Why do secrets exist?

For fear and fun.

Humans are both communal and independent. If we feel like any of the thoughts or actions we privately enjoy might cause us public shame, we hide them. We make others promise to hide them.

We’re afraid of being found out, exposed, rejected…

But those private loves can be treasures that give life special meaning. And when we find we share them in common with others, there’s so much joy in joining together over something we know a majority would never understand.

So maybe diving headlong into our silliness, and owning it with those we can share it with, would give secrets a better reason for existing on the whole.

Here’s the objection: What if those private loves of ours are harmful to us or others?

Not to start a big discussion, but I believe it’s actually the shame we’re made to feel that twists our private desires and allows them to mutate and fester (in the dark) until we eventually see ourselves living in ways we once never would have believed ourselves capable of.

Would our secrets turn ugly—from stimulations to destructive addictions, or from odd affinities to brutal abuses—if stripped of their stigmas and pursued together in connected communities?

Who really wants to live with bad secrets, anyway?


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