Behind The Mask

Nobody likes it when someone lies to them – at least, they don’t like it when they find out they have been lied to.

Well, maybe, but maybe not, at least not all the time. Maybe only sometimes. When you are looking to buy a product that you might not absolutely need but really want, a bit of exaggeration helps you feel good about your purchase. You are attracted to another person and want to let them know you are mentally stable, kind, generous, and of course physically attractive with lots of energy, so you put your best “face” forward – it is only natural. And when tragedy happens in your life – and yeah, it always happens sooner or later in the best of all possible worlds – your god or goddess is there to comfort you and tell you that things will get better.

But most importantly, when you are afraid of war, plague, famine, poverty, homelessness, and your neighbor, it is a good thing that there are politicians who can lie to you so skillfully that you want to believe them, even when you know they are full of shit. And you keep believing them, even after they prove to you they are liars and after they lie to you again!

At least this seems to be true in our “civilization”. And the more you dissimulate, so to speak, the easier it is to tell more lies. And pretty soon your entire life is based on lies. This is why the ancient Greeks and Romans had a low opinion of actors and in most cases forbade them to hold public office – they realized that these were experts in lying, and so it is likely that they would find it very easy to lie to the public. You might of course contrast this with how much the public extolls, nay, even worships actors in our culture.

Carl Jung labeled the social “front” that we put on to make ourselves more acceptable to society “the Persona/the Mask”. It is the role we play in the theater of society, but it is not, or it shouldn’t be, our real personality. But what if you never develop your real personality, or you believe that your persona IS your real personality? Then perhaps, you prefer your mask to your real self, and you wear it wherever you go?

When your life is just a mask, who are you really? And when a culture, or a nation, is nothing but a mask, what is it really?

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