Saturday, 24 July 2010

The Mask...

When I think about the concept of us as people wearing masks, initially I think of manipulative people or those with something to hide who portray themselves as something they are not to gain a pecuniary or some other form of advantage over another person. These sorts of masks are so common that we can easily mistaken them to be the full breath of the matter.

When I started considering 'human masks' as a concept, it is the less talked about, more socially accepted masks that I came across. The 'lying mask', the 'wooing mask', the 'sales mask' and the list can go on... There is a school of thought that these are not masks at all but attempts to put one's 'best foot forward' in order to succeed in those situations. Another school of thought is that if you package yourself in a particular way, promoting your best qualities without disclosing the full nature of your character then you are deceiving  your audience.

Mankind, instinctively preserves self, particularly from ridicule, rejection or reproach, will have and show many faces of their character depending on the circumstances they find themselves in. As such we often adorn a mask in situations where we do not feel comfortable or secure to cover ourselves from the scrutiny of others. Some people wear the 'pride / ego mask', while others wear the 'quite / reserved mask' and others still take up the 'talkative mask' in a bid to hide who they really are until they feel that they can trust their audience to become more vulnerable and show who they really are.

I wonder if the reason we wear these and other masks is is because we have developed a society that is based on 'ME'. Nike tells us to 'just do it!', whatever 'it' is that will make 'self happy'. Magazines tell women that men do not like intelligent independent and self assured women, so these qualities are hidden.... Celebrities and models stars set the tone of what we should wear, fashion as an industry being a mask in itself, encouraging us to lose our individual quirkiness and rather opt to be like everyone else in style and dress.  Employers, demand 'team players' causing us to set ourselves aside to buy into a culture we may not even agree with in order to gain acceptance... Over and over again we see tabloids pull people apart due to their physical flaws and decisions. We see 'respected' members of society being judged and exposed and discredited for their shortcomings, failures and mistakes and this makes it harder for us to be honest and genuine and instead we put on masks and hope that no one will notice we are hiding...

In order to be true to ourselves, we need to be true to our audience. Why? Because a lifetime of multiple mask wearing, can rob us of the simple pleasure of having genuine connections with other people and developing good relationships. It can cheat us out of being a principled person when we wear the mask of 'acceptance' especially in the work environment. It will take away the opportunity to make the 'right' first impression on people and hinder our chances at love when our masked is perceived as us, 'playing games'. As hard as it is to simply 'be ourselves', we are the very best version of ourselves when we are just that...

Masks and pretence can only be harbingers of our eventual downfall. They will hinder us from just being ourselves and in the end, we may even forget who we really are...Or we may never get to find out who that is, as we devote ourselves to conforming rather than being the best version of ourselves that we can be. 

Live WITHIN your own skin...Live WITHOUT the mask...


  1. Now that's a challenge.

    BTW: Love that photo of Peter. Whole story there.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.



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