Saturday, April 11, 2009

Real Life: Are Masks Good? Can We Be Free of "Fakeness?"

Lately I've been doing mostly poetry and music posts, and as the title of my blog proclaims, this blog is supposed to also touch on real life. It's a lot easier for me to write posts on music and poetry, because I don't have to do as much thinking. Posts of depth require a lot of thought and time to decide what exactly you need to say and how to say it. Also, I need to think about exactly what I want to write about. Cause I don't really know right now. I guess I can talk about how people are like projectors. I just thought about that. And I think it's true.
Here's how people are like projectors: projectors display whatever it is the computer or slide controlling it wants it to. Click the arrow button, and the image or words displayed on the screen change. People do the same thing. I was talking to a friend today, and we remarked about how we say things with some people we wouldn't among others. Obviously, that's a normal thing. With different people, we have different comfort levels and different levels of trust. Everybody knows that. Everybody is like that, and everybody is different when they're around different circles or groups of people. (And I just used the word "different" 5 times in two sentences...bad writing.) The problem I have with tapping the "arrow key" and changing the slide is that sometimes the image or face or persona we display is entirely fake: we lie with our face. The question becomes whether or not the command to tell the truth extends to the impressions we give people: should we ever act like somebody we're not? People lie every day and say they're fine when they're not, mostly because they doubt whether the people asking how they are really care. There are some lyrics in a song I listened to today by a very obscure and now dead band, 5 O'Clock People, that are relevant to the topic:

maybe you'll never know why
i stare off into silence sometimes
maybe you'll never see
maybe that's what scares me

i'm afraid of the times
when my honesty becomes unkind
i'll learn to justify
the words that my actions deny

it's the same old line
if it makes you happy
i'll say that i'm fine
it's the same old line
look in my eyes
and i'll lie every time

the more that i try to explain
only the questions remain
take these words that i say
wash them all away

maybe you'll never see
maybe you'll never see
maybe you'll never see
maybe that's what scares me

People wear masks, and here's the question: is that a good thing or a bad thing? Can it ever be good? Is it inevitable, and should we just resign ourselves to the fact that fakeness is part of life, and always will be? What do you think?
I didn't really come to a conclusion in this post. Perhaps that's because I don't really know what I think. I hate acting like I'm a person that I'm not. So I don't like being fake. But I wonder whether it's possible to be completely real all the time. If you have thoughts on this topic, please don't be shy. Talk about it. On here. Or you can email. But I don't know why you would do that. : )


  1. I think some of this is true, and some arguable... We may act differently around different people, which can be weird and unnecessary at times, but you learn to control that eventually... I think , though, that even though we act differently, it's still US. You are the same person, there's just a level of variability...if that makes sense. "With different people, we have different comfort levels and different levels of trust." I know that the people I'm with can completely change the way I appear to people--it changes how I act and respond at that time, but I'm not necessarily FAKE. However, people do lie every day. Not always wanting to share what's going on--that's okay. they want to maintain some privacy. It's funny how the automatic response for "how are you?" is good--ALL the time now a days. There's also the normal joking around and sarcasm stuff, that can be fake, but for the purpose of fun, entertainment, and approval and everybody knows that stuff is a joke, so it's probably not a big deal.

    Oh, and even though you used the word "different" 5 times, it all made sense to me, so don't sweat the "bad writing". If it communicates a thought clearly, you're doing good. =]

  2. It's a song. :P Because I needed a new title, but had nothing else to name it, so the first song on my iTunes that played turned into the title. until i come up with something better.
    yes, you really did make my day. sank you sank you sank you. :)

  3. i think tactful honesty is never out of place. in my opinion, it's perfectly okay to answer "i'm not okay" when someone asks you how you are. we're so used to answering "fine," "okay" and "good" that we do it automatically, even if it's not the truth. on the other hand, i don't think it's necessary to go into every single detail of why you aren't doing well. with some people that's appropriate, and with others it's just not.

    sometimes i'm afraid that in what i'm doing or saying i'm not being myself, but then i find that a preoccupation with my actions makes me more paranoid, with the result that i swing the opposite direction and totally clam up, which isn't me, either.

    honesty is always the best policy. i personally appreciate it when people are honest with me because i know they trust me. trust is oftentimes a hard thing. trust and love (and honesty) all require vulnerability and the realization that you could get hurt. but what's going to hurt most in the long run.


  4. I think we agree, Amelia. Honesty is always, the best, but it's stinkin' hard to obey that policy sometimes.