▲ Let Me Keep My Secrets, PROVIDED BY KYOBO BOOK CENTRE
As Sophocles wrote, “Do nothing secretly; for Time sees and hears all things, and discloses all.” Ever since childhood, people are encouraged to live with integrity and refrain from lying, and in society transparency has always been favored in branches of politics, economics, and even relationships. However, Ursula Nuber speaks differently of secrets in her non-fiction, Lass MirMein Geheimnis! (2007), where she encourages the act of self-concealment.
Ursula Nuber is a leading German psychologist, author, and couples therapist. She has published numerous non-fiction books, including her best-selling Depression(2006), Ten Commandments for Strong Women (2006), and What Couples Need to Know (2005). Throughout the book, Lass Mir Mein Geheimnis!, otherwise known as Let Me Keep My Secrets (2007) in English, Nuber proceeds in portraying her personal stance on deceptions, revealing the positive effects of such protective secrecy.
Rather than merely listing personal opinions, Nuber deliberately makes good use of her field of expertise, exhibiting psychological evidence and research findings behind human behavior of disclosing secrets. As a biological reference, the author notes the example of trickery behaviors employed by animals, referring to them as mere “strategies for survival.” Nuber alludes to an unconventional perspective on deception, signaling that it could be acknowledged as a natural and fundamental trait in living organisms. Such scientific justifications and quotes of psychology experts cited throughout the novel add credibility to the argument that the author strives to convey.
People often show signs of anxiety and guilt when concealing the truth, as they naturally assume that such actions are below the belt. However, Nuber takes a unique stance, stating that secrets can help individuals attain personal achievements. She states that if one hastily announces his or her goals and plans, he or she is giving the opportunity for others to intervene. A plan that is still in the works without a specific action plan may be better kept personal or else it will be susceptible to hindrance under the guise of advice and warnings.
Nuber further reinforces her positive outlook towards the act of veiling when it comes to relationships, especially in a marriage. While society places emphasis on loyalty and mutual faith in romantic relationships, the book warns that it can be fatal to annihilate all secrets. Nuber refers to social scientist George Jemel, who states that the invasion of privacy between romantic partners may gradually lead to the withering of love and passion for each other, because curiosity resulting from a bit of mystery is what draws humans to one another.
Although the au courant perspective is much appreciated, the book may be perceived to over-rationalize the act of deception. From time to time, there are extenuating circumstances in which concealment is for the better. However, such an overly skewed frame of reference may, in fact, imprint on readers’ minds a misleading idea that dishonesty should be favored, and this over-justification of lies could lead one to deceive oneself and do more harm than good. Therefore, a cautious approach is needed when picking up this non-fiction work.
The book was initially written from women’s perspectives, but it is safe to say that the book compiles words of wisdom, offering guidance to everyone, regardless of gender. In today’s world, the easy accessibility of information through digital technology has undermined the virtues of privacy and confidentiality. The author attempts to console the hearts and minds of modern people, assuring them that one should not fear to veil themselves in deception, if needed. The decision to reveal secrets is, after all, under the authority of the decision maker.