Oscar Wilde said .. “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.” It’s an interesting thought (and thanks to my favorite wayward spirit for mentioning the quote ..:)) )
We all wear them, most of the time, don’t we ? The mask of the responsible businessman to hide the boy inside wishing he was out in the sunshine, the mask of the ‘public-spirited politician’ that covers venality and greed, the mask that hides depression or anxiety, the mask of someone trapped in a decaying relationship, the mask that gets us through the day and lets us function.
Oh I know people proudly assert that they’re always ‘themselves’ and are ‘truthful’ about how they feel and who they really are but I don’t believe that for a moment. Everything I see on a daily basis contradicts it and, for me, people wearing a variety of masks to get through the day is not a problem because it’s never been any different and I can’t see how society could function any other way.
One real danger of wearing a mask, though, is the reality gap. If your mask is widely different from how you are underneath and you have to keep it on over a lengthy period of time, maybe years, then watch out. Wearing masks always takes effort but where that effort is too great and for too long, something has to give. People fall into that reality gap all the time and get hurt by it.
Of course nowhere are ‘masks’ more easily worn than on the internet. It’s often very hard to know who’s who and what’s what. I was talking just the other night to someone, a ‘persona’, who I’m sure was really another person that I know well ‘in disguise’. Little things gave them away. Which brings me to a truth about masks online, in a place where truth is always an elusive commodity.
Whatever mask you wear I believe it’s almost impossible to disguise who you really are inside. You can’t, in the long run, convincingly be something you’re not. Oh you can persuade anyone of anything in the short term but everything we write and say reveals something about us, often unintentionally. Pay attention for long enough and you get a sense of the real person underneath rather than the mask. Of course, even if a mask is removed the chances are there will be others under it but the masks a person chooses can, in themselves, tell you deeper truths.
In fact a mask will sometimes reveal far more than it conceals.
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- jjones186 said: respect the mask…..
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- ybb55 said: Nice piece Elle. Right on the mark… Who lurks beneath your mask?
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