[COLUMN] On obscurity

TWO geckos named, Juan and Pedro, were sunning themselves perched atop a rock. Juan sighed and whined.

“Our lot is cursed. We exist but are good for nothing. We’re not important in the scheme of creation. The world ignores us and takes us for granted.

He then said wistfully, “I wish I was born a stag, with magnificent antlers, strutting about in the woodlands to the admiration of all.”

He was interrupted just then, startled by the sound of a pack of wild, rabid barking dogs in hot pursuit of a stag. Its antlers got caught in the bushes. The dogs then pounced on the poor hapless stag, tearing it to bloody pieces right before Juan and Pedro’s very eyes.

“And you wish to be a stag?” asked the wiser Pedro.

With profound apologies to Aesop for the liberties taken with the original story, this ancient fable illustrates how men often think that others in the limelight lead enviable, charmed, lives.

Countless ordinary human beings sitting in the sidelines would like nothing more than to swap what they think are their humdrum lives with those in the public eye, no matter how notorious or infamous. Think of the Kardashians and their ilk.

Time and again, popular media serves up celebrity stories that serve as cautionary tales. It seems that during this era, obscurity is ironically fast becoming more of a blessing. During this unsettling, invasive information age when fewer and fewer things can be hidden, held sacred or mysterious any more, privacy will come at a steep price, and will be valued like diamonds.

Social media can be too intrusive if you place too much information for the world to see. If you can, restrain yourself from putting too much out there. You might live to regret it, as some already have.

In Spain, there is a landmark lawsuit leveled against Google asking the search engine company to delete all references to a group of people who claim that as human beings, they have the right to be forgotten.

On May 2014, the European courts have agreed that Google must respect the right of individuals to be forgotten. Internet companies in that part of the world, can be made to delete irrelevant or excessive personal information from search engine results. The court ruling is a small victory for those who value their privacy but it is a start.

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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Nota Bene: Monette Adeva Maglaya is SVP of Asian Journal Publications,  Inc. To send comments, e-mail monette.maglaya@asianjournalinc.

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