Few years ago I was at a party with one of my best friends. Everything was alright until a couple of girls approached us and we decided to take a couple of drinks with them. The problem with the whole situation is that my friend had a girlfriend at the time and I knew her at a personal level. I had dinned [SP: dined] on [at] my friend’s girlfriend [girlfriend’s] house, and she had talked to me about her problems and other personal things. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph.] As we were talking and drinking [comma] the situation started to go to a different level, and at the end my friend ended up kissing one of the girls we were talking with. The party ended and my friend and I went home, but he asked me to please keep the secret and do not say anything to his girlfriend. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph.] It was a significantly difficult situation because I used to see my friend’s girlfriend almost on a daily basis [Relate to class: Keeping a confidentiality puts tremendous burden on the agent.] . The first time I saw her after the party [comma] she asked me about how the night went, and I had to fake a smile and say that the night was kind of boring and that we just talked to the people around. When she saw my face [comma] she instantly knew something was off, and asked me again what happened. I pretended that everything was alright and that I was just tired, but my heart wanted to escape from my chest.

The whole situation gave me a strong sense of power. I knew that I could essentially make my friend do whatever I wanted due to the nature of the secret that I knew about him. Nevertheless, I never took advantage of the situation and I kept it confidential until this day. The fact that I knew a secret of that caliber strengthened our friendship to the point that now we blindly trust each other. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph.] The problem was that his girlfriend tried to unveil the secret for a long time [Relate to class: Do you think she was trying to penetrate the secret to know, gain control, feel superior, or be intimate?] . She kept asking me about the party for a couple of weeks afterwards, and in all honesty it was a really bad experience. There is nothing worse than having to coldly lie to somebody in their face after they have displayed such hospitality [She was nice? Or was she hostile?] towards you.  It was to a certain extent similar to having to perpetually maintain a facade. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph.] I thought at a certain point about telling her the truth, but I was not going to do it due to the prima facie duty of maintaining the secret [good insight]. I justified the lie by the fact that my friend had commented me in the past that she had done some terrible things to him. Whenever she asked [comma]I always tried to go back to those conversations with my friend about her. Although I knew it was not a justification, it was the only way I could hold the lie. Moreover, I also feel that to a certain degree the whole situation lowered my resistance towards the pathological and the irrational, it made more Machiavellian.

Assignment 6: I’ve got a secret

[Keep paragraphs short. No one wants to read giant blocks of text.] My sister was applying for medical schools, and at this time, she had already received 3 rejection letters and she was convinced that she would not make it into any medical school after all her years of hard work [run-on sentence]. I had picked up the mail one afternoon and saw that my sister had received a letter from a medical school. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph.] My mother, who felt sorry for my sister, decided to open up the letter without my sisters [sister’s] permission to see if she had gotten in or not, just in case she was rejected from another school. Unfortunately, my sister did not make it into that school. My mother was upset, [no comma] and made me promise that I would not tell my sister that we got her letter, opened it, and hid it from her. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph.] I felt guilty because I knew my sister was waiting for a response from this school. But I also felt like I had to lie to her because my mother had asked me too, and because I did not want to see her cry over another rejection letter [Relate to class: Keeping a confidentiality puts tremendous burden on the agent.]. I was in a compromising position because she would come home and ask if she had received a letter specifically from that school that she did not get in to for about two weeks. It was uncomfortable to say the least to be lying everyday [two words] to her face. But I knew it was for her benefit, because her knowing that she got rejected from yet another school, she would have wanted to give up before she had even gotten accepted anywhere [run-on sentence]. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph.] I felt guilty because I knew my sister was waiting for a response from this school. But I also felt like I had to lie to her. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph.] Fortunately, since that last rejection letter, she was accepted into 3 schools over the next few weeks. My mom and I did eventually tell her what we did. At first, she was bothered that we opened her medical school letters without her permission and kept it from her, but she did later come to understand our reasoning behind what we did.

I did have to constantly lie to my sister for two weeks in order to guard my mother’s and my secret, which is why secrecy and lying are linked together. In order to guard our secret, I had to lie. I would either tell my sister that I didn’t know if the mail had gotten to the house yet or that her letter from the school had not gotten there yet. Keeping this secret did give me a sense of empowerment because I was controlling the flow of information to my sister. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph.] In a way, I also felt like I was controlling her happiness by her not receiving bad news. Though I was withholding information, for her own benefit, I was still not sharing a piece of information that she had every right to know. I tried to make sure that the fourth rejection letter did not affect her emotional state. In this case, my lie did not cause my sister and I to argue or bring us apart, but this does not always happen. In most cases, even if you lie to protect someone, it can break up your relationship.

Valeria Ferreiro

Valeria Ferreiro

I’ve got a secret

[Eliminate introduction and apply insights to the story.] When I think back to when I have lied or have been lied to [comma] I can’t help but wonder if it was the right thing to do at the time. Sometimes, one lies and doesn’t realize the consequences that come with it. Other times you must lie to protect someone or yourself, depending on the situation. Does that justify the lie or the secrets kept?

Not too long ago I was put in a difficult situation by one of my closest friends. I don’t think they [more than one?] realized how asking me to keep this secret could affect me in a negative way [Relate to class: Keeping a confidentiality puts tremendous burden on the agent.] . I think they just needed my help and didn’t know any other way to ask for it. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph.] I had to lie to people I was very close to and that is not something I am comfortable doing, because I know how easy it is to lose someone’s trust and how hard it is to gain it back. It meant that I had to go against what I believed in [Relate to readings. Were you angry at having to lie or otherwise act contrary to your morals to protect the secret?] and set aside pathos and ethos and be more rational since my credibility could be ruined from the secrets and lies.

Once people started to notice something had changed [comma] they started to question me, [no comma] because they knew I was the closest person to my friend and he always told me everything. It wasn’t up to me to disclose the information that was shared with me. The lies had already gone too far and if they stopped at that point I would have been the one to blame. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph.] Secrets lower resistance to the irrational and pathological and ultimately alter judgment.  This secret would not have put anyone in any danger but could have affected a group of people, it was in their best interest to not know about it [run-on sentence] [Relate the insights to the readings and lectures.].

Lies need justification and I had no idea how to justify the lies that had been told. I had more power than I knew what to do with. If I would’ve given in to all the questions and intrusions [Relate to class: Do you think the people trying to penetrate the secret had a desire to know, gain control, feel superior, or be intimate?] [comma]I would have embarrassed my closest friend and offended many others, but if I kept lying I would have buried myself more. I felt like I was in an awkward position because I didn’t want to favor one person before another and people were basically asking me to choose sides. I decided to avoid my friends and stick with the same lies I had been giving. After a couple of weeks [comma] everyone moved on with their own lives and didn’t ask any more questions.

This isn’t so simple when it comes to government lies and secrets, its [SP: it’s] more complex. The media wants to know more so they can tell their audience, and everyone has a desire to know and feel like they have the power. Everyone wants answers either from the source or other media, and when news stories don’t add up it makes people look bad, no one likes being embarrassed [run-on sentence].

Solitude-The I and the Self.

When analyzing the idea of solitude presented by Deresiewicz I found myself but in a different perspective. Yes, it is true that this is the era where the self revolves about the concept of being recognized by others. Nevertheless, when it comes to me [comma] I find the necessity to be recognized not to nurture the ego, but rather as requirement in order to be able to shape our society. In order to be able to alter the pillars of our civilization [comma] we need to be recognized by its members. I utilize the media as a vehicle to make humanity reflect about their decisions, but not to glorify my ideals.

In addition, despite the fact that I constantly lucubrate about the state of my “self,” it is a quite remarkable experience to consciously perform this act. I find solitude a necessary companion in order to create and innovate, in order to explore the depth of my soul. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph] Nevertheless, because the disconnection from the world in this case was not performed due to an intrinsic desire, but rather due to an order, my self did not totally embrace it. In this case [comma] the analytical bifurcation between the I and the self that solitude usually provides to me turned into some sort of antagonistic relationship between what I needed to do and what I wanted to do.  [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph] Consequently, despite the fact that I found the “journey” unpleasant, it is the quintessence of the ideas presented by Deresiewicz.  Solitude allowed me to further expand the concept that I have of my self, it served me as shovel to excavate my soul and find fragments that I did not know it contained.

Furthermore, due to the fact that I was aware of the findings that I was making about my self during the process, I decided to eschew the use of faux social activities to alleviate the anxiety that the situation produced.  It was sine qua non to explore all the emotions that the seclusion provoked inside of me to be able to fully understand my rebellious nature. If I would have alleviated the excruciating pain, I would have not understood how the rebellious part of my self ushered my behavior. Now I am able to comprehend that it constitutes a considerably large part of the reason why I behave in a certain fashion. [good insight]

Finally, it is also interesting how the lack of information about the external world affected my mechanism to take decisions. As an example, since I had no information about traffic I went to places 30 minutes before the regular time I regularly traveled to my destinations. The lack of information made me carefully analyze my surroundings, to the extent that it generated a sense of insecurity inside the self. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph] We take access to careful information about our surroundings for granted, and when we lose it the self falls into a state of commotion. Such necessity for information reflects how our primitive fear of the “unknown” shapes our perception of life. As a result, it can be claimed that news are a necessary intrusion to our solitude. They reinforce the notions of security that the self has. [How do these insights relate to the points that Deresiewicz raises in his essay?] 

48 hour news blackout

I knew that starting this weekend without any news was going to be a difficult task, but I didn’t know it would be basically impossible. My 48-hour blackout started in the morning, I logged off all my social media accounts, in order not to be tempted to look at any news. I even went as far as asking my family to not talk to me about anything that’s happening around the world.

Everything was going smoothly until two hours in [period mark] I started to wonder if I was missing out on anything. I knew that it couldn’t be anything too major because it had only been two hours, but I still had the urge to grab my phone and go on Facebook. Instead I went outside and played basketball with my brother to distract myself. When I went back inside I immediately opened Facebook. It wasn’t until I saw that I was logged off that I remembered that I couldn’t read about any news. It was almost as though it was instinct to just pick up my phone and click on the app. [How do these experiences relate to the points that Deresiewicz raises in his essay?] 

It’s not just Facebook that fills our heads with news and information that is happening all around us, [period mark] any site gives you an idea of what people are talking about. I had to completely disconnect myself and the scary thought was that I didn’t know how. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph] Even while I’m out with friends or having a family get together I find myself updating my Snapchat, posting on Instagram or searching through Twitter. It’s like I have a need to give my followers a play by play of my life, even though at the end of the day no one cares. [How do these experiences relate to the points that Deresiewicz raises in his essay?] 

The first night of my news block out was the toughest part. I usually fall asleep with the television on watching a late-night show or even a news channel. That night I had to turn off my television, silence my phone and just go straight to sleep because I knew Jimmy Fallon would joke about something on the news that day. I kept wondering what was happening? Did Trump say something that made everyone outraged? Will it rain tomorrow or just be humid? I started to feel isolated from the world. I didn’t like it at all. I was anxious to know what everyone else knew and I couldn’t just sit still a take a nap like I would have liked.

Deresiewicz says that we live in the Web age that relates to the fear of being alone.  I completely agree. I noticed that I was out of the loop in everything. News is just thrown in our faces, even if you aren’t looking for it.  We take it for granted and don’t even notice until we disconnect. I knew about things happening on the other side of the world that I won’t ever have to deal with but someone had posted about it on their site and now it was available to be and everyone else. We let others think for us and let them convince us of things that we don’t know about just because they showed us a five minute video about it on YouTube. It’s time to start thinking for ourselves.




The Impacts of a Secret

Feeling compelled to lie, in order to keep a secret, is a very uncomfortable act. I was asked to keep a secret that, if exposed, could potentially split a family apart. I was stuck in between exposing the truth or preserving a lie.

The moment I agreed to keep a very confidential secret, I was put in the middle of two opposite ends. My ability to be honest with myself and those who were unaware of the secret was jeopardized. I had accepted the challenge of keeping the secret, thus I faced all the consequences that came with it. My promise solely benefitted the one who told me the secret. If I chose to spill the secret it would ruin a lifelong friendship, but if I chose to maintain the secret, I would lose honesty with myself and those unaware of the truth.

As professor Blevens mentioned in the lecture, secrecy is important as it speaks to a great deal of power. Therefore, I was empowered. I had the ability to choose between exposing the secret or maintaining it. Secrecy nurtures the growth of lies. My friend’s secret guarded my lies, and my lies guarded her secrets. I was compelled to lie in order to cover my friend’s secret [Relate to class: You kept a confidentiality out of a prima facie duty and to show loyalty to a peer.]. When family members tried to penetrate the secret, it felt as if I was lying to myself. I knew the truth, and I was forced into a pact that ended up affecting my life [Relate to class: A secret can hurt people, intended or not.] .

I promised my confidentiality, which as a result, required justification for my lies. My friend did not need to justify her secret.  I covered my friend’s secret to others [by] appealing to ethos [good insight] . I needed to sound credible and “honest” in my lies in order to prevent any problems that could come about if the secret was exposed. Not only was keeping a secret uncomfortable, but it was an unwanted thought that lingered inside my head. I was emotionally affected through pathos. My friend’s secret caused me to feel sympathy which led me to honor my promise [good insight].

There are different degrees of secrets. Exposing this secret would have done a lot of harm, but if it were a minor secret, the consequences are less serious and as a result, they would not cause much impact.

Keeping my friend’s secret meant sustaining her privacy. Her reputation was controlled, she was protected against scorn and ridicule and it kept others from entering in her personal life [good insight]. The issue with this, though, is that her secret had an effect on her family. Keeping a secret that has this much influence on a family means that I was hiding the truth from many people that sooner or later would be affected.

The decision to keep a secret doesn’t only mean I was holding a large amount of responsibility, but I had to prepare myself to also cover the secret with lies, causing me to become part of the problem [Did keeping the secret have unintended consequences?].


I’ve Got A Secret

When my best friend—Michael— [no dashes] introduced me to his new girlfriend, Katie, her [case: she] and I befriended each other immediately and built an unbreakable bond over the course of their relationship. So it was to my surprise, however, fast forwarding four years later after swearing me to secrecy, that Katie chose to disclose to me that she had been unfaithful to my best friend for the last eight months and was now realizing she was in love with the other guy [run-on sentence at this point]; [comma, not semicolon, extending the sentence] therefore, [no comma] going to end her and Michael’s relationship in order to be with him—strongly emphasizing that in order to end things on good terms with Michael and maintaining her reputation unscathed, no one could never find out there had been someone else in the picture .  As explained by Professor Blevens in the “I’ve Got A Secret” lecture, privacy is important—amongst other reasons— [commas, not dashes] on account of its role in promotion of one’s autonomy and protection against scorn; hence, where Katie’s need for vowed secrecy comes into play [sentence fragment].

Despite the friendship we had developed, she knew it was no comparison to me and Michael’s [agreement] friendship of 14 years [comma] and he would always take precedence over her. So I was perplexed with her telling me this as means to establish a bond, since I was now put in a lose/lose situation. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph.] All I kept thinking about was how I would not be able to live with myself in keeping this from him and despite going against my own morals and values [Relate your feelings and insights to the readings. Did she 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?] I decided to stick to my word and immediately felt enslaved by this secret I had to keep [run-on sentence]. All I could ponder on was how Michael was so clueless to the situation, all the while, Katie achieved empowerment by having complete control over how to manipulate the situation to go according to her own [SP: their] specifications—no one doubting her or questioning her on her motives since—to everyone else’s knowledge—there was nothing to hide [run-on sentence]. Her and Michael were together and happy and that’s all everyone needed to know.

The fact this secret was a secret within itself unsettled me. If perhaps Michael started feeling things were off and asked for my input, that could’ve granted me a little leeway in hinting at certain things without completely betraying my promise to Katie, but this wasn’t the case. Our friends and acquaintances didn’t have any suspicions either, [period mark] Katie played her role well, so no one questioned her credibility—not to her and especially not to me.

When the truth came out and I confessed my prior knowledge of the situation to Michael, I could barely justify it to him due to that fact I never actually lied, [period mark] I simply did not disclose information. As much as I tried to take a rational approach in it all, Michael struck me with his use of pathos—expressing anguish caused by his best friend “not having his back.[an appeal to ethos] His approach made me feel that much more sympathetic and, if ever in a similar situation again, I would know that keeping a secret like that only lowers my resistance and, above all, hurts people. Safe to say I would do things differently if the opportunity presented itself. [Relate the insights to the readings and lectures.]