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The Danger Power Sees In Solitude
I am sure that before the 9/11 attacks there was already the idea of privacy as a fleeting memory of modernity. Yet, technology advanced well beyond our ability to make communal ethical decisions. This allowed powerful interests to assert that security overwhelmed a democratic right for non-intrusion. The public, in turn, tacitly accepted that one of the casualties of terrorism was a lack of the personal in trade for the illusion of safety.
When the overreach has shown that for our own good churches, private conversations, non-profits and peace organizations have been clandestinely infiltrated an unease settles amongst people of good conscience. This is not to mention extra judicial killings, secret detainment, torture and inappropriate spying carried out in our name. We find we have lost something too dear to utter. We know there is no government theocratically centered to morally discern our interior motives no matter what computer matrix is used. For every anti-war protest we attend out of moral conviction we know that camera’s hover to record our every movement. We also know that such data gathering can never judge the morality of our beings.
This is why solitude rejects power’s dominion over us. Solitude always brings us back to an interior life which no brilliant technics can penetrate. It is an act of resistance that brings about reflection, contemplation, humility and right action. Only in this interior place do we find freedom unhindered from powerful forces blocking our communion with all that surrounds us. It is not an ascetic retreat from the world, but a denial that any powerful force has ultimate dominion over us. This type of solitude is freedom and liberty. It is the self-determining will that connects itself to others and brings about true love.
In our context of eroded personal freedom we must reclaim our liberty. The only place to start is in those moments of solitude where no one can penetrate your being. These times are when we can ultimately connect with God and others. They are also an act of resistance from a policing that enjoys knowing everything about us. It is to say to power, “Only God can know the heart!”
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