Sunday, November 20, 2011

(The Masks We Wear)

"Masquerade! Paper faces on parade.
Masquerade! Hide your face,
so the world will never find you."

- "Masquerade" lyrics,
from Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Phantom of the Opera"

We live in a polyester society; a cosmetic and fabricated land
teeming with deceptive Appearances and false Perceptions.

In this land of artificiality and materialism we are constantly being
bombarded with ads, commercials, and Opinions of self-serving
"experts" as to what we should buy, what we should wear, how
we should present ourselves to the public, how we should think,
how we should speak, and how we should act.

This process of Indoctrination, constantly being heaped upon the
masses by way of ads, commercials, Opinions, and "guilt trips",
strips away from the unwary, the gullible, and the greedy their
individuality, their freedom, and their peace-of-mind.

Those of us who bite into the shiny and attractive lures of these
mass-marketing Indoctrinations often suffer a great peril from the
hidden hook which lies well concealed behind the attractive lure
we find ourselves biting into.

With these thoughts in mind, let us now look at some of the
Masquerades, or Masks, that dominate the world in which we live.

The Mask of Possessions:

We drive through neighborhoods of large, attractive, and relatively
new homes with well-manicured lawns.  These neighborhoods
seem to be just about everywhere. We see late-model and
expensive cars and SUV's parked in the driveways and we
instinctively say to ourselves, "Wow, aren't those people lucky
to be living in such a beautiful house, in such a beautiful
neighborhood, and driving such beautiful cars. I wish I had their

But how do we know that these people are really "lucky"? How
do we know what is going on within the walls of these beautiful
and expensive homes with the late-model vehicles parked in the
driveways? For, in Truth, a great many of these homes are
occupied by husbands and wives who are heavily overburdened
due to the mortgages, loans, and credit card debt that was
required to create this false facade, this Masquerade, of perceived

Under such conditions spouses argue, drift apart, and ultimately
get divorces. Children find their lives torn to shreds. And the parents,
who were once loving couples, find their youthful dreams shattered
as all they have to show for their perceived affluence is decades of
debt which may never be fully repaid.

How many of us know families and couples whose lives have
been destroyed because of this all-too-common scenario?

Ads, commercials, and "guilt trips" are aimed at Indoctrinating
us that this is the kind of lifestyle we "deserve" and should
pursue...even if we cannot afford it.

There is a big difference between having safe, secure, and
comfortable housing versus unaffordable extravagance.

There is also a big difference between having safe and reliable
transportation versus flaunting the latest "power car" to our
friends, neighbors, and co-workers.

The Mask of Appearance:

There is nothing wrong with "putting our best foot forward"; of
presenting ourselves in an attractive and healthy manner. For
personal care, along with the way we feel and Act, is important
to our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

The problem arises when we attempt to use our outer appearances
to Deceive either ourselves or others. For external features can
only camouflage, not hide or change, the person we truly are
once we remove our Mask of Appearance.

Those who rely solely on the Mask of Appearance present
themselves with an air of artificiality. In other words, they are
artificial people. And, as like attracts like, these artificial people
end up attracting other artificial people; with each one forever
wondering why their relationships constantly meet disastrous

For when we present ourselves as someone who we are not, we
can only attract those other people who are also presenting
themselves as someone they are not. This is the Law of like
attracting like.

Those who depend entirely on a Mask of Appearance and
abandon the pursuit of mental and spiritual substance find
themselves, first slowly and then more quickly, drawn into a
powerful whirlpool from which they ultimately cannot escape.

They are eventually drawn down into the lowest realms of
artificial society which languishes at the bottom of this whirlpool
where, eventually, no cosmetics, surgery, or latest fashion can
cover-up what they have allowed themselves to Become.

However, the Law of like-attracts-like works in both directions.
Therefore, the pure, robust features and warm inner glow of
someone whose honesty, sincerity, and Inner Beauty radiates
warmth, contentment, and friendliness to every person he, or she,
encounters, will attract those similar types of persons into their life.

The Mask of Intelligence:

This is the Mask we wear when we gossip, complain, pontificate
(pass personal judgement), or spout common and unfounded
Opinions in order to be accepted into a social group; or in order
to attempt to impress others at a social gathering.

Of the above mentioned behaviors, perhaps the Mask of Opinion
is the behavior we most often see displayed at parties and social

In its simplest and most basic form we put on our Mask of
Intelligence whenever we act as boastful "experts" while in the
company of friends and acquaintances; or when we are at parties
and other social gatherings.

The Mask of Intelligence is a way of showing to others how much
we think we know, or how much more informed we have become,
by listening to some political speech or some self-serving "expert"
who appeared on last night's news.

Those who engage themselves in conversations while wearing a
Mask of Intelligence do so in order to "impress" others that the
vast sum of all they think they know is also the vast sum of what
everyone else who is involved in the conversation also thinks they

The reasoning here is that we must be up to date on the news,
of course, if we expect to be accepted into the crowd who
proclaims themselves to be "in the know".

And although no problems are solved, no solutions have been
created, nothing positive has been discussed, and those who
involved in these conversations end up more befuddled, confused,
and angry than they were at the start, it does make for "good


Avoiding other people's masks:

We are all social animals. And because of this we must always
be Aware of the trap-doors that society, along with our fellow man,
is constantly constructing beneath the feet of the unwary, the
gullible, and the greedy.

Those who are Aware of these trap-doors, these Masquerades,
are better able to sidestep them. Those who are unaware find
themselves constantly falling into them.

Avoiding using masks for ourselves:

A fisherman uses the correct lure to catch the kind of fish he, or
she, is after. A hunter uses a proper decoy to bag his, or her, game.

What kind of lure, or Mask, are we using? Are we using the lure of
Sincerity and Honesty to attract Sincere and Honest people? Or,
are we using a Mask of Artificiality to attract other artificial people?

If we look the same, talk the same, and act the same as most
other people, what makes us different and special?...Nothing!

We only shine when we allow our true inner-self to show itself to
the world.

There is no one so attractive, and no one who shines the brightest
from their inner glow, as a Sincere, Honest, and caring Spirit who
is not trying to hide or camouflage who they Truly are. These are
the rare individuals whose Inner Beauty is the only lure they require
to attract other similar, and truly radiant, Spirits.

See also: "Beauty (Inner Beauty vs. Outer Beauty)" along with
"Appearances and Perceptions"

Comments and Emails: I welcome comments and emails from
people with similar thoughts and feelings. My email address is
located in the upper-left area of this page. Comments can be
posted by using the "Comment" link located below each article.
Also: If you found value in this article please feel free to forward
it to other like-minded individuals, organizations and sites.

Comments and Emails: I welcome comments and emails from
people with similar thoughts and feelings. My email address is
located in the upper-left area of this page. Comments can be
posted by using the "Comment" link located below each article.
Also: If you found value in this article please feel free to forward
it to other like-minded individuals, organizations and sites.

Disclaimer: None of my articles should be considered to be
either advice or expertise. They are simply personal opinions
and no more. Everyone is encouraged to seek competent
advice from a licensed, registered, or certified professional
should such advice or service be required.

© copyright Joseph Panek 2011
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