Want to know more about how to increase creativity? Read below!
In a very real way, our egos are sort of like masks we put on to attend a costume party.
Think of it this way. At the beginning of the party, we put on a mask. It’s no big deal. After all, everyone else is wearing one. And it’s fun to wear a mask. The costume party gets interesting, full of hijinks and escapades. A lot of the guests do pretty strange things. Mostly because they figure that, since they’re wearing a mask, no one can hold them accountable for their actions.
The end of the evening comes round. We all say goodnight, go home, and, sleep. The next morning we wake up, leave the house, and go about our business. But something feels odd.
We notice people react to us differently. Why is that? What’s going on? It never occurs to us we’ve forgotten to take off our mask from the night before.
Therefore everyone we know or meet for the first time is taking our mask for our actual face.
Eventually, so do we.
In a way, that’s all the world is: a great big costume party where billions of people walk around wearing masks.
Ancient cultures understood this dynamic. Actors in the theaters of ancient Greece wore masks which allowed them to embody different characters. The Greek word for these actors was hypocrite, which today we use to mean someone who declares a certain intent, yet acts in an opposite manner.
Often, the masks of ancient Greek theater were often constructed to act like megaphones. This way the actor’s words could reach the farthest seats of the outdoor amphitheaters.
The Greeks called these masks prosōpon, which the invading Etruscans adapted as phersu. Later, in Latin, the word became persona, a term we still employ today.
From a very real perspective, then, we are all actors wearing masks to play roles. The roles that most of us favor are those that cover our fears and project control. In fact, we could say that the more control a mask projects, the more fearful the person wearing it probably is.
As Rumi once wrote:
Everyone who is calm and sensible is insane.”
If all this seems a bit bleak, cheer up. There’s good news.
Eventually, some people realize they’re wearing a mask and take off their disguise. This process is not for the faint of heart; it often requires a number of years of arduous inner work. But it can be done, and it’s very rewarding.
…you should take great comfort in the fact that, once you accept the danger contained in revealing yourself, only then can you become strong. Because there is great strength in accepting your willingness to experience, to feel, to surrender completely to one’s life experience. The actor’s mantra should be, ‘Give up, give in, give way!'”
This statement of course applies to all artists.
The moment we take off our masks is the moment the art we begin to create is truly our own. It begins to surprise us.
Where did that idea come from? That melody? That sentence? How did that painting come out so beautifully? How did I finish that play?
“I could have never come up with that.”
The moment art surprises its creator, how can it do anything but surprise the world?
Here’s wishing you luck with removing your mask.