It begins when we are children. As Steve Hein of EQI.org points out, “Children start out emotionally honest. They express their true feelings freely and spontaneously. But the training to be emotionally dishonest begins at an early age. The child is told to smile when actually she is sad. She is told to apologize when she feels no regret. She may be told to kiss people good night when she would never do so voluntarily.” In short, she will slowly be influenced to conform to a social structure that attempts to control what feels true.
But what does emotional honesty have to do with WikiLeaks and Digital Influence, you ask?
It’s simple really. We are still struggling – as individuals and as countries – to break down the walls of ‘protection’ that we have been brought up to believe we must build. We have not yet replaced those walls with the bridges necessary to fully transform society.
We’re secretive. We’re protective. We’re afraid.
The good news is this: with the growing activity and discussion around network and citizen journalism, as Paulo Freire, author of Pedagogy of the Oppressed, says, “Those who have been denied their primordial right to speak their word” are finally finding their voice. For the first time since the Pentagon Papers, a site like WikiLeaks, and the influence it wields when it comes to shaping public opinion and awakening the collective (un)conscious, forces us to come to terms with how much we – personally and collectively – are willing to face truth and introduce transparency into all aspects of our lives. Only then can we truly straighten out the backbone of our troubled world. Furthermore, as the developments around WikiLeaks elicit a conversation among populations, we are compelled to recognize that this is not just about the military’s secrets, but about our own. In search of the elusive idea of safety, the emotional honesty we have been forced to abandon – and forced our children to abandon – has only shown us the high price we pay when we spend our adult lives living in fear and unhappiness or practicing deceit.