RE: Rohit the exhibitionist.

Ernest N. Prabhakar (
Thu, 12 Jun 1997 10:02:32 -0700 (PDT)

Joe B writes:

> The person suggested that Rohit perhaps would be better suited to NOT
> showing all of his cards, as people who keep some aspects of
> mysterious seem to remain exotic in the minds of others.

As a fellow exhibitionist, I assert that it is impossible to reveal
everything about oneself, because one isn't even aware of everything
about oneself. (At least anyone of any depth, a property we can assume
Rohit has.)

[Joe wrote the latter, I know not who wrote the former. I wrote the below.]

I write:

Well, this ties into the issue of identity and trust. If we accept as philo-
sophical assertions the operational definitions of trust on the Internet:

1) Trust is based on shared secrets
2) Identity is based on a unique secret

Then, you are who you are based on what you know about yourself that nobody
else knows. If everyone else knows you as well as you know yourself, they
could effectively emulate you, and thus your identity is redundant.

This implicitly assumes that what you know about yourself must be a superset
of what everyone else knows about you. Thus, while a supposed imposter might
not act in a novel situation the -exact- way Rohit himself would, it would act
in a way -consistent- with how -others- expect Rohit to act. Thus, hidden
information not accessible to anyone does not really matter (very quantum,
I suppose).

Interestingly, (2) is a consequence of a public/private key systems. In
secret-key systems, Identity is based on a relationship with a Creator,
not an intrinsic self. But that's a whole 'nother philosophical treatise.

- Ernie P.