I’ve got a secret

Christopher Meneses Lopez



[ Introduction not needed. Apply the points made here to the situation with your brother.] It is frequently said that lies are told to protect secrets, establishing a symbiotic and conditional relationship between the two. The idea goes, that If you had nothing to hide, there would be no need for a lie. From simple white lies, to blatant untruths, there is always some truth- a secret – that you are protecting. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph.] Think of the lie as a barrier or gate shielding away that truth. For example, think of a time where you have said this often used expression “Oh sorry. I didn’t see your call my phone was on silent”, when in reality you were ignoring them. The truth might be that you didn’t want to talk to that person, but you would rather hide that secret with a lie. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph.] Moving to even bigger lies, such as for example, lying to your significant other about your whereabouts, you are essentially committing the same act of shielding a secret with a lie. However, in each of the two previous scenarios the choice to commit the lie was your own, and the consequences and moral dilemma of that action rest solely on your shoulders. But, What happens when you are forced to lie for someone else? This adds another factor into the equation – Confidentiality.

Growing up, my older brother had a bad habit of truancy. Him [case: He] and his friends would often skip High [lowercase] school, or leave early, and dabble in juvenile deviancy

. Being five years younger, I was aware of my brother’s habits. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph.] After one day catching my brother, I had sworn to never tell my parents where my brother would run off to. I often found myself lying more than usual to protect my brother from being punished. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph.] Each time I committed the lie, it for some reason, felt very very wrong. Worse than a normal lie. [Relate to class: Keeping a confidentiality puts tremendous burden on the agent.] [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph.] When we develop friendships and close relationship with others, we tend to share secrets, or inadvertently discover people’s secrets. Often times this will place us in uncomfortable situations. When we are forced to keep other peoples secrets and decisions, it not only affect us, but those around us. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph.] When I had to lie for my brother, It felt like I was the one skipping school, as weird as that sounds. I felt a part of the lie. I felt terrible. When you are forced to lie for others, you subconsciously absorb their guilt.

Questions about the situation:

[Do you think the person trying to penetrate the secret had a desire to know, gain control, feel superior, or be intimate?]

[Relate your feelings and insights to the readings. Did people make appeals based on ethos (your sense of honor, loyalty or justice) or pathos (feelings)? Did you carry a burden the way that Edward Snowden said he did?]


[Paragraph repeats earlier points.] I conclude, that when you lie for someone else it adds an uneasy dimension to the act of lying. When you lie for yourself, for better or for worse, you are choosing to face your moral dilemma. But when out of your relationship to another, you are coerced into this moral dilemma, you are not as likely to be on board. I think it comes down to the fact that we would rather be responsible for our own actions than the actions of others. Confidentiality, lies, and secrets are all connected. And if Lies are told to protect secrets, then confidentiality is when you protect the secrets of others.

I’ve got a secret

Close to the end of 8th grade, a new student came to my school. For legal reasons, I’m changing her name to Carmen. Carmen had recently entered the country along with her parents and two siblings. Although she was a new immigrant, she quickly picked up the language which helped hide her family’s biggest secret: they were undocumented. I quickly learned of her legal status given that I was the first and only person she spoke with on her first day of school. Although she never told me why, by the end of the day she asked me not to share with anyone else the details of her legal status.

I never doubted on keeping Carmen’s secret confidential. In fact, it was easy to understand her situation given that I had distant family members who were undocumented. [People keep a secret to protect personal space or a name.] [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph.] My biggest struggle was when it came to lying about it. I was forced to lie when other students wanted to know more about her. I was often tempted to just explain her situation but I couldn’t see myself breaking the promised I had made with Carmen. I sometimes tortured myself with the idea of teachers or authorities asking me about Carmen’s situation and me not being able to lie about it. Fortunately, I was never put in that horrifying scenario. Although my lying was only meant to protect Carmen and her family’s secret, it was an emotional struggle that I never imagined carrying.

Carmen, on the other hand, embrace her secret courageously. By omitting her legal status to others (and sometimes herself), she felt empowered and lived her high school years as if there were no limits. Many undocumented students often shy away from the possibility of university, but Carmen’s secret helped her face reality from another perspective. That same perspective allowed her to excel during her junior year of high school. By her senior year, Carmen was awarded a scholarship as an international student at a community college. Let’s just say that she didn’t lie her way towards that scholarship, but when asked whether she was undocumented or not, she often lied her way out of the question.

Over ten years have passed since Carmen and I first met [comma] and we still remain friends. I kept her secret for many years even if it meant lying in order to protect it. I kept my confidentiality to her and her family who are no longer undocumented. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph.] After eight years of studying and working full-time, Carmen was able to graduate from a great university and received her Bachelor’s Degree [lowercase]. One of her siblings serves in the armed forces of this country while the other is still attending university. Her parents will soon fly back to their native country after twelve years of non-stop labor.

I lied and protected Carmen’s secret until the day she told me it wasn’t necessary to do so. If I had to, I would lie again in order to protect families like Carmen’s even if it means a moral battle and emotional struggle for myself.

I have a Secret

Humans practice the act of communication day in and day out and through that, we involve ourselves in conversations which sometimes can lead to the exposure of a secret. Secrets are meant to hide the truth, whether it is temporary due to a surprise or simply because something went wrong and the truth can’t be told. Sometimes telling a lie to keep a secret is essential to not cause more feud. In many cases, we find ourselves lying to sustain a relationship or simply to not hurt someone else’s feelings.

In my case, I felt the need to keep a secret in order to not hurt the feelings of the person who meant the world to me. I was in a very difficult situation in which I caught my mother’s husband out on a date with another woman. He knew I had seen him and begged me not to say anything and to keep it a secret. I felt so guilty on knowing that my mother was being lied to but I also had just agreed on a promise in which I had to keep confidential.

At one point, my mother felt suspicious and knew something was wrong with her relationship. Her husband was acting different, which gave her a sense of worry. My mother had eventually asked me if I knew anything or had seen something out of the ordinary with her husband.

I felt complete emptiness in my stomach as well as guilt. How could I ever keep a secret from my own mother, especially when she was being taken advantage of? After all, I did keep the secret and did not confirm to my mother that her husband was being unfaithful. The reason why I couldn’t tell her was because I was more scared of hurting her feelings rather than keeping the secret.  At this point, I was in desperation to tell the truth, after all she was my mother in which I felt obligated to protect.

As time passed by, my mother’s husbands secret was about to be revealed. After weeks of her feeling like something was wrong, she caught her husband being unfaithful. At that moment, the secret was no longer sustained. I felt a sign of relief and as if a weight was lifted off my shoulders.

This experience ultimately empowered me to be in control of the situation. If I never caught my mom’s husband in the act of infidelity then he would have kept the secret to himself. Since I found out of his secret, I felt complete and total power over him and at any point his secret could be revealed.  Overall, this experience brought a better understanding to the intersection of lies and secrets. Never depend on a secret or lie because eventually the truth will unfold.

Deresiewicz Solitary Assgn.

[Write short paragraphs. It’s difficult to read or understand one giant blob of text.]

Since, placing myself on this sort of solitary confinement, disconnecting myself from news, and social media essentially, I have found myself experiencing boredom, [period mark] In the text [comma] it is defined as an negative experience of a state. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph] I did however, spend a lot of time thinking and analyzing myself, the people I surround myself with, my behavior, I even began to measure my happiness. I found myself becoming very depressed, sad and crying. This is something I experience when I become stressed or feel alone, which is exactly how I felt during this time of solitude. I can say however, I do however from time to time go into a depressive state but never have I induced it. [How do these feelings relate to the points that Deresiewicz raises in his essay?] [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph] In order to fill the void, I tried to study, and a realized that focusing for longs periods of time did not work for me, maybe because I’m used to looking at Facebook, or Snapchat every ten minutes. Finding social events to attend wasn’t difficult, however mustering up the courage to attend these events was hard. In a social setting, I experience anxiety and I tend to separate myself from the crowd due to my lack of experience in socializing with people.  In the argument about this culture of celebrity, I picture myself and realize how much this truly applies to me. I measure the amount of followers I have on Instagram as we as the number of likes I get on a single picture. It is like having status and people do recognize you from your social media accounts. [good insight] I almost feed off of the amount of attention and love I get from social media and oddly enough it does validate a person to a certain extent, it allows me to feel on top of the world and I do feel as though from social media I sort of developed a small fan base [Keep sentences short.]. I don’t have information that I normally rely on like the weather to make decisions. I usually do not watch the news or weather reports to determine how I will go about my day. I’m pretty good at interpreting the weather on my own based off of how hot, cold or windy it is, along with this innate ability to smell rain, before it actually falls. The news is important as it tells us about the things happening in our cities, states as well as with our government. It keeps us in the know and the younger generation takes it for granted more than any previous generation. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph] We are the Social Media and Internet generation. From my experience the news is a necessary intrusion of our solitude, only because at times news reports can be the fine line between life and death. For example the news may warn us of a predator in the area, it sometimes warns us about natural disasters that may be heading our way, as well as terrorist attacks.  We surely take the news for granted. Most of us do not watch it and are only informed because we are told by our parents and maybe through a fellow friend on facebook, Instagram or snapchat. [How might you act on these insights? How might your media consumption change?]

48 hours blackout

Christopher Meneses Lopez


[What happened during your news blackout?]

In examining the extent to which broadcast media informs our daily decision making processes and how the mass dissemination of information underpins our daily activities, in consciously isolating myself from otherwise ubiquitous outlets of news telecast and broadcasting, I’ve come to understand that there is this stark duality that is present at the epicenter of this endeavor. Though sheltering oneself from the ceaseless bombardment of information may yield positive results given the acquisition of a renewed perspective as a direct consequence of “partial solitude,” it can also contrive sentiments of alienation and estrangement from one’s greater surroundings. Concisely put, as a collective, those in the vicinity of contemporary media have at their disposal a seemingly innumerable amount of sources pertaining to what is happening in the world, yet, with this excess of information, we may find ourselves feeling somewhat desensitized and apathetic about the events that transpire around us. [How do these insights relate to the points that Deresiewicz raises in his essay?] 

Likewise, within contemporary society, we are currently experiencing the collapse of space and time in that the seemingly instantaneous dissemination of information has effectively obscured the role of distance and separation in our daily interactions. Given that the public and private spheres we have come to collectively acknowledge as disparate social spaces have gradually amalgamated into this intangible social space, we can no longer clearly delineate where the distinction between our own personal conceptions ends and where popular perception begins. Within highly interconnected social context, we are invariably influenced by what we see in the media because it is our primary connection to the places we cannot readily perceive given their physical and social distance from our own immediate environment. In alienating one’s self from popular media, there is this almost instant anxiety that sets in from not knowing what is going on around us, in a very significant sense, we have been conditioned to feel as though we “need” to know what is going on around us in order to properly behave. Likewise, there is also the indelible impact social media and mediums such as the Internet have on our personal identities. [How do these insights relate to the points that Deresiewicz raises in his essay?] 

Though we may take comfort in this conception of our internal life as belonging exclusively to us, the external lens of our onlookers through social media has increasingly influenced this intimate understanding of our own autonomous identity. William Deresiewicz, in his poignant piece entitled “The End of Solitude” (2009), he examines the aforesaid notion of self-reflexive contemplation wherein we no longer understand ourselves outside of the public persona we portray on social media. Deresiewicz succinctly expounds upon this idea of validation via the lens of others on social media and how the advent of popular “celebrity” accompanied by the growing interconnectivity as promoted by technological modalities has altered our introspective faculties. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph] Moreover, he argues that, due to this unprecedented degree of “visibility” within our social interaction, physical or technological, there is this extrication of what he describes as “solitude.” Here, solitude denotes the individual’s capacity to properly operate outside of the public sphere; essentially, it is this idea that solitude has been obviated from our daily lives and this has had significant consequences for our individual understanding of self. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph] At the epicenter of his piece, similar to the general purpose of this exercise, there is this focalizing question of individuality, autonomy, anonymity, and connectivity; have we lost the ability to understand ourselves without the validation of others? Have we willing denied ourselves of the inherent virtues of solitude? Though these questions have no real, simple answer given their probing nature, something has changed amongst us, the way in which we understand ourselves and the world around us is now mediated by a mass communication. Henceforth, what this means for us as a collective, in the long run, is up to debate. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph] In this exercise, I have learned that diverting one’s attention form what essentially constitutes our identity introduces a conventional insight that we may be slowly losing, that we can only truly understand ourselves once we step back and assess our own personal motivations, desires, and actions.

48 hours of News Blackout

As I was reading Deresiewicz’s “The End of Solitude”, I was able to understand his arguments on solitude and loneliness. However, it was difficult to relate to it. According to him, I fall under the “new generation” he often refers to, but I do not feel the fear or rejection towards solitude that is often visible among my generation. [good insight]

Perhaps it’s because I grew up in a country where technology was accessible yet limited. Only middle class families had the luxury to own more than one television set, a desktop computer, video game console, etc. Based on my parent’s salary, we were considered middle class and I did grow up with these technologies. However, most of my friends and neighbors didn’t have the same luck which filled my childhood with more hours of playtime our in the streets rather than in front of a screen. [good insight]

When embarking in this 48 hours of news blackout journey, it didn’t really make much of difference. It did, however, caused a conflict between my job given that I work for a television network where I deal with news every minute. I was lucky enough that my boss allowed me to take a personal day on such a short notice. But I must say that the only challenging part of this assignment was related to the weather. I rely on my weather app almost every morning; and not being able to know whether to wear the right shoes or a rain jacket, it was an thrilling experience.

I must say that I completely disagree with “culture of celebrity” Deresiewicz refers to. I’m not an active social media user. Out of the many social media platforms, I only have two in which I barely launch or engage. Disconnecting from news wasn’t a challenge for me. I often do this especially with the hectic lifestyle that I have between my full-time job and full-time at school. I enjoy those moments of solitude even when sometimes it’s just during my hour-long commutes. I often find myself with no radio, no music, simply listening to the road. [good insight]

Despite of all this, I understand the concept of “actionable information”. I try extremely hard to be objective when reading or receiving a piece of information in general, not just news related. This is a very difficult task given that we tend to be subjective when receiving information. News are important, but what’s more important is who, why, and how these pieces of information are being told and received. I do believe news are necessary, but they should not intrude with our solitude. Solitude should come from within, the desire to want to have time apart from everyone and everything should be seeked [sought] regardless of our surroundings, regardless of amount of technology bombarded at us. [good insight]

Assignment 5 48 – hour news blackout

When the professors explained the assignment on Thursday my mouth literally open. NO NEWS FOR 48 HOURS. My main problem wasn’t staying away from the news on TV , it was not being able to look at my Facebook, and the Buzzfeed app on my phone. I’m clearly addicted to social media, like the rest of the population. My phone is always in my hands and I’m constantly checking my apps for any gossip or news that have occurred. This assignment was quite difficult to complete. [How do these feelings relate to the points that Deresiewicz raises in his essay?] 

I couldn’t possibly keep away from news over the weekend. Currently, elections for a new president are taking place in my country, Ecuador. It’s a challenge to get news coverage from Ecuador. The news media in the U.S seems to forget my country exist. Social media like  Facebook and the website Universo.com (the newspaper from Ecuador) is where my family and I must look for what’s going on in Ecuador. Following the directions on the assignment been  extended until Thursday,  I was relieved. I decided to unplug on Monday and Tuesday. I figured it won’t be difficult to achieve this goal. [Relate to Deresiewicz essay.]

Monday was the first official day without news . With so much homework due I thought it would be easy to get my mind off the news. I decided to begin preparing a review for my marketing class, since I have a test next Monday. The first few hours did not seem to bother me,. I was focused and was studying, but suddenly I had this urge to open Facebook and catch on what I had missed for the past two hours. What can I have possibly missed, another engagement post or a baby announcement. I said to myself “No Emilia is not worth it”. I went on with my day without opening any apps on my phone, not even the weather app. I would say the first day was not as difficult as I thought. I did feel an impulse to check my phone, but I had enough courage to avoid the news. [How do these feelings relate to the points that Deresiewicz raises in his essay?] 

On Tuesday, the last day of this madness. I almost failed, because first thing I did when I woke up was to check my Facebook, sad I know. I catch myself almost opening the app and quickly put my phone to the side. I decided that today I would continue with my homework and dedicate all my time to a project. I took a break and decided to stop my grandmother’s house, big mistake. As soon I walked in the first thing out of my aunt mouth was “Did you hear what happen in Ecuador!” Oh, god what now, Jesus I couldn’t even check she quickly turn her phone to me. How do I explain to these people that I can’t know what going on?  Then a sudden anxiety kicked in, my hands were itching to grab my phone, just too see for myself the events that are taking place in my country. I pulled myself together and went on with my day, and unplugged. [How do these feelings relate to the points that Deresiewicz raises in his essay?] 

Therefore, I think this assignment really taught me that I take the amount of news I received through varies form of medias for granted. We all have the privilege to have this small little device that allow us to have the news in our hand. [How do these experiences relate to the points that Deresiewicz raises in his essay?]