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Life in a Leaking World
|by Dr. Rajinder Puri|
The Wilkileaks tsunami, the Amar Singh tapes, the Neera Radia tapes, airport surveillance, street corner hidden cameras, surveillance in public toilets, Internet hackers, private bugging of phones – it won’t stop. The world is leaking. No plumber can permanently fix it. This is the price of technology. Regardless of whether they thwart Julian Assange, or censor the Radia tapes through court proceedings, the effect will be transitory. There will be others to take up the same job. Technology will continue to grow. It will continue to tempt. Human nature will continue to be curious and intrusive. We might well be witnessing a major transformation in the history of humankind. The world is moving towards total transparency.
Few people are willing to accept that this leaking world might spout more and more leaks and this may denote permanent change. Former diplomat and MP Shashi Tharoor most likely spoke for most diplomats when he criticized Wilkileaks and said that the very nature of diplomacy required some level of secrecy. He was right. But could he and others be missing the big picture?
Technology may render secrecy impossible. In time to come Big Brotherhood will always somehow, somewhere, be watching you. Instead of trying to stop the leaks perhaps humankind would be better served by learning to live with them. Instead of changing procedures of transmitting information it might be more rewarding to change our very attitude to life. We might eventually have to live in a world totally transparent. We might have to instill in ourselves the self discipline to conduct ourselves on the premise that nothing that we do can be secret.
Would that be a good thing or a bad thing? Consider the possibilities. Suppose at some future date the leaking world compels an end to secret diplomacy. In the event even one to one summit meetings between world leaders might be held on television with the world watching how negotiations proceed. The evolution of solution formulae would not depend on subterfuge and cunning of diplomats but on the actual ground realities explained for the entire world to see. Would that not ensure a settlement that would be just?
Indian mythology describes the present times as the age of Kaliyug when evil and falsehood prevail. It does not require faith in mythology to acknowledge that never in living memory has human conduct in the world and in India sunk to such low moral depths as it has today. Also according to Indian mythology the era of Kaliyug will be followed by the era of Sathyayug when human conduct will be pure and virtuous. Exposure through transparency can bring shame. Shame can induce reform. Honestly, I give short shrift to mythology. But seriously, has the present leaking world brought us to the threshold of a paradigm shift in the history of humankind?
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12/10/2010 04:42 AM
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