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The mystique behind masks

When one thinks of a mask, the conventional sense of its meaning has always been assumed to be of a physical form. For centuries, the concept of masks and anonymity have been synonymous with each other. In the African and Scandinavian regions, a mask is used in rituals or in the rite of passage ceremonies. Eventually, as masks evolved, they came into use for many other purposes. Guy Fawkes’ image has been popularly immortalized through masks as a symbol of resistance and defiance, while ornamental masks were popular among the aristocratic circles. Medicine and fashion have also cemented their place among other uses of masks.

However, beyond these uses, one must think more deeply to understand the true potential of a mask. Being a symbol of anonymity, freedom, and liberty, a mask lets you assume an identity distinct from your own and strips your conscience of any ethical or moral barriers and responsibilities. It truly enables you to bring out your innermost desires and let them run free. The lack of restrictions degrades the fabric of morality and corrupts us to our very core. It enables you to live as you wish - uncontrolled, unbound, and unhinged.

When we wear a mask, the reason to act rationally wears down, and rightfully so. Behind a mask, things like your creed, race, colour, and gender lose their power, such that a peculiar duality is established. However, it is of paramount importance that the line between this duality remains untainted, for as Nietzsche rightfully pointed out, “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”

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