than it characterizes those other people. It's useful to keep this in mind when judging others.

        It's funny, as I say that, I can see how this can be viewed as a snide remark or a hypocritical opinion if what I say is directed to someone personally, but, again the way we see what others say characterizes us rather than those other people - hypocrisy is in the eye of the beholder. "we see things as we are, not as they are". Essentially, what I say here is the meaning of "if the shoe fits..." idiom.

        That's the enigma of those self-referring statements of which I wrote earlier: "this statement is true" is impossible to either prove or refute.
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        Jun 28 2013: Arkady's right and he has a far better grasp of the english written language than me, if i tried to tap an explanation it would probably come across as hypocritical and pompous. Cool, I'll ask Arkady next time when i'm wrestling with a difficult explanation i want to put across.

        It's a long story with that term Colleen but i think for those of us that have only 1/4 of the life experience that you have and are open or receptive and curious about others lives they can sometimes get lost in anothers life.....I hope she wasn't hinting to me, this person can be coercive and not in a constructive manner either. I don't believe it myself but what happens when you've been around people that make you feel they are sucking the life out of you or feel like they are black holes, creepy.

        When are you going to write that book? I'll buy it. Everyone here should write a book.

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