Monday, 26 October 2015

Men (of my generation) don’t cry

By Joan Escarrabill

Emotional training has changed over time. A part of the men of my generation were taught to contain their emotions. Men don’t cry. Publicly expressing certain emotions can be considered rude (or, worse, a weakness). Privacy (i.e. solitude) is the only space suitable for male emotions. The intimacy understood as a personal space that is never shared. Privacy is a right and, above all, a way of working. There are some things can only be the product of personal reflection, in the strictest privacy.

I know I simplify things. Maybe we should not talk about emotions and intimacy. Maybe we should talk about "privacy". But now there are a couple of phenomena related to digitizations that, at the very least, are at on the verge of privacy: the collective intelligence and transparency.

Collective intelligence challenges the individual reflection as a basic tool for understanding. Adding up is so powerful! Adding up from different perspectives gives unprecedented solutions to complex problems. But I will focus on transparency.

Facebook generation or my generation understand transparency differently. The generation of men who don’t cry understand transparency from a simple perspective "we must always tell the truth, but we don’t have to always tell it all" and the question is, "Can so much transparency become toxic?"

Byung-Chul Han (Seoul, 1959) is the author of "The transparency society" He says interesting things about transparency: more (or too much information) does not necessarily help us take good decisions. Intuition plays a very important role. The exposed society skips rituals, ceremonies, references and narrative. The current crisis is not an acceleration but a temporal dispersion and dissociation (p. 65)

But the idea that has seduced me more in this book is the one that focuses on trust. Appealing to transparency translates into a fragile society, in which values ​​such as honesty and loyalty loose weight. In a trust relationship transparency is futile. Taking the idea of ​​transparency too far can create a state of "permanent vigilance" that promotes uniformity (p. 91). What a terrible thing the idea of ​​uniformity!

Naturally, we must demand transparency, especially when referring to the commons. It’s obvious that access to the data should help us in decision making. I won’t suggest that the obscurity can be something positive. But perhaps a few drops of confidence would help us create a richer recipe.

To sum up. The benevolent reader will accept that, despite everything, the men of my generation (the ones who don’t cry in public) are sensitive enough to value tenderness, although we often keep our emotions in the strictest privacy.

An example:

La mamma morta, aria from the opera Andrea Chénier (1896) by Umberto Giordano (1867-1948), interpreted by Maria Callas (1923-1977) in the scene of the film Philadelphia (1993), with Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington.

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