Dependence on secrecy Secretive people Cover up Intentional concealment Inadequate public disclosure Secrets
Concealment of information with the intention of preventing others from learning of it, possessing it, making use of it or revealing it to others. The keeping of secrets acts like a psychic poison, alienating their possessor from the community. Secrecy can debilitate judgement by preventing criticism thus reinforcing erroneous beliefs, lowering resistance to the irrational and the pathological. It allows people to maintain facades that conceal negative traits. Whenever there is a tendency to negligence or abuse, people and especially institutions, seek to surround themselves with ever greater secrecy, often without any real justification. Long-term group practices of secrecy are especially likely to breed corruption and to spread its effects.
Secrecy is widely practised by governments, especially with respect to questions touching on national security, which may be interpreted in the very broadest sense. Anti-terrorist groups, by their nature, practice extreme secrecy. Their accountability is very limited. It is suspected that classified information contains many facts which would be very disturbing to the general public if they were made readily available. Secrecy is also practised by most institutions to prevent their strategies from becoming known to other bodies which would hinder or take advantage of them.
Secrecy means impropriety. Everything secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity.
Secrecy is necessary to prevent knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of a society from being exposed to its potential enemies. In the case of the individual it is necessary to protect privacy, intimacy and any understanding of the sacred. Every individual, group and society has secrets. It is only when the maintenance of the secret impairs the creative functioning of another is it necessary to bring them into the open.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.