Subject: People who have fellatio in glass houses.......
Date: Fri 18 Sep 1998 - 14:48:27 BST
Michael has expressed anger about the whole mess in DC.
What do I think it means?
I think it means that in a world without walls, the behaviors have to change.
We live in a world where information has torn down walls of secrecy that we
used to code as privacy. There is no place to hide, no place to run.
I, for one, have been begging for this change. I hated the demand to have to
hide who I am for the comfort of others. As a transshaman I know that there
are no walls in the spirit, that energy & matter are just different forms of
the same stuff. I know that walls are illusions, conviences that both protect
and limit. Walls that divide us are only for comfort and often that comfort
comes at a high cost.
I, for one, welcome the fabled "scorched earth" policy. Let's get it all out
in the open, lets tear down the walls. Truth is not false just because we
choose not to see it
What does it mean, though, if there are no walls?
It means that we have to look at people as humans and accept their messiness.
They piss, shit and fuck, and that is rarely elegant and graceful. But even
with those behaviors of the human animal, they are still valuable and scared.
Personally, I think the American public understands this on some level, maybe
after years of talk shows, and that's why few are clamoring for Clinton's
downfall. They have figured out that he is just human.
Privacy, in a world where everything is seen, stops being secrecy and becomes
respect. This is not a new model of privacy, it is a return to an old model,
the one that was needed when we lived in small towns, villages or bands. We
knew thet failings of those around us, but we were gracious enough to turn our
heads, to respect their own humanity.
A bit in the NYT about a woman who changed into running tights on the
sidewalk, slipping them under her skirt and then removing the skirt, touched
me. It talked of how, while she was as discreet as possible, NYC passerby
turned their head, giving her some privacy in doing a simple human act that
was not meant to be public. This is a new model of privacy -- not the
frenzied assumption of hidden space, but the graceful gift of dignity by
It also means that we as humans have to live our lives as if we were being
watched every moment. Manipulation has always meant saying different things
to different people, things we believe that they want to hear but that we
don't really mean. When all the information is out there, though, when we
can't use walls to separate and compartmentalize, that can backfire badly.
China keeps finding this out when they try to do things internally and deny
them externally, but then they leak out --- their great wall is now porous to
We are stuck in a place where we need to work to find some harmony between our
words to many people, between our words and our actions. Everyone can see it.
Parents know this drill -- when you have children scrutinizing your every
move, they can easily call you on the contradictions you put out. Kids read
these things because the information barrier between kids and parents is paper
A world where there are no walls demands changes, both in how we act and how
we respect others. Multinational businesses have been figuring this out for
the last two decades or so. As global barriers to competition has dropped,
they have had to compete across borders, no longer protected by tarriff walls
and national lines. Detroit carmakers had to clean up an act that had gotten
weak and soft because of the walls, had to get better. In a world without
walls, there is no room for anything or anyone that is not world class.
For people who have grown to find comfort in their rationalizations of
separation, of walls, this is hard magic indeed. Many of us have become
comfortable in our own walled enclaves where the rules are set locally and
people are terrfied into silence. We like our illusions of separation and
exclusivity, even as we find more and more everyday that all things are
connected, that we will be called on the separations we believe in.
The information revolution has changed the idea of what privacy means in the
world. Clinton, as the real first president of that age, is paying the price,
but the Republicans who have used information and disinformation to try to
destroy him don't understand the costs of what they have set into motion.
I believe that they have helped the American people start to see the notion of
privacy differently, not as people learning to appear super-human by hiding
their humanity, but by viewers learning to accept the humanity that exists
each one of us.
And I also believe that it means their actions will be under closer scrutiny,
that their humanity will be revealed, just as the human actions of Henry Hyde
in having an affair that helped break up another man's marriage, will come to
Living without walls is living in the light, and light, as Justice Brandeis
said, is the best disenfectant. Light demands that we see ourselves, learn to
become better people, not just better at concealment. It means that we have
to accept that many humans do things that we find uncomfortable, but that they
are still humans.
I hate the trauma that is going on. I find many players in this game to be
despicable, especially the ones who put others under attack by hypocritcal
manipulation. I hate the though that the grand jury tape -- which shouldn't
exist -- will be made public.
But as much as I hate these throes and thrashes, I really believ that they are
the steps to a new age being born, an age of information, where new models of
privacy, diversity, connection and respect have to come into play.
In the future, we will all have fellatio (and any other sex) in glass houses.
Ubiquitous and pervaisve information gathering guarantee that. It's time to
figure out how to deal with this new reality.
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