There is much attention paid to surveillance these days, which in and of itself is an odd concept. The definition and synonyms for surveillance are also very interesting. This is from Wikipedia:
Surveillance (// or //) is the monitoring of thebehavior, activities, or other changing information, usually of people for the purpose of influencing, managing, directing, or protecting.Surveillance can be the observation of individuals or groups bygovernment organizations but can also relate to disease surveillance, which monitors the progress of a disease in a community while not directly observing individuals.
The word surveillance is the French word for "watching over"; "sur" means "from above" and "veiller" means "to watch". The inverse (reciprocal) of surveillance is sousveillance ("to watch from below"). The wordsurveillance may be applied to observation from a distance by means of electronic equipment (such as CCTV cameras), or interception of electronically transmitted information (such as Internet traffic or phone calls). It may also refer to simple, relatively no- or low-technology methods such as human intelligence agents and postal interception.
Surveillance is very useful to governments and law enforcement to maintain social control, recognize and monitor threats, and prevent/investigate criminal activity. With the advent of programs such as the Total Information Awareness program and ADVISE, technologies such as high speed surveillance computers and biometrics software, and laws such as the Communications Assistance For Law Enforcement Act, governments now possess an unprecedented ability to monitor the activities of their subjects.
For those of us living in the USA, who have actually been paying attention for the last fifteen years, the current row over surveillance is actually a bit amusing. We were told this was happening, and in a world of social media and meta data that enables Amazon.com to know the most intimate details of my passions (it actually creeps me out that Amazon suggests books for me, half of which are already in my personal library that I bought with cash at used bookstores) that all of this activity is somehow off limits to governments.
We hear endless throngs about privacy and the rights to privacy. My personal favorite is the fear that all of the data the government is collecting can be used against us at some point in the future. The other thing I find ever so interesting is that all of my cellphone calls, emails, tweets and such are stored in a central building of the NSA, and that this is the new real estate investment. You too can invest in buildings that store data. The packaged loans that got us into the last economic mess, are being re-sold but now instead of home mortgages, you can invest in both physical storage space ( you store it space rentals) or electronic computers in buildings that need to be air conditioned.
I traveled in countries behind the iron curtain, when there still was one. Having family and friends behind this dividing line between capitalism and communism meant I was being watched by both poles of power. After my family hosted Soviets at our home in California on a speaking tour to promote citizen diplomacy and peace, the CIA came to my fathers dental office to question him. Our phones were tapped for years. I thought, well, if they are listening, lets give them something to think about.
When I was in Poland, I was so moved by the shrines dedicated to the Solidarity Movement. Lech Walesa had a vision of the Black Madonna when he was imprisoned for his political activism. After this experience he always wore a medal on his heart of the Black Madonna.
As you walk around the Shrine at Jasna Gora in Czestochowa, you can see it has been constructed with the sole purpose of hosting thousands of pilgrims. Each August 15th for as long as anyone can remember, there is a nation wide pilgrimage to the Shrine. August 15th is the Feast of the Assumption of Mary. During the dark days of the communist regime, the annual pilgrimage was the spiritual sustenance of the people. From every corner of the country, people walked for days to come and worship together. I learned that those who organized the walking groups were well aware they were being watched by the secret police, that there were spies amongst the Pilgrims.
I learned that in those dark days before cell phones and the internet, people actually had to talk to one another to tell them what was going on in the Solidarity Movement. What I also learned was that the organizers were told to proudly proclaim who they were for all to see. Solidarity Movement organizers and contact people for the pilgrimage to Jasna Gora would post their names, addresses and phone numbers on message kiosks. The thinking was, there is nothing to hide when one proclaims justice and faith in Christ. Being open would also protect them from the activity that usually accompanies secrets, this openness would make sure the behavior was pure, The movement was to be out in the open so nothing could be used against them without their permission.
Since I had traveled, communicated with and had family behind the curtain, I was used to my letters being censored, my phone calls being tapped all those years ago. My family was imprisoned randomly and used to build construction projects for the government when ever they needed cheap labor, just because letters and phone calls came from the west. Before I knew of the courage of the Polish people, I too thought, I have nothing to hide, and who knows, someone might be influenced by my conversations and letters.
Our Christian ancestors went through so much during the days of persecution, they felt they had to hide, but when apprehended proudly proclaimed their beliefs and were willing to endure unspeakable torture and execution rather than deny Christ.
I think of the history of early Christianity, I hearken back to my personal pilgrimage to witness the Black Madonna of Czestochowa, and then I listen to the indignant protestations of people all over the nation and the world, complaining about the US surveillance, as if this is something new and dangerous. Can you imagine, your words and actions stored in a computer, to some day be pulled out and used against you?
What exactly do people think is actually going on, what has been going on since the dawn of time? If we only knew the power of our spoken word and of each and every one of our actions. I attended a lecture several months ago, where the leader gave an overview of a lecture by Austrian Philosopher Rudolf Steiner. In it, she reported that Steiner talked about how our words uttered in one life time, would actually take shape in living form in another age. The negative words would become like huge terrifying insects attacking all in their path. My priest said, if we were truly aware of the power of the word, that each one of our words is a living being, we would be more careful of what we say.
You see, each and every word, action and thought is a living being, that is watched by the entire cosmos of spiritual beings. We actually will encounter our entire life in the period after we cross the threshold into the heavenly spheres. There is no privacy when it comes to our membership in the cosmic community. It is beyond interesting to me, that what has been going on literally forever within the spiritual existence of the cosmos, is now being "done" through the internet. Do we really think the people of the globe, the conversations and emails, facebook posts and so on, can be contained in an air conditioned building to be used against us in the future? And why is this a worry actually? If your actions are loving and life giving, how can that be used against you?
I am not condoning the NSA program at all, but it is profound how upset everyone is over their so called privacy and fear over their words being used against them. What would be interesting is that this new found knowledge could inspire us all to be more careful with our words. If we now know our words can be used against us, what would we say? Can you imagine the ethernet being filled with positive, inspiring, loving and generous words?
The cosmos already has been storing our words and actions. What is in your "space?"