So I jog from one gate to another in Denver on Saturday. I come screaming into gate B39 only to find a huge mass of people milling around. Obviously, something is very wrong as United hadn’t started boarding yet. Then I notice all the paramedics. And then I notice the guy on the ground. Some poor fella had a heart attack waiting in line to check in to my flight. There were two morbid comments made by people around me. One, “Imagine if he had checked in, boarded, we go in the air, and then he had a heart attack.” Good point. There is no where to land a 777 any place between Denver and Chicago, as far as I know. This guy would have been in really really bad shape by then. The second I made having seen the sign above the gate saying only center seats were available: “I guess he didn’t want a center seat.” Yeah, yeah, I know; I’m going to hell.
So pertaining to the subject line of the email, I have a real estate transaction for one of you. My neighbors downstairs are moving. (They are pregnant and wanted a bigger place, so they bought a town house a few blocks away.) At any rate, their place to totally rocks. It is the inverse of mine, for those of you who have seen it. (You walk in to their living room and then go downstairs to the bedrooms.) They are about to sell this apartment this weekend and wanted me to put the word out that their place, and their parking space, are for sale. I believe they are going to list it at around 320. Let me know immediately if you are interested.
Now onto what I really wanted to write about…
This privacy thing is still bugging me. Consider the following quote from Senator Frank Church (Meet the Press, August 1977):
“At the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left, such [is] the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide. If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back, because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology…
I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency (the National Security Agency) and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.”
What is scary is not the fact that this quote is from 1977 and technology is immeasurably more advanced. What is scary is that this is a Senator talking. This is a man who is part of the elite, and he is deeply afraid. Afraid for himself. If there is no protection for a Senator, what do you and I have?
The simple fact is that you and I aren’t that interesting to the government. Sorry, but it is true. (By the way, if you have ever left the country, the NSA is within its rights to use its technology on you. If you have never left our soil, you are supposedly immuned.)
Shelving the government for a second, there are large corporations that have reams of data on each of us. But I am not concerned. Why? Because what they have is data, pure and simple.
There are two kinds of information about people. The first kind, which I will deem Personal Privacy Data (PPD), is the kind of stuff that the government, corporations, and telemarketers collect. It is data. Hair color. Shopping habits. Credit info. Boring, boring, boring. Sure, in total, that information is vitally important, but it is lifeless.
The second kind of information, which I will deem Intrapersonal Privacy Data (IPD), is the kind of information that you simply do not want anyone else to know unless you give it out. IPD is requisite for any sort of real relationship. It is our soft underbellies. It is deeply personal; information not about us, but information that actually comprises our identity.
The reason why I am not extremely concerned about ECHELON and friends is because it consumes PPD.
Which leads me to the real focus of this pieces: IPD. To be successful at anything, you must share IPD. Why do people fail at sales? Because they share PPD. “If you act now, I can get a special deal for you.” The bullshit salesman fails because all he or she relates in PPD. The really successful salespeople share IPD. They are honest. They truly share their customers pain. They share their own pain. Why do relationships fail? Because people do not trust one another enough to share their IPD. They don’t tell you why they really don’t like Los Angeles. They don’t let the other person see them when they are hurting. They aren’t willing to burden the other person in the relationship with their own problems, but in fact there is no burden at all.
I posit that there are two kinds of people: those who deal in PPD and those who deal in IPD. PPD people work in volume across a shallow level. Their bounds are formed with other people on a PPD level. These are acquaintances-makers. They compare data: car, incoming, who did their eyes. See Queen’s “Is This the World We Created” for more details.
IPD people work on a different level. They are slow to consider anyone a friend or partner because that status takes time to earn. They are more apt to make longer, but fewer bonds with other people.
Both PPD and IPD people have their strengths and weaknesses, which I won’t discuss here.
We live in a society that trades in PPD. I believe, and I could be totally off-base here, that Europe deals more in IPD. (Which quizzically explains the EU’s obsession with personal privacy, but I’m not sure how.)
No real point to this rant, just wanted to make you aware of PPD and IPD.