Psychologist Wilhelm Reich argued that our character is a mask or a set of masks. We constantly encounter various pains in our life, pains caused mostly by other people. “The other is my hell,” as Sartre put it tongue-in-cheek. Our parents are our first hells, as little Wilhelm learnt personally. His father used to beat him frequently. His mother was a pain because she refused to intervene between little Wilhelm and the father’s cane. When his mother started an affair with Wilhelm’s tutor, she added another pain to the boy’s psyche. When the boy took revenge by informing his father about her affair, the boy added another pain to his mind because his father now started employing his cane on both of them until his mother committed suicide.
|Our leaders have a different sort of Power Point|
Parents, teachers, the society, priests of the religion – the list of hells that we have to endure is endless (especially in childhood, though pain seems to be the only faithful lifelong companion). They invariably inflict some pains on us and we put up self-defence mechanisms. These defence mechanisms create our personality, argued Wilhelm Reich.
We describe persons as introverts or obsessive perfectionists or clumsy... The simple fact is that nobody wants to be an introvert, or an obsessive perfectionist or clumsy. The introversion or the clumsiness is a mask, a defence mechanism, put up for shielding the individual from potential threats emanating from the hell that the other is.
We live in a world where masks are becoming increasingly important. People who consider themselves religious are turning into menacing hells for us circumscribing our choices. They insist on choosing the books that we will read, the movies that we will watch, the clothes we may wear, the food we can eat, the person one may marry... They insist on writing or rewriting our history. They insist on converting us into palimpsests. Worst of all, they impose themselves on us as our leaders.