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.