The New Johari Window #27: Quadrant Three: The Locus of Control
The dynamics of prejudice goes even further with regard to disclosure. As in the case of the defiant self, I might choose not to disclosure as a way of “getting back” at other people or as a way of establishing or reinforcing my position of power and control over “these people” or the interpersonal setting in which we must meet together.
At an even deeper level, this reticence to disclose might reveal a fear of becoming involved with these people or finding my prejudices disconfirmed. One of my colleagues is a long-time social activist, who is fighting for the rights of minorities in the United States. She indicated recently that she really doesn’t want to get to know the people she opposes in her community, nor does she have any interest in empathizing with the other side.
“I can’t continue to work against them and be passionate in my opposition to them if I get to know them as distinctive human beings. I am more likely to get to know them if I share something about myself with these people.” While her resistance to disclosing with people she doesn’t trust or like is quite understandable, it is also a form of prejudice and, ironically, represents the very dynamics of separation and distortion that she is fighting against in her work.
The reticence to disclose in a postmodern world is quite understandable. However, this reticence does come at a cost. System theorists suggest that high boundaries in any system eventually lead to the death of the system. Systems with high barriers or heavy boundaries—called “closed systems—generally are or soon become inanimate objects. Nothing enters or leaves a heavily bounded, closed system. There are closed-system people. They are men and women who are aloof and impersonal. They are “cold as a stone.”