If anything is to be learned from history, the individual has been strung about by class commitment and social duties.
The greater goings-on of mankind has always been placed in the upmost of importance. The central theme of an individual’s life was what he or she owes to society.
Today, the plight of the individual is the centerpiece on the mantel of history. The individual is the bearer of his or her own fate.
The consequence of dwindling class commitments and social duties is what sociologists call the “individualization phenomenon” occurring within contemporary society by which the individual is required to construct his or her own life.
Once a distant dream of the existentialists, the ability of an individual to move freely within society is in many respects a basic requirement to be successful in the modern world.
A latent consequence of the individual’s new-found freedom is a rising level of solitude in one’s life. The ability to be alone has become a historical privilege. Privacy plays a dynamic role in the construction of our lives.
One might think that the modern social sphere is categorized by increased transparency, networking and a pervasive purging of personal information.
I’m inclined to think it goes further.
Behind the front of open-ended, free-flowing communication and transparent livelihood is a wall — a threshold for expression and, at the same time, a barrier against expression.
One can create one’s self over the Internet using Facebook, Twitter and Instragram. Expression is manifested in media.
We become the lights we choose to shine. We show ourselves and yet hide ourselves. Rapid communication and expression through media thresholds is an expression of value — value toward privacy — choosing what to express and what not to express.
After contemplation, the contemporary world seems to be approaching the advent of an actualizing age. Increasingly the individual has the privacy and the privilege to reflect and refine. In privacy lies the maze of the self, waiting to be discovered.
In this respect, solitude becomes an adventure, a conquest completed only by one’s self. The privilege to go on a long adventure of thought and reflection, to genuinely take the time to explore the inner working that is the complexity of the individual and his or her situation.
The rewards of such contemplation is endless. A wealth of knowledge, security and confidence spring forth from the individual’s competency in himself or herself.
Socrates said, “Know thyself.” Author Albert Camus felt one should “know himself like the palm of his hand.” Philosopher Søren Kierkegaard believed “the self rests transparently in the power that established it.”
The privilege of privacy allows the individual time to learn. In learning about one’s accomplishments and desires, movements and freedoms become realized and actualized — and that, above all things, should be kept sacred.
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