I woke up this morning at 2:30 a.m. ready to scream.
I’m carrying so many (necessary) secrets that the emotions these generates inside me were worse than burdensome. I felt like a pressure cooker about to explode.
I could throw down my willingness to keep secrets and acknowledge my unfitness for the roles I play. Or I could continue to keep what are necessary secrets and become more and more contrived a personality or find a way through this situation that would preserve my awareness and confidentiality at the same time.
This situation will face lightworker leaders for a while yet. I recall Archangel Michael saying that he looked forward to a time when secrets would not be necessary but we’re not there yet.
Unlike our constructed selves which we build to maintain an image for personal reasons, this contrived personality is a front or appearance which we maintain for social, sometimes business, lightworker, national, or international reasons. It’s represented as being necessary to achieve the team’s goals, but it impinges on one’s consciousness nonetheless.
Since as lightworker leaders and financial wayshowers, we’ll be obliged to carry and conceal secrets, I’d like to discuss the subject.
I watch very few videos because of a lack of time. But I did watch an interview with President Obama on the Jon Stewart show the other day and I recognized the smile the President was wearing as one that showed how many secrets he was obliged to maintain. There was a touch of wanness in it that seemed to show the price he paid for carrying such a load.
Irving Goffman, in his classic Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, described social interaction in theatrical terms. He called his method of study dramaturgical analysis.
He defined the behavior consistent with front-stage and back-stage performances. One of the subjects he discussed at length was secrets.
One over-all objective a team has, he says, is “to sustain the definition of the situation that its performance fosters.”
“This will involve the over-communication of some facts and the under-communication of others. Given the fragility and the required expressive coherence of the reality that is dramatized by a performance, there are usually facts which, if attention is drawn to them during the performance, would discredit, disrupt, or make useless the impression that the performance fosters.” (1)
I mentioned Jon Stewart. He’s made a career in part out of making a joke out of our behavior by intentionally misrepresenting it. For instance, in the video of his interview with the President, he intentionally misrepresented the applause as being for himself rather than for the President and expressed surprise at being greeted with so much applause.
Even Stewart knows that certain information about the President, his policies, etc., cannot be divulged on his show and willingly enters into protecting that “destructive information,” as Goffman calls it. (2)
All performances carried out at a leadership level practice what Goffman calls “information control”: “The audience must not acquire destructive information about the situation that is being defined for them. In other words, a team must be able to keep its secrets and have its secrets kept.” (3)
There are different types of secrets. Goffman distinguishes three. The first one is “dark” secrets: “These consist of facts about a team which it knows and conceals and which are incompatible with the image of self that the team attempts to maintain before its audiences.” (4)
Dark secrets are double secrets in that not only are the facts themselves hidden but the fact of their existence is also hidden.
While Goffman doesn’t mention it, there’s also a category of deep dark secrets. Violating those could bring a person the worst of sanctions. If the Illuminati were involved, that would most certainly mean death.
Then there are the second kind, “strategic” secrets: “These pertain to intentions and capacities of a team which it conceals from its audience in order to prevent them from adapting effectively to the state of affairs the team is planning to bring about.” (5)
They’re ones that “business and armies employ in designing future actions against the opposition.” (6) Strategic secrets may eventually be disclosed when an action is successfully completed, but dark secrets are never disclosed.
A third variety is “inside” (or insider) secrets.
“These are ones whose possession marks an individual as being a member of a group and helps the group feel separate and different from those individuals who are not ‘in the know.’’
“Inside secrets give objective intellectual content to subjectively felt social distance. Almost all information in a social establishment has something of this exclusion function and may be seen as none of somebody’s business.” (7)
These secrets are usually neither dark nor strategic. When disclosed, they usually don’t disrupt the team’s performance overly much.
A fourth variety that Goffman doesn’t mention could be called “trade” secrets. These are secrets that go along with being a member of a trade, profession, or firm.
An example would be the trade secret among the military pilots of some countries to turn off certain alarms that were considered to be a nuisance. This shared practice contributed to an accident that involved the president of a European country.
Another example would be the trade secret of Colombian pilots to ignore certain approach beacons and create their own flight path. This practice led to the downing of an aircraft whose pilots became confused.
Tomorrow I’d like to look at the price we pay for keeping secrets.
(Continued in Part 2.)
(1) Erving Goffman, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Garden City: Doubledsay, 1959, 141.
(2) Loc. cit.
(3) Loc. cit.
(4) Loc. cit.
(5) Ibid., 142.
(6) Loc. cit.
(7) Loc cit.
(8) Loc. cit.