Secrets, Part One

Black-Box

 

I’m troubled.

 

I wish I could tell you why. But I can’t.

 

It’s a secret.

 

Don’t misunderstand me. It’s not that I’m protecting myself. I’m protecting you.

 

I wouldn’t want you to get hurt.

 

I’m simply considering your feelings.

 

That’s a good thing, don’t you think?

 

There are some things you’re better off not knowing.

 

Surely you agree.

 

I suppose one could say that you have a “right” to know. Since it does concern you. Intimately, to be honest. But trust me: you don’t want to know this.

 

Try to see things from my point of view. I know something you don’t. So I have to ask myself: what purpose would be served by disclosing it?

 

Don’t talk to me about truth.

 

It’s precisely in the interest of truth that I’m not revealing my secret. It would just distract you from the truth. That’s how I see it. The broader, truer truth of the matter.

 

No, no, it is for me to say. After all, I’m the one who knows. I have a responsibility here.

 

Anyway, it’s my decision, and I’ve decided.

 

You should thank me, really. I’m the one carrying the weight of this. I know what it could do to you. How upset you would be. Probably. You’re liberated, is the way I see it. You can get on with your life. You’re welcome, by the way.

 

In the end — you have to admit the wisdom in this — the only way we manage to get through life is to deny ourselves knowledge of certain things. Look at what Primo Levi writes in The Periodic Table. He ultimately spent a year in the Auschwitz concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. But before that, in 1942, when he and other Jews were living and working in Milan, he managed to dismiss the rumors of genocide as incredible: “Our ignorance allowed us to live, as you are in the mountains, and your rope is frayed and about to break, but you don’t know it and feel safe.”

 

So feel safe. Revel in your ignorance. Live.

 

 

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