When I was growing up, as least as I remember it, much more was considered private than is today. It was considered bad manners to inquire too deeply about someone's health, their income, personal habits, politics, marital status, and such. If you were a friend (i. e., a real, rather than simply a Facebook friend) you knew most of this already. If you weren't, you didn't. And more to the point, you did not expect to. Today, of course, we live in an exhibitionist culture and our private lives are no longer all that private. Obviously, as the keeper of this humble blog, and a Facebook member besides, I am something of a contributor to that culture, even if a small one. But occasionally, I think back on the older culture, the one in which it was still possible to move somewhere new and start over fresh if your old life didn't work well, which it often didn't and still doesn't. As a believer in sin, but also in redemption, I wonder sometimes if what we have lost in our mad rush to embrace ever more technology is more than what we have gained.
Here's Peggy Noonan today, from her Wall Street Journal column, echoing my thoughts:
Read the whole thing.
An odd thing is that when privacy is done away with, people don’t become more authentic, they become less so. What replaces what used not to be said is something that must be said and is usually a lie. ("The Eyes Have It," WSJ, May 21, 2010)