Nowadays nothing is private: our culture has become too confessional and self-expressive. People think that to hide one’s thoughts or feelings is to pretend not to have those thoughts or feelings. They assume that honesty requires one to express every inclination and impulse.
Adapted from J. David Velleman, “The Genesis of Shame”
Should people make more of an effort to keep some things private? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.
We now live in a liberal society where public expressions of one’s thoughts and feelings are constantly encouraged. These encouragements stem from the idea that it is not a positive action to secretly harbor thoughts which could lead to exclusion from society. At the same time, the raging popularity of various social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Wordpress serves as a medium for people from all walks of life to “blog”, “tweet” and “post” their self-serving opinions with a simple click of their electronic gadgets anytime, anywhere.
Take for example the recent case of the law student, Alvin Tan who is studying in National University of Singapore. He took upon himself to upload videos and images of a woman and himself in compromising positions after their sessions of sexual acts. There was a vehement uproar from the citizens of Singapore. People were enraged that he shamelessly exposed himself online to literally millions of Internet users. What worsened the situation was that Alvin Tan was a student on scholarship paid by taxpayers and was someone who could possibly be a pillar of society in the imminent future. The perpetrator was not apologetic about his act and mentioned in an interview that Singapore is a democratic country where free will of speech is supposed to be supported.
In this particular case, the majority condemned Alvin Tan for his actions and words. However what lifted eyebrows was that there was a group of people who voiced their opinions in saying that there was nothing wrong with what Alvin did. They supported their opinions by saying that porn videos are readily available while artistes who go nude are constantly on magazines and websites published for the general public. “Why should we corner someone who just wanted to express his thoughts and liberal acts when people are doing it all over the world now?”, they questioned.
I feel that it is imperative that we always put things in context. Yes, it is important to share our feelings and thoughts with important people around us. Yes, it is heartening to see people share their good news on social media platforms. But we must know where to draw the line with regards to the content we are sharing. In conclusion, while honesty is a virtue to be extolled; censored honesty is the best policy in today’s society.
Someday, we’ll run into each other again, I know it. Maybe I’ll be older and smarter and just plain better. If that happens, that’s when I’ll deserve you. But now, at this moment, you can’t hook your boat to mine, because I’m liable to sink us both.
In this world, there is nothing scarier than trusting someone. But there is also nothing more rewarding.
The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.
It always hurts more to have and lose than to not have in the first place.
If only we could see the endless string of consequences that result from our smallest actions. But we can’t know better until knowing better is useless.
You will walk differently alone, dear, through a thicker atmosphere, forcing your way through the shadows of chairs, through the dripping smoke of the funnels. You will feel your own reflection sliding along the eyes of those who look at you. You are no longer insulated; but I suppose you must touch life in order to spring from it.
Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.
People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.
The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it.
There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born there, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size, its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter—the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something. Of these trembling cities the greatest is the last—the city of final destination, the city that is a goal. It is this third city that accounts for New York’s high strung disposition, its poetical deportment, its dedication to the arts, and its incomparable achievements. Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness, natives give it solidity and continuity, but the settlers give it passion. And whether it is a farmer arriving from a small town in Mississippi to escape the indignity of being observed by her neighbors, or a boy arriving from the Corn Belt with a manuscript in his suitcase and a pain in his heart, it makes no difference: each embraces New York with the intense excitement of first love, each absorbs New York with the fresh yes of an adventurer, each generates heat and light to dwarf the Consolidated Edison Company… — E.B. White, ‘Here is New York’
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