IN thoughtful tête-à-tête with a very close friend we chatted about our mutual trust.
One of its most liberating features was that it allowed us the freedom to be candid in a way we could not be to our nearest and dearest. Is this the last freedom?
I am privileged to be able to express my thoughts through a newspaper or as a broadcaster on air. However, as every journalist knows some subjects, mostly political or philosophical are strictly off limits.
It is an unspoken agreement. We writers and our editors, the newspaper proprietors know where those unseen barriers are and we do not cross them. The discrete exchange of ideas, innermost thoughts, personal issues has nothing to do with indiscretion or dishonesty; quite the opposite.
The free flow of ideas and feelings are all about transparency sadly lacking in the politically correct Orwellian nightmare we are waking up to.
No matter how close we are to others; regardless of our love and affection for them there are simply things we cannot discuss. This is for reasons perfectly understandable.
We withhold our thoughts because we are sensitive to feelings. Few would tell partners they are inadequate or explain to a child they’re not really cut out for modelling.
We confide some things to a partner we would never divulge to children; we discuss feelings with colleagues, we ‘confess’ to close friends feelings that are off the record.
We should all have at least one such friend. During the Victorian era a bond between two people known as romantic friendship was commonplace. It did not necessarily have anything to do with sex except perhaps for discrete debate between the two. It had everything to do with togetherness, intellectual rapport, a soul mate closeness and mutual trust.
Generally it was a relationship between two women, occasionally between men and often between unrelated men and women. Such couples could express their innermost thoughts and expect from their alter ego if not uncritical acceptance then discretion. It is a second opinion if you like.
There are depths’ of loneliness, despair, a sense of loss; amorous and Bacchanalian thoughts convention obliges us to keep to ourselves. There are fantasies, longings and taboos which we feel that standards oblige us to never divulge.
Interestingly the anonymity and distance provided by the internet has led to an upsurge in romantic friends online. Facebook for instance allows chance acquaintances that would be unlikely in a normal social sense.
The anonymity and distance underscores a trust and a sense of security previously unknown. The internet has created a new world of cyber-companions and the world is a freer and happier place for it.
Everything that can be controlled is controlled except the thoughts we express to someone whose trust is absolute.
What happens when Orwell’s futuristic ‘boot trampling on a human face’ stamps on the internet?