Privacy is For Finding Out Who We Are When We Are Not Performing Ourselves

“Privacy is essential to human agency and dignity. Denying someone privacy—even when it’s as seemingly small as a parent who won’t let their kid close the door—has a corrosive effect, eroding trust as well as our sense of interiority. When we scale up the individual to a body politic, it is the private sphere that’s crucial for our capacity for democracy and self-determination. As individuals, we need privacy to figure out who we are when we’re no longer performing the self. As a collective, we have to be able to distinguish who we are as individuals hidden from the norms and pressures of the group in order to reason clearly about how we want to shape the group. Elections have secret ballots for a reason.

If we do care about privacy as a collective value, then it cannot be an individual burden. Right now, privacy is essentially a luxury good. If you can afford not to use coupons, you don’t have to let retailers track your shopping habits with loyalty points. If you’re technically savvy, you don’t have to let Gmail see all your emails. Not only does that make access to privacy incredibly inequitable, it also affects our collective understanding of what is a ‘normal’ amount of privacy.”

-Jenny, “left alone, together.” phirephoenix.com. May 3, 2021.

Dunning-Kruger Effect = Satisfaction

“…people with the biggest gap between their abilities and their view of [themselves] say they have the highest levels of satisfaction with their life, career and relationships. “People who report being more adjusted are those who have a combination of relatively lower true abilities and actual higher views of themselves,” says Stéphane Côté, a social psychologistat the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and an author of the paper.”

—Lydia Denworth, “New Insights into Self-Insight: More Might Not Be Better.” Scientific American. August 27, 2019.