The public and private society, that we cross the borders of every day. I sat next to a man, on the train, working on his laptop and glanced at the screen, it was immediately obvious he was writing up a psychological profile, of someone, (oh yes the name was clearly visible) and he scowled at me when he saw me looking. Surely this kind of confidential work needs to be done in the privacy of the office, or at home. When mentioning this to my wife, she said she had seen a social worker on the train writing up adoption notes for someone and later on the same journey I was on, I over heard a loud mobile phone conversation from a women who was obviously a counsellor/psychotherapist, talking about her work in a doctor’s surgery, where she mentioned seeing ‘my poor little depressed people’….is all this symptomatic of a wider malaise that blurs the boundaries between public and private, between confidential and open to everyone?….
Is it the result of counselling and therapy as an industry where therapists are sometimes not supervised properly and don’t have a clear idea of what boundaries are and confidentiality is. There are endless professional bodies accrediting counsellors and psychotherapists and setting out ethical guidelines. But ultimately you are either an ethical practitioner or you aren’t.
This blurring over what is private and what is public is nowhere more obvious than digital music. You may shut the door on the Jehovah’s Witness but not on musical terrorism, I don’t mean piracy, I mean when you are forced to listen to a version of someone elses taste in music that they think ought to be foisted on you, the iPhone that has a lot to answer for. I am fed up with being forced to listen to other peoples private lives or private tastes played out at the top of their voice on trains, buses, in public places…its not that I don’t care, in fact I do, it’s that I don’t want to know.
The numbers game
All this leads me to more on the numbers game society, because the cult of celebrity and the intrusion into people’s private lives because of this cult, is an addition to this blurring of public and private society
It would seem to me that we have lost respect for each others space and ultimately for each other, we all seem to exist in our own hedonistic me me little bubble. Banning things never works,( al la hoodies) but creating public minded, public-spirited projects does, things we can all believe in, belong to and own, and these kinds of things seem few and far between. I think they are few and far between, because government and powerful organisations at all levels are still in thrall to ‘the market’ (what ever that may be) and are frightened of social responsibility beyond that of the individual. Hence social programmes just don’t get reinvented, and public Service is denigrated.
It’s also true to say we have been encouraged on one level not to believe in intervention, in the ‘nanny state’ as conservatives have called it, nor are we encouraged to pay for this kind of thing or its maintenance through our taxes (although taxes are higher than ever). We desire a social safety net, but nothing more, and we don’t even want to pay for that.
I think the market, and as the french call it ‘anglo-saxon free market policies’ have alienated us one from another, so in the extreme situation we are no longer connected, can no longer meet each others eyes or talk to each other, unless we are inebriated and our inhibitions lowered. So we play our own music, talk to each other at a distance on twitter and FB, type away on our laptops, roam around in gangs hoods up, think the old, young, rich, poor, Europeans, muslims, jews or someone is to blame, when it us. We are responsible, and somehow, somewhere, sometime we have to change, take responsibility stop this blurring of public and private society and create boundaries that protect our privacy and encourage our community our charitable concern and enhance our understanding of social responsibility.