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9.7 Secrecy and the Internet

As I said earlier, there is no single panacea to prevent leaks and to protect secrets. The growth of the Internet has added a new phase to the problem of leaks. In the last section of my discussion, I will touch upon the relation between secrecy and the Internet.

No longer can special and particular knowledge be reserved exclusively for people according to class, vocation, or membership. The growth of the Internet “has led to the emergence of the individual who has more expertise than the researcher. It is no wonder that ordinary people have more information on religion than the religions themselves” (Inoue 1997: 147). Inoue calls it the “inversion of specialist knowledge.” Religious secrets also leak onto the Internet. For example, in the United States, a former member of Scientology leaked the unobtainable secret previously unavailable to even long-trained believers. This case was brought to court. It is no longer possible to protect the exclusivity of doctrines, and there is a strong possibility that the contents of secret rituals and seminars will be disclosed due to the spread of the Internet. In the same manner, the Internet poses a serious threat to the company. As many WikiLeaks-like sites pose new threats to companies and governments, the growth of the Internet has accelerated leaks of corporate information. In addition to the strategies to protect secrets that I mentioned in the previous sections, both religion and company have come to cope with the new problem of leaks on the Internet.

9.8 Conclusion

In this paper, in order to promote the comparative study and interaction between the study of religion and that of company, I proposed the ideas and implications on secret which have been developed in the study of religious organizations. To begin with, I discussed the function of secret as a form of property referring to the works of Simmel, Schutz, and Bourdieu. Based on this, I touched upon the secrecy in religion and company. Regarding the secrecy in religion, taking an example of a Japanese new religious organization, I discussed the concealment and disclosure of religious secrets. On the other hand, regarding the secrecy in a company, I dealt with the open and close strategy as an intellectual property strategy and pointed out that the strategy is suggestive and helpful for understanding the management of secret in religious organizations. We can say that carefully balancing the concealment and disclosure of secrets is important for the successful management of religion and company. Then, I proposed three strategies to protect secrets in religion and company, namely, involution strategy, hierarchy strategy, and invention strategy. Finally, I touched upon the storytelling in religion and company as a way of sharing secret.

This paper is an introductory portrait of the comparative study between religion and company. As I mentioned in my introduction, both religious organizations and companies are socially constructed by human actions. In this sense, these two should be analyzed on the same arena. Therefore, the study of religion may have something to learn from the study of company, and vice versa. It is to be desired that both two fields exchange their findings.

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