What Is Transparency

Here is a brief philosophical statement
about the meaning of Transparency.

All of us contain within ourselves an inherent knowledge that we are in a fallen state and a state of exile. We know intuitively that humanity is lost in a maze of forgetting, trapped in neurotic selves, societies of violence and power, cultures of manipulation, and a realm of nature that is experienced as something alien to us.

The creations of fiction and nonfiction offer us a seemingly endless number of chapters that each tell part of this one story. With their happy endings, they routinely let us act out our desire to undo our exile and find our true selves. And in the ways they tell the truth -- by calling things by their right name, mobilizing our desires and integrating our desires into an aesthetic experience -- they are part of our collective effort to re-create society, culture, self and nature so these embody our true values.

But all creations of fiction and nonfiction, including this one, are composed of  both memory and forgetting, and all involve forms of manipulation that need to be made transparent. The role of criticism is to advance the cause of memory -- to side with humanity's millennia-long effort-long effort to recover the truths of human experience so we can move to a new level of civilization.

But when we try to advance the cause of memory we quickly meet resistance. That resistance isn't only in the form of opposition to knowing created by the defenses of the self and the internalized images of authority figures. It also comes from those in positions of power in society who try to manipulate both our regressive desire to escape the truth and our progressive desires to live fully, to see other people treated fairly, and to participate in a good society. Ultimately, the resistance to knowing comes from all of us since we all maintain ourselves and each other in a state of forgetting, while we also work together to escape the maze and find the essential truths of the human condition.


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  1996-2012 Ken Sanes