Privacy is Less a Right than an Art

Privacy is less a right than an art. And only an art form allows the oxymoron of being private in public to stand true. Actors, after all, have experimented for millennia with the concept of privacy as an art form.

The Private Moment

Have you ever heard of the actor’s exercise called The Private Moment?  (I learned it from Tad Danielewski’s Actors Workshop.)  We performed them individually, without words usually, as a set of actions dependent on an inner narrative.

At first we had to grapple with not choosing various obvious bodily functions, either sexual or excretory.  Once we’d thought through the gross and the mundane, though, we came to the existential dilemma that we gradually realized was the point of the acting exercise: What private things do I do daily that I think nothing of, but which individualize me to the rest of humanity?

Honesty of the Private Moment + a vehicle for disclosure

Recognizing the private idea that generates individuality was the first step—and a huge one.  The second was to find a way to convey it through the physical medium of the body.  It takes a lot of courage to valorize the private in public, but those who could put together the honesty of the private moment plus the vehicle for disclosure, created art of the highest order.  They moved their audience to emotional responses ranging from laughter to tears.

But here is where most people make their mistake.  It’s coming to the honesty of the thought that is the most difficult.  To deliberately translate this private thought into public physicality requires artistry.  But while acting it out requires skill and is paid the most money, it comes as a result.

The value of the initial private moment idea does not continue to exist unless the physical form matches it entirely, with the same depths and nuances as the idea itself.  That’s why reality shows are not an art form.  And run-at-the-mouth blogs have nothing to do with the art of privacy.