14 December, 2002

Truth Versus Privacy

I received an e-mail from my father recently. He said that he has been enjoying reading my online diary. He hasn't seen much of me ever since he moved to Miami, but I think the presence of my journal online is of some comfort to him. It makes the distance not quite so distant. (The same, of course, is true for other readers of my diary. You know whom you are.) 

Anyway, my father had an interesting subject on his mind when he e-mailed me, and I'd like to address it here. 

He writes that "the more successful you are, the more enemies you will encounter in your life." This is, of course, entirely true. After all, in a capitalistic economic system, one cannot gain without someone else experiencing a loss. It's a zero-sum game.
Because of this, he writes that it is not "wise that you question things that are confusing from your point of view and someone that does not know you could assume the worst of you." Again, his point is entirely and completely valid here. By leaving a public record in the form of a journal available to anyone who does a google search on "Eric Herboso", I am making it exceedingly easy for my future enemies to be privy to sensitive knowledge that most would consider to be quite private. Indeed, everything I write here in this journal and on my website could very well hurt me in ten years, if someone wanted to use this knowledge against me. 

My father summarized his position quite well toward the end of his letter, saying that "Writing is the window to your soul....share your wisdom but be very careful about some subjects that might be used later on against you." 

Needless to say, I'd given this quite a lot of thought. After all, logically speaking, my father is right. No matter how one looks at the matter, you cannot get around the fact that giving priviledged information so very freely is not exactly the best way to go about things if one intends to be truly successful in life, as I do. 

And yet, even as I type this, one has to acknowledge the other side of the equation... One cannot simply dismiss the ideal of truth at all costs. You cannot just ignore the alluring concept of becoming completely and utterly open, sacrificing oneself to the opinions of society as a whole. 

You see, I made this diary so as to have a truthful outlet for my soul. But is the presence of a truthful outlet worth the giving of sensitive information into the public domain? 

My father seemed not to think so at first, though he later retracted his statement, saying that he now feels it is better "to express yourself any way you see fit." He even says he admires my courage for doing such a thing. 

But despite his turnaround, I still have to wonder. For you see, doing what I am doing here truly does require courage. The only thing is... well... I wonder if I have the courage to do this. I mean, can I really afford to be allowing myself the pleasure of writing whatever I feel? 

Sure, it feels great to be able to sit and write to no one in particular about whatever I so choose, but is doing this really worth the hassle that may present itself in ten or so years when I am in a position to have numerous enemies? 

Perish the thought. Yet it won't die. Somehow, in some way, the opposing ideals remain. The first is such a wonderful ideal: truth at all costs. And the second is so very logical: privacy to limit my future enemies' weapons against me. 

I am torn. (Not Tom.) 

And it is on this issue that I'd like to hear a little feedback, if anyone has anything to say. Is it better for me to be truthful? Or is it better to maximize my chances for success? I have already made my decision, but I would like to hear others' opinions anyway, just to see what other people think.

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