Thursday, April 22, 2004

Masks, Facades, a Social Front. Reasons, Charity, and What They Want.

By: Michael Akerman

Today I thunk about a lot.
I thunk a lot of things.
Of people, places, souls, and graces,
Actions, lies, and dreams.

I thought about why people act,
Why they do the things they do.
I pondered how after the fact
They justify it, too.

I wondered why in company,
People aren't the same:
Of how they act so differently
When others say their name.

I decided that the mysteries
Were difficult and obscure.
Yet I must state what I believe
And in you them inure.

Heh. That was fun.

Anyways, I've been thinking a lot today about how people have facades they use in company. I've been wondering what drives us to make these social masks.

The masks appear to be most prevalent in the company of people we respect and desire the appreciation of. This leads me to believe that the masks are simply a device to allow greater social acceptance, especially of powerful people, and thus would be evolutionarily advantageous.

Simple enough, but this leads to some quandries. If this is the case, then do more females than males have social masks? And shouldn't the most powerful person be entirely true to himself?

I can't answer the first question without careful study, but I have seen more men exhibiting the phenomenon than women, but that could be because women are better at it. Men usually exhibit a weaker social masking response than women, however. The second is obviously not true, but its harder to say why. Perhaps its simply that no one knows who the most powerful person is, so no one can afford to drop their masks.

This causes me to question whether everyone has social masks, and to what degree social masking differs. I try to be as transparent as I can possibly afford to be, but some people seem to cover themselves in every situation, often losing themselves in the process.

Two examples come to mind:

Maggie is constantly portraying herself as somewhat aloof, unforgiving, and apathetic. She tries to place herself outside of society. However, from when I knew her in middle school and my limited interaction with her outside of school, I can attest that she is not usually like that outside of school. Maggie is pleasant to be around outside of school, and seems vaguely apologetic for something. Her avoidance of appearing to enjoy things indicates to me that she is avoiding something by redirecting her anger at convenient targets. I cannot venture to guess what she is avoiding, because I'm not her.

Perhaps a better example is Angela, mostly because it has been much easier to observe. Angela has two very different responses to certain situations. In academic environments, Angela is quite obviously intelligent, collected, and articulate. Frankly, if I had only known her in a collected academic manner, I would not be able to picture her partying or joking like she does. As soon as the formal situation ends, she makes a quite seamless transition to what I like to call "Gel" (purely because I've heard that as her nickname sometime before, but I can't recall precisely when). She waves off school nonchalantly and picks up a very offhand attitude. She acts much like those whom you wouldn't expect in advanced classes. This is an interesting adaptation that, I deduce, probably started in sixth grade when she ran for class government. She ran with good, honest political aspirations, but obviously understood the necessity of appealing to popular notions (on the "Bo Knows" ticket I believe), and so developed a second persona which she used around her constituents. This soon became second nature to her, as she continued running for school offices and needed the votes.

I should note that the social masking responses generally take place unconsciously. Most people don't realize when they are "two-faced," so to speak, and it's not really any fault of theirs but ignorance, which is quite forgiveable.

The Problem with Liberals

Heh... fun title. Anyways, I was going to write a long post about this, with examples, but for the past couple of weeks that this post sat unfinished, I never particularly wanted to. And I still don't.

So, I'll post a shortened version.

Many liberals, though they would have you disbelieve it, run entirely on emotion. People get angry when you say "knee-jerk" liberals, but for the vast majority of liberals, it's true. Don't get me wrong: I know some very logical, reasonable liberals (like Smith). However, most have few true reasons for their "policy" opinions, other than calling Conservatives heartless.

Most liberal opinions are based on a simple principle: they feel guilty about something, and try to make the government fix it. This is why they so adamantly oppose intelligent resource use by companies, become outraged by any racial statement, and try to force people to accept homosexuals. They simply feel guilty about what they, or even their family members, have done, and they stand by these opinions in the face of any logic, unyielding.

It's frankly ridiculous.

...I can't believe this post sat unfinished for so long...