Privacy: A Vanishing Value?

Privacy: A Vanishing Value?

Privacy: A Vanishing Value?

Privacy: A Vanishing Value?


There can be little doubt that privacy emerges as one of the central problems of our times particularly so in the countries of the Western world. In some primitive cultures the opportunities for escaping almost continuous surveillance are very limited, but such is the resilience of human nature that the people in such societies seems able to adjust to this situation and not to be disturbed by it. The role of privacy in ancient civilizations aside, there is a long history of the esteem for the reality of privacy, even though the term itself may not have been used, in the religious traditions of both East and West, where withdrawal from the world into solitude has consistently been viewed as the most efficacious route to union with the Divine. With increasing attention to, and recognition of, human dignity in Western society in recent centuries and particularly in recent years, there ahs come a parallel emphasis on human rights, and central to the cluster of human rights is the right to privacy. It is doubtful whether individual privacy has ever been more highly esteemed than it is today in the democracies of the Western world.


A series of Pastoral Psychology Institutes, under the sponsorship of the Psychology Department at Fordham University, was begun in 1955. With the single exception of 1967 when no Institute was offered, they have been presented on alternate years since their inception. the volumes in the Pastoral Psychology Series are an outgrowth of the Institutes, with the current volume containing the papers from the most recent Institute: namely, the one scheduled for 1977.

These Institutes, intended originally for the clergy and initially open only to them, began with a series of topics in which the behavioral sciences were able to make a contribution to clergymen in their attempt to deal with problems encountered in pastoral work. in more recent years the Institutes have been opened to other professionally qualified and interested persons, in addition to clergymen, and the topics selected for treatment have been broadened accordingly.

The first two Institutes, those of 1955 and 1957, dealt rather briefly with a series of topics which were combined for publication into a single volume, the first in the Pastoral Psychology Series, entitled: Personality and sexual problems in pastoral psychology. Subsequent Institutes were devoted to single topics which received more extensive treatment. the topics of the successive Institutes and the titles of the volumes emerging from them are listed at the beginning of this volume.

A consistent feature of the Institutes has been their interdisciplinary character. From the beginning of the series there has been an invariable emphasis on the contributions of the behavioral sciences, including, after psychology, particularly psychiatry and sociology. Frequent contributions have also come from such disciplines as theology, philosophy, political science, and social work. More limited contributions, depending usually upon the particular topic under consideration, have been made to . . .

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