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General Discussions => Education => Philosophy => Topic started by: DiamondBladee on March 01, 2016, 06:00:39 pm

Title: Given a secret... What's okay?
Post by: DiamondBladee on March 01, 2016, 06:00:39 pm
You're given some secret information.  What's okay to do with this?  Consider as many scenarios as possible.

Given a secret, that person trusts me with the information.  Therefore, the person is also trusting my actions regarding such information.  That's my view.

When is it okay to take an action with their information?  Only if it helps the person giving the secret in an important way?
Title: Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
Post by: AnonyMs on March 01, 2016, 06:16:58 pm
I always keep confidences. There very few circumstances where I would not and I've never encountered on in real life.
Title: Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
Post by: DiamondBladee on March 01, 2016, 06:38:04 pm
I've done it less than I have fingers on my hand.  I actually told the person ahead of time that I wanted to share the information, and each time I did this I was praised for offering to share some info that they didn't feel comfortable sharing themselves.  I mean, as long as its genuine, I guess.
Title: Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
Post by: Tysilio on March 01, 2016, 09:25:25 pm
I agree -- if you're told something in confidence, you need the person's permission to share it with anyone else.
Title: Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
Post by: sparrow on March 02, 2016, 12:19:28 am
If somebody is at risk of doing serious harm to themselves or somebody else, then you've got a moral imperative to share that info.  Otherwise... get permission.
Title: Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
Post by: Cindy on March 02, 2016, 01:16:40 am
Understanding boundaries is a difficult task. If a secret breaks a moral imperative then it can be broken in a caring and careful way. If someone is going to suicide or hurt someone you have an imperative to seek help for them. That needs to be done professionally and never publicly.

I know many secrets. I work in the health system. A confidence is legally binding, I can and only would release a confidence if the person was in danger of harm or of harming others. I would then only release the confidence to a fellow professional who could intervene to prevent such harm.

As for general confidences remember the Hell's Angels saying. You can have a secret between three people as long as two are dead. I think even then there are exceptions!
Title: Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
Post by: janetcgtv on March 02, 2016, 01:21:45 am
Slight difference with Sparrow.

No such thing as getting their permission.
ONLY they are the only one to tell their secret.
Otherwise they may think you betrayed them(even when asking for permission).
Keeping a friendship is more important then blabbing about it and also loosing your friend for life.
YOU may never be trusted by them again.

Janet

PS   For Cindy if you are a Hells Angel, if another Angel committed a major crime and you were charged with it
you pay for the crime not blabbing on him. (per movie called Wild Angels)
Title: Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
Post by: IdontEven on March 02, 2016, 09:39:57 am
If someone is going to suicide [...] you have an imperative to seek help for them.

I disagree with this. For one thing, you're removing agency from the person. You shouldn't get to decide who lives and dies for anybody except yourself. You're betraying their confidence. I've personally not talked about certain things with people and healthcare professionals precisely because of this. I may want to talk about it to get some outside perspective or help with emotional processing, but if I decide that dying is the right thing for me to do I don't want someone to remove that option. The fact that I can't talk about my darkest thoughts because I know what will happen has brought me closer to doing it than I otherwise would have if I could actually talk about it to get some emotional support.

To remove the ability to get relief from being tormented is a cruel thing to do to someone.
Title: Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
Post by: Dee Marshall on March 02, 2016, 10:42:50 am
I kinda agree with you IDon'tEven, except that some of us are mandated by law to report it if someone expresses suicidal thoughts and has a plan. That was a hard thing for me to get my head around given that I've contemplated it myself at times.
Title: Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
Post by: AnonyMs on March 02, 2016, 11:04:35 am
The topic of suicide is very unclear to me, and while I'd be interested in exploring it I'm not sure its something that should be discussed here?
Title: Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
Post by: KathyLauren on March 02, 2016, 11:12:49 am
No such thing as getting their permission.
...
Otherwise they may think you betrayed them(even when asking for permission).
I disagree with this.  Asking for permission is just asking for permission.  It is not a betrayal.  If the permission is refused, then I keep the secret.  If permission is granted, then it is no longer a secret, subject to the terms of the permission.
Title: Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
Post by: Tessa James on March 02, 2016, 12:37:26 pm
Hey does this community know a thing about secrets or what! ;D  I am still conflicted by the length of time I kept a secret and asked my partner to do so too.  Asking someone to keep a big secret is a challenging burden especially if keeping that secret means I stayed in the closet too long or did not share a truth that might have bettered my life situation sooner.

And then consider our coming out experiences.  It was amazing to me how some people could not wait to tell everyone the "news" about me.   I often asked people to let me tell my own story to our mutual friends and acquaintances.  I might as well have asked them to broadcast it please ;)

Secrets, governments and soap operas could not exist with out them it seems? ;D
Title: Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
Post by: cindianna_jones on March 02, 2016, 12:51:19 pm
I'm a steel trap when it comes to secrets AND gossip. I tell no one. I've never been faced with a confidence regarding a suicide. I'm not sure how I would handle that. It would depend on the situation, I suppose. If I could intervene, I would.
Title: Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
Post by: Tysilio on March 02, 2016, 02:41:49 pm
Quote
I'm a steel trap when it comes to secrets AND gossip.

Just so -- even if we disappoint our friends by not gossiping.

I do think that if someone's secret involves their potential for "harming self or others," that makes an ethical difference.  Suicidality is very often, but not always, connected to depression, and dissipates when the depression is treated. Breaking confidentiality is required of professionals in this situation, and the rest of us may also be required to put helping someone who is suicidal ahead of violating their confidence. But if it's possible to get the person's permission to seek help for them, we should do that.

I'd also point out that therapists, for example, get clients' permission ahead of time, at the start of the relationship, to break confidentiality in that situation -- I've never known a therapist who didn't have new clients sign a release to the effect that they understand this.

But if someone is suicidal, with reason, and not depressed -- for example if they're terminally ill and they need out -- it's not our job to prevent them from acting in their own interest.
Title: Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
Post by: schwarzwalderkirschtort on March 02, 2016, 06:33:57 pm
Confidentiality unless it causes someone else harm.

I'd rather lose a friend than let somebody get hurt.
Title: Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
Post by: Claire_Sydney on March 02, 2016, 06:35:47 pm
People have said that it is appropriate to disclose a secret if keeping the confidence may result in harm to the confidant or another person. That's true, but only to a limited extent. In a social context, the real question is whether the potential harm of revealing the secret outweighs the potential harm of keeping the secret. This must consider ALL consequences for all parties.

Most people would want to keep a friends HIV-positive status secret. They might consider breaking confidence if their friend concocted elaborate plans to kill the individual who infected them. But what if the friend only planned to assault the person who infected them? What if the friend only planned to smash up their house? Or kill their dog, or let down their tyres, or send them a nasty note?

The decision about when to break social confidence requires (a) an objective ability to foresee all the consequences of both options, and (b) good judgement to determine which course of action results in the least harm overall.

It's a little different in the professional context. I work in a profession which is based on a foundation of integrity and confidence. You need to be able to tell lawyer anything, even if you murdered someone.

The professional threshold varies slightly by both profession and location. The conduct rules permit me to break confidence 'to prevent imminent serious physical harm to [my] client or another person' or to avoid the 'probable commission of a serious criminal offence.'

Most confidential professions have very unambiguous guidelines, and 24-hour access to ethical advisors to help with a decision, if needed. This is because it's not always clear whether harm is imminent, or whether a crime is probable or not.


Title: Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
Post by: cindianna_jones on March 02, 2016, 06:37:05 pm
Sometimes a suicide attempt is a cry out for help. I could not in good conscience share that information. But if I knew someone were absolutely set on suicide, I'd get in the middle of it. Friends of mine know that up front, so perhaps it isn't a conundrum for me. I'll never get that opportunity?
Title: Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
Post by: Tysilio on March 02, 2016, 09:05:51 pm
I hope you're never in that position. But whether you are someday or not, that's an attitude which makes you a heckuva good friend.
Title: Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
Post by: Paul Muad-Dib on March 03, 2016, 04:31:16 am
Recently a close relative of mine disclosed some information that they were sexually abused as a child. The first thing I wanted to know was by whom but this was something they refused to divulge to me.

On the one hand they asked me to keep it a secret; on the other I got the strong impression whoever committed this abuse is still among us and because of that I really, really wanted to root them out. Obviously the reason for that is because they might always do it again, and ruin someone else's life. Now if I HAD been a party to the name of the abuser, I think that is game-changing information I would find myself struggling not to act upon. The person telling me knew it would be too, which is why they didn't say.

In most scenarios I would keep confidence. In some though, like child abuse... well if you know the name of the person who did it and may still be doing it... would that be something you keep under your hat?
Title: Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
Post by: IdontEven on March 03, 2016, 08:30:30 am
I'm not sure how I feel about that one. On the one hand, I know that when something like that happens the victim has a lot of feelings that can go against wanting that information to get out. They're embarrassed and ashamed, they don't want to be seen as damaged goods, they don't want to do something that could put them in the spotlight such as having to testify or give a statement to the police, etc etc. It's not unheard of for the police to be unsympathetic and "strongly encourage" them to not press charges. Having the world, or your little part of it, find out what happened to you is a re-traumatizing event. I've heard people say that if something happens to you then you owe it to any other future victims to come forward, but that's an easy thing to say when it hasn't happened to you. How did it suddenly become the victim's responsibility?

Abusers are very often close family friends or relatives, and it's not uncommon for family to side with them over the victim, at least as far as wanting it to be swept under the rug. You can be seen as a troublemaker, or worse, if you go forward with it. If it goes to court it's now a very public event, with the circle of people that knows what happened to you ballooning to who knows how many people. If the prosecutor fails to win a conviction, then what happens? If you are too young or unable to support yourself then you're now trapped and you've basically antagonized the abuser. If you're not then what do you do? Move far away from your entire support network? Beg a friend to let you live with them so you can feel safe enough to sleep some nights?

So if someone confides in you that something were done to them, are you going to take it upon yourself to do the right thing for them, when they're the ones that will face whatever the consequences are? Are you going to be there every time they start freaking out in the middle of the night because the situation has escalated and it's too much for them to handle?

On the other hand, abusers do need to be stopped somehow, before they hurt anyone else. So I don't know what the answer is.
Title: Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
Post by: AnonyMs on March 03, 2016, 09:22:10 am
I'd rather lose a friend than let somebody get hurt.

I realized that I don't tend to think of it like that. For me its more abstract, what's right and wrong, and also more about me. Perhaps more like personal honor. I'm not sure losing a friend really compares to that. I wonder if I'm odd?
Title: Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
Post by: Tysilio on March 03, 2016, 12:44:07 pm
If the person who told you this is an adult, they have an absolute right not to disclose the identity of the abuser, for all the reasons given above. The consequences of disclosing will fall on them, and it's not your place or anyone else's to decide "what's best for them." That's a very demeaning, disrespectful thing for one adult to do to another.

If the person is a child, it's more complicated, but I assume that's not what we're discussing here.
Title: Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
Post by: janetcgtv on March 03, 2016, 01:25:59 pm
To elaborate that I feel that even asking for permission is an act of betrayal:

Why do you want to tell others about my secret?
Can't you keep your mouth closed?
I trusted you because I wanted you as a close friend.
IT is my secret to tell NOT yours.
Will I be able to trust you again without worrying about you asking my permission?

I have a friend who had a hysterectomy and asked me not to tell anyone. And I did so.
Friendship is more important than even having the potential of ever losing a friend.
She eventually  told others as it was her secret to tell not me.

She and her sister tell me when they tell me something to not tell the other sister.
My lips are sealed

Janet
Title: Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
Post by: Paul Muad-Dib on March 03, 2016, 04:16:07 pm
That's a very demeaning, disrespectful thing for one adult to do to another.


It certainly was, but not for the reasons you mean. They told me because they wanted to make the point that the abuse I suffered as a child was "worth less" than the abuse they suffered as a child; i.e. they used it as an excuse to justify what they did to me. So it was quite demeaning, really. For me.

People keeping silence about a child molester is something I have some issues with; but particularly when the one they abused went on to screw up my life, too, as my parent. After all, the cycle of abuse has to be broken. I would quite like the person who ruined more than one life by way of what they did to face some kind of justice, but I know they never will, so never mind, I guess.

But that's beside the point. It is an interesting question to ask anyone what they would do. My opinion is colored by the fact I am involved directly in it as a family situation. And in that case you're damned right I'd decide what's best. 

If it was some completely unrelated person then no, that's more their business than mine if they're an adult.
Title: Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
Post by: IdontEven on March 03, 2016, 08:06:23 pm
I'm sorry for your personal connection to anything so awful, and the consequences it's had for your life. Justice would be good, but sadly it seems pretty rare in this world.
Title: Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
Post by: Paul Muad-Dib on March 04, 2016, 06:42:17 am
Np, it's made me into a person who doesn't take <poo> from anybody.

On topic, thinking about it I've been told some pretty awful secrets by people, and most things are fine to just hear and ignore. Some of them darkly funny in their own way. I mean one person confessed to me of stealing someone's ashes because they didn't want someone else to be the one to bury them (family infighting), and filling their casket with charcoal or something like that, so the other person buried some charcoal with great ceremony. I mean that's just hilarious in an awful way, but none of my business really. I kept the secret from who it was supposed to be kept from. Wouldn't do any good telling them anyway.

So I thought a while about this question and came to the conclusion that most secrets are fine. I'd only really have a problem if someone came to me and told me they'd got ten people in their freezer or were abusing kids. Yep, I'd turn on my best friend if they turned out to be a murderous sex pest. Gotta draw the line somewhere.

I wouldn't care if they robbed a bank or whatever. In fact I know people who are serial fraudsters and can't help concocting one scheme after another to fake this or forge that, and it's fairly harmless since they're so inept. It's like a bad TV show.
Title: Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
Post by: Claire_Sydney on March 06, 2016, 02:10:23 am


...can't help concocting one scheme after another to fake this or forge that, and it's fairly harmless since they're so inept. It's like a bad TV show.

Hilarious. I know who NOT to call if I need a new passport to sneak out of the country..
Title: Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
Post by: Paul Muad-Dib on March 06, 2016, 06:10:14 pm
Yup,
near gasses himself trying to gold plate worthless metals in his shed... and much more...