01/19/2012 12:22 EST | Updated 03/20/2012 05:12 EDT

That Guy Beside You Could be a Spy

They walk amongst us. Apparently so.

Alleged charges of espionage -- "spying" to the layperson -- makes us sit up and take notice while simultaneously pulling back within ourselves. Spying, you see, is shameful. It's not something that even the most lowly of criminals would want to admit to. Like in a prison population, there is honour amongst thieves. A "pecking order" of sorts. It might be alright to commit a variety of egregious crimes in the minds of some but treason? That's another story.

The news this week that a member of the Canadian Armed Forces living in Bedford, Nova Scotia was allegedly passing along classified information to a foreign entity is unsettling at best. The obvious concerns -- that our national security and safety are compromised are clear. What remains murky is the extent to which our secrets were revealed. Not knowing is the problem.

Perhaps equally as troubling is our realization that evil may indeed lurk amongst us. Does this statement sound extreme? Perhaps, however the point has been made. How well do you know your neighbour or the guy across the cubicle from you at work? Situations such as this latest espionage affair brings to light the stark reality that we really don't know anyone that well, do we?

Case in point: did Mr. Delisle's wife and three children have any idea about what he was allegedly up to during the course of his daily work? Likely not. Which begs the question that if the wife and children don't know, how could it possibly be thought that those further outside one's personal circle would be aware of the situation either?

How many of us go through our day-to-day lives oblivious -- not only of our surroundings, but of the people who exist within these surroundings as well? Many of us profess to be living "in the moment" and being actively aware of what encompasses our daily existence, but we may, indeed, be misguided in our beliefs in this regard.

In light of Canada's "spy scandal," we must ask how much we all contribute to the goings-on around us that are suspect, at best. More specifically, it is difficult to believe that there was not one clue, one misplaced word or phrase, one explanation that didn't quite jive, that came out of the mouth of the alleged spy. We are imperfect creatures, us humans, and accordingly we slip up every so often. It is this imperfection, sadly, which may have allowed the supposed espionage to continue longer than it should have.

Whether it's technology (our smart phones), work (our deadlines) or our personal thoughts and dreams, many of us walk around in a constant state of distraction. Being aware -- really aware -- is becoming increasingly harder to do, based on the nature of the world we live in today. We have, in some ways, accepted and embraced our new world order where turning on, tuning in, and dropping out have been again embraced post-1967.

Our modern version of this edict can be attributed in many cases to our ability to abdicate real awareness due to more the multitude of messages of which we are continually barraged. At some point, our capacity to be hyper-aware becomes dulled, as there is only so much information that can be absorbed at any given time. In other words, we "short-circuit" due to information overload, allowing what personal actions that may be perceived to be minutiae to be written off as inconsequential. This indeed may have been the case with the alleged espionage activities of Mr. Delisle.

To err may be human, unfortunately. It is a divine shame that this is indeed the case.