One of the ways we represent ourselves to others–sometimes even our selves – it is not who we are but who we want to be, or want other to think we are…

For my ART & ORGANISM syllabus as a codicil to the section on TRUTH, I was developing more depth (=more connections) with the idea of AUTHENTICITY … which led me to MASKS.

This excerpt from a the concluding voice-over in a script from a 2008-2012 television series (“In Plain Sight“) speaks to that:

4:04:  “There comes a time when every kid peeks behind a curtain and sees she’s not the only one putting on a show. Fathers, mothers, cops and robbers, every member of the PTA: all playing dress up, all wearing their masks; a constant Halloween. That first peek behind the curtain, the lifting of the mask, it’s a disorienting moment. The solid ground beneath you slips away to quicksand, along with all you thought you knew. But you realize, as days and nights go by, that there’s a kind of truth in the lie. That the mask is often more revealing than the face that lies beneath, because the person you pretended to be, the mother, the father, the sister, the cop, became, somehow, the person that you are.”

This is worth discussion: from “fake-it-til-you-make-it” theology and self-confidence  through the developmental idea that we become more fully our selves as we mature (“After changes upon changes / We are more or less the same”… The Boxer, Simon & Garfunkel)    (well, sometimes it seems even more the same — a caricature of ourselves?)

Professor Emeritus, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.