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Sunday, 1 May 2011

Ghosts (Yeats: The Mask)


Various Balinese Topeng (dance masks), Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, Jakarta
: photo by Gunawan Kartapranata, 2009

There is an unconscious propriety in the way in which, in all European languages, the word person is commonly used to denote a human being. The real meaning of persona is a mask, such as actors were accustomed to wear on the ancient stage; and it is quite true that no one shows himself as he is, but wears his mask and plays his part. Indeed, the whole of our social arrangements may be likened to a perpetual comedy; and this is why a man who is worth anything finds society so insipid, while a blockhead is quite at home in it.

Arthur Schopenhauer: Psychological Observations, from Studies in Pessimism in Parerga und Paralipomena, 1851 (translated by Thomas Bailey Saunders)

W. B. Yeats: The Mask

"Put off that mask of burning gold

With emerald eyes."
"O no, my dear, you make so bold

To find if hearts be wild and wise,
And yet not cold."

"I would but find what's there to find,
Love or deceit."

"It was the mask engaged your mind,
And after set your heart to beat,
Not what's behind."

"But lest you are my enemy,
I must enquire."

"O no, my dear, let all that be;
What matter, so there is but fire
In you, in me?"

The Mask: W. B. Yeats, from The Green Helmet and Other Poems, 1912

Face masks of Prince William and Kate Middleton are loaded into boxes for shipping at a production plant in Southam, England; by a week before the ceremony over 120,000 of the masks had been sold worldwide with Mask-arade company staff working around the clock to complete orders before the royal wedding: photo by Martin Cleaver/Associated Press, 22 April 2011


Mask found in window of Bodie, California ghost town school house: photo by Tahoenathan, 2009

File:First aid masks for CPR training.jpg

Masks in showcase of first aid supplies shop, Berlin: photo by Till Krech, 2006

MaskTV: photo by James Reynolds, 2006


Anonymous said...

There is something about masks. Real ones and virtual ones. Carnival, theater, hiding, lying, pretending... So many reasons to wear one. Don't we all wear one sometime? The good thing about them is that showing our real face to someone has even more meaning when masks are all around.

Now, about the Royal Wedding Masks... no comments.

TC said...


Isn't it great (i.e. terrifying) to know the Stepford Wives Technology Division is working overtime for us? Up until five in the morning, yet.

"You can't exactly replicate it, but you can get pretty close".

Anonymous said...