Monday, 9 September 2013

Al fresco

Henry Porter says he's surprised by what he deems a lack of interest in defending privacy and wonders if it is he who's out of step with most other people. I think he probably is. I get his sense of privacy, but circumstances (seem to) have changed from the days when solitude was the model.

There's a bathing scene in the TV adaptation of Shogun. The main character Blackthorne-who's an English sailor shipwrecked in 17th century Japan-finds his lovely interpreter, Lady Mariko naked and bathing in her pool. He's stunned when she invites him to join her. She explains the crowded nature of Japan means they developed different forms of privacy.

Those who come from rural areas can find city folk unfriendly, its similar. All in regulating your gaze. When people post their pictures on-line, they at times object to those putting their images to uses they don't approve of. The criticism of that has been they've undermined their own privacy by publishing them in public spaces. The criticism has some validity, however, the objection also shows the shifting nature of privacy in cyberspace.

Those who administer and run things are always monitoring what the public will accept and how. 'Obesity' has already displayed that people don't object the idea of whole bodies and lives being submerged in what purports to be science. As long as that is in people they're distanced from through defining them as disease. That has been a surprise to many in authority. You can see how slow they have been to try and exploit such a comparatively open goal.

That defining people as a disease process and their lives as that unfolding, hasn't raised instinctive objections shows that people's sense of privacy as either having shifted, or being revealed as not important as it might have seemed, this time under the influence of what is and what purports to be science.

At least with your e-mails and such, the authorities are snooping on what you actually write of your own volition. Your internet footprint at least has the possibility of revealing something real about you. It is something you have some control over shaping.

The 'obesity' construct on the other hand hollows out real human existence and imposes on it a script it expects people to act out. Both 'obese' and the peer pressure chorus. I've said for a long time that you can see the desire through it. To be able to look at anyone person and see their own life.

Whether its the notion that our thoughts will soon be easy to read, our notions of privacy may soon be redundant in any case, that's the aim. The desire of those who run things to know us inside out has been evident forever.

People have willingly sold information on what they buy, for the prospect of "reward points", something akin to a coupon system.

Porter doesn't seem to have been cognisant of this, let alone its implications, just like everyone else.We notice things in our orbit that have meaning to us. The most obviously bad idea can hide in plain sight as long as it finds the right route, or targets.

Who knows, given human kind advanced from smaller tribes and villages where everyone knows everyone and most of the business, perhaps the real aberration was of privacy as based on a model of individuality and solitude. 

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