Security now

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“We live in an uncertain world.” How many times have you heard that? Every time I hear it I wonder about a “certain” world – whenever did that exist? This line of thinking leads me to ponder related words, such as “trust” and “security.”

Security is defined by Wikipedia as a degree of protection against danger, damage, loss and crime. It involves a separation created between the assets and the threat. (It is important to remember that word “degree” is in the definition.)

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We have computer security, supposed protection against cracking, hacking and phreaking. Most of us spend money to buy this kind of security, yet few of us escape these threats altogether. I guess we comfort ourselves by believing that our hacking, cracking and phreaking experiences would be a lot worse if we didn’t have those security systems. No way to know for sure, is there?

There is national security. We try to create a separation between our homeland and the variety of threats “out there.” There are many smart people working diligently day and night to create that separation. Not one of them would say, “Whew, that’s done.”

Same with airport security.

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Then, financial security. Well, the wealthiest people who have crossed my path in life seem anything but secure. They not only focus a great deal on threats to their financial assets but are concerned about the threat of kidnapping (themselves or their children). They often hire bodyguards so they feel more secure in public. Much of life is spent in a sort of isolated existence, gated and guarded to reduce at least their perception of threat. I knew a family who kept a beat-up looking car in the garage for excursions outside of the gated estate. They felt safer, disguised as it were in that vehicle, rather than sitting in the chauffeured limo.

Another category is job security. I still hear that phrase bandied about although most of us stopped trusting it long ago. Not even the chairman of the board can always rest his head on the pillow at night knowing his job will be there tomorrow. The loss of a job can come about for so many reasons that are out of the employee’s control — as well as some reasons that any employee can control. I believe there was a time when there was at least a comfortable level of job security for certain positions. In today’s world, I think not.

Subjective security is connected to the perception of security. I have a friend who suffers from a serious fear of flying. He feels safe though, if anyone he knows will travel with him on the plane. That is subjective security. His perception of security is raised by having a friend in the seat next to him although obviously, objective security is not changed. Subjective security can be raised by the presence of people in uniforms as well as by all sorts of security devices.

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Security theater is built around this concept of subjective security. What will make people feel more secure even though they truly are not safer from threat? This concept is used by criminals as well as business organizations. It can be inspired with no ill intention or it can be planned. An employee may perceive that her job is secure just because the boss smiles at her each morning, and the boss may just be a cheerful sort of person.

The security we can trust is within us. We can use common sense and choose to put safety first in many ways – seat belts, swimming lessons, helmets, fire laws, etc. We can realize that the threat of falling on the bathroom floor is more dangerous than the threat of a hurricane. We can give some attention to the warning lists on nearly everything we buy.

We can commit to living a healthy lifestyle. We can nourish assets that are under little threat of being taken away – our attitudes, our minds, our connections to others, our faith in the universe.

We can build our reservoir of skills and talents and therefore build trust in our ability to “make it” whether the company does or not. We can do research and learn more about which skills and talents are in demand now and into the future.

This is the security that I trust.

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