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Heroes & Incredible peoples
Dr Rajan Philips
motivational article was published in Oman Observer ,
one of the leading Newspapers in Oman. The article is
reproduced with the permission of the author )
REFLECTION -By Dr Rajan Philips -email@example.com
-‘Three people may keep a secret if two of them are dead,’ said Benjamin
Franklin. We can readily endorse this view when we view our own experience in
interacting with our kith and kin, friends and colleagues. Yes, keeping a secret
is truly a Herculean task.
If you agree to differ, here’s the story of Midas for you. In Greek mythology
Midas was the King with the golden touch. However, once he angered god Apollo
who cursed him by turning his ears into those of a donkey. He managed to hide
these ungainly ears from the world by wearing an elaborate headdress. But he had
no option but to share the terrible secret with his barber if he had to avail
his services. On pain of death, the King got the barber to promise never to
‘spill the beans.’ But it was an agonising burden for the poor man. After days
of struggle, he went out one day into the meadow and dug a hole in the ground,
whispered the story into it, then covered the hole up. He experienced immense
relief. Soon reeds sprouted from the place. As they swayed in the breeze
whispers of ‘King Midas has donkey’s ears’ could be heard!
When burdened with a friend’s personal story we do not of course shout out from
the roof tops. But total silence too is impossible. So, quite discreetly we pass
the secret on to just one other close friend. The process goes on till it
becomes the talk of the town. As the English writer William Cowper puts it, the
attempt to keep a secret is akin to pouring water into a funnel or a sieve.
Thanks to today’s ‘excellent’ social networks, shared personal matters become
public knowledge on the Facebook and Twitter in no time. Celebrities have found
this out to their utter dismay.
Despite these inherent risks we harbour secrets and thoughts we feel impelled to
share with a trustworthy friend or dear one. This need is particularly felt when
we pass through a state of personal distress. But we are truly fortunate if we
find such a sterling soul willing to listen, absorb and retain and not transmit!
In this process if we err in our judgement the results are disastrous. We feel
cheated or let down.
The other end of the spectrum is that despite knowing the consequences of
repeating what is heard on the grapevine don’t we derive devious pleasure in
passing on what is meant only for our ears?
Keeping a secret is great challenge, and more so when it is spicy. It demands a
great deal of determination, strength of character, self-discipline and
sensitivity. But it has its rewards. Friends would look up to you and trust you
Having said that, there are circumstances when keeping a secret may not be
ethical. If it is likely to harm us or another innocent person we ought to act
We should not keep the lid on a secret act of unfair treatment, victimisation
and discrimination. We cannot close our eyes to something dishonest, immoral or
illegal. Or when a life is endangered.
A writer puts it beautifully, ‘Hearts are created as safes for keeping secrets.
Intelligence is their lock; will-power is their key’. How true. It is for us to
act prudently and prove worthy of other’s trust and confidence by safeguarding
what deserves to be protected.
v To keep your secret is wisdom; but to expect others to keep it is folly. —
v I know that's a secret, for it's whispered everywhere. — William Congreve
Articles by Dr.Rajan Philips