Privacy vs. Secrecy: What's the Difference?

When we rethink what we "know" we learn at a deeper level. This is the way of a philosopher.

A student and friend recently asked, "what's the difference between privacy and a secrecy?" As with anything there are variables and context. Each unique to the individual(s). Here is the general premise.

Privacy is the state of being unobserved; changing clothes for example - that which we keep private and merely withholding from public view. Private matters are those traits, truths, mindsets, opinions we have about the world and ourselves. Our spirituality, our opinion on social norms. If they are revealed they provide insight to the revealer.


Privacy is the act of keeping the things that are sacred out of public view.


Secrecy is the act of keeping things hidden - to protect the secret-keeper and those around them from undesired responses. The key here is keeping something secret is an act of hiding from the pain of disclosing something shameful. It also has the power to harm those that are kept in the dark and protects the secret keeper.


Secrecy is the act of keeping a shameful act or harmful actions private from someone to protect the keeper.


Jung writes:

"The possession of secrets acts like a psychic poison that alienates their possessor from the community."

Jung nailed it! Secrets alienate the secret-keeper from others. In a relationship, secrets alienate the secret-keeper from intimacy. It creates walls instead of healthy boundaries.

Jung also points out that the act of keeping the secret may not be wrong as viewed by society as a whole. However, when placed in context of a situation what was once considered private becomes a secret.

Example: Keeping our communications with the opposite sex private from the world is just that, private. Hiding communications with the opposite sex from our lover, when the understanding that this is not acceptable, is now secrecy. The secret-keeper is now hiding information to protect themselves from having their shameful act discovered.

As a philosopher, a lover of wisdom, we look inward not for the answer but the next question that will guide us to our own internal truth. Asking ourselves these questions help us be more intentional and aware of how we show up in our life. Use this information to start a positive and productive conversation about privacy versus secrecy in your relationships.

With all my love,

Vikky Santana

Experienced Registered Teacher 500-Hours


Registered Yoga School

Instagram: @VikkySantanaYoga


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