Privacy #2: The ME

Detlev wrote an article: The End of Me (Das Ende vom Ich).

He hit the nail on the hat. The ME is disappearing. Since “privacy” is part of ME, it might easily vanish next.
Privacy happens between the ears. And losing privacy is also a matter of the brains. If we wish to remain “private”, we have to resist many temptations all the time. Our modern artificial world offers so many (seemingly) desirable and comfortable things. More often than not, however, there is dependency and external control behind promises of benefactions made to wet our appetites.

We are all too willing to “live our lives second-hand”. It is not much of an effort. This is not only true for physical labour, but also for our psyche. Emotions transported to us through the television or internet serve their purpose and seem to provide us with emotional abundance. That is how we perceive it. They are, however, synthetically constructed and therefore less painful than those we experience directly.

For instance, we cry when we watch a love story in the cinema. Yet we often can no longer cry when our beloved one says farewell. It is just like with food: the decadent meal tastes better to us than the natural.

Here is what our environment makes us believe in a very soft voice:

  • You can have total security;
  • All will be provided;
  • All will be well;
  • It is easy to be a rich person without much of an effort
  • If you use the right after-shave and wear the right outfit, you will find super-girl;
  • Happiness has four wheels;
  • And more of the same.

Thus, the cultural world – as created by us – makes us believe that a perfect life is possible. And as a solution, it offers us a sterilized version of life. And we follow the temptations of the consumption society sirens all too willingly. We displace our privacy and hand it over at the cloakroom in exchange for the nearest bauble.

Our loss of privacy has something to do with us having more or less relinquished the “natural world” and exchanging it for an (artificial) “cultural world”. It is not the technological advances, such as the internet, Google Streetview, Amazon or the transparency of our credit card statements that cause the loss of our privacy. It is us giving up our autonomous, self-responsible behaviour. But that was something that was just as threatening in the pre-internet world as it is in cyberspace.

I try to consciously be very open both in the real world and in the internet. Both in the IF blog and at, I write what I think and how I see matters. I am convinced it is always best to approach matters “open-necked”.

And I get the impression that my privacy actually increased through my public transparency.
No, it is definitely not due to the internet if we lose our privacy. Rather, it is our own laziness and our fear to take responsibility for ourselves.

(Translated by EG)

My series on “privacy” was occasioned (but not caused by) an article by Herrn Bolz in the SZ ( HYPERLINK “” o “Der Artikel hat mich irgendwie sehr geärgert …” Clickes Schmied).

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