...... but psychologists say that most normal adults are well equipped to start a secret life, if not to sustain it. The ability to hold a secret is fundamental to healthy social development, they say, and the desire to sample other identities - to reinvent oneself, to pretend - can last well into adulthood. And in recent years researchers have found that some of the same psychological skills that help many people avoid mental distress can also put them at heightened risk for prolonging covert activities.I think that societal pressures in Kuwait have forced many Kuwaitis to lead secret lives in one form or another, away from their regular everyday existences. The Internet's various tools - blogs, forums, chat rooms etc. - have allowed many to invent a totally new persona for themselves, and have unleashed a range of talents, voices and experiences that were previously suppressed or perhaps undiscovered.
"In a very deep sense, you don't have a self unless you have a secret, and we all have moments throughout our lives when we feel we're losing ourselves in our social group, or work or marriage, and it feels good to grab for a secret, or some subterfuge, to reassert our identity as somebody apart," said Dr. Daniel M. Wegner, a professor of psychology at Harvard. He added, "And we are now learning that some people are better at doing this than others."
Thursday, January 13, 2005
From the New York Times (free registration required)