Monday, January 25, 2010

A Lifelong Mask

Prepared by: Leila Moslemi (

"The most herculean task is simplicity"
                                                                Carl Jung

In ancient Greece and Rome the mask was used at war by soldiers and governors to hide their own identity. Later on this mask was used in theatre for indication of a more powerful feeling. When for the first time in my childhood I saw a mask of a terrifying animal on my friend's face, I was really afraid. But then I also used it and put it on then I recognized that a mask is used for playing and laughing. When I grow up I put on some real masks on my face which I really didn't like them at all. The mask of a useful person for society, the mask of a devoted mother, a faithful wife, … . When I remember those childhood masks I feel happiness in the deep part of my heart. At that time my mask was light and pure but by the passage of time my mask got heavier and darker than before.

Carl Jung argues on this mask as an important dimension of human psyche, "mask is a device that man make use of it at society in order to hide the real persona so that a better persona would be shown to the society".
I have seen lots of carnivals in which people put on strange masks on their faces and behind the masks they do lots of forbidden actions which are rejected by the norms of a society. In ancient mythology most of the heroes had a mask (eg. ZORO). But why? Because the society would reject them without a mask. Therefore a mask is a way to get a new identity. Naming is one of the powers of society on humankind. A mask is the power of society in which we have no chance of selection. After some times, we try to know ourselves exactly by those masks on our faces.
The masks are neither our real character nor our real feelings. They are forced on us by society in which we live. As a case in point we may have different persona at home or at society. We should be aware of the inside masks. We all have outside masks by entering to the society. What happens when we put on this mask on our own inside feelings?
The inside mask is not necessarily our own inside feelings. We should recognize the difference between an inside mask and an outside one for having a flexible identity. We should know more about the masks on our faces. They are forced on us so that we obey some rules forced on us by society. Te best way to know the roots of all the things in the world is simplicity. Let's put away our masks in order to achieve the secrets of mankind by simplicity.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Sophie's World

Sophie's World is a philosophical novel that takes the reader on an imaginative journey while reviewing the last several centuries in philosophical trends and thoughts.  As the main character learns about philosophy from her mysterious tutor, her life begins to illustrate the philosophies themselves.  It seems as though every philosophy that the main character reads about somehow appears in her daily life.  Each philosopher and his or her thoughts are explored in easy-to-understand detail. By the end of the book, the reader is not really sure whether or not the main character ever even existed, and finds out that he or she was the one who was to learn from all of these things.  
While the plot may be sometimes hard to find through lengthy letters and lectures in philosophy, every word in the book is worth reading, for both enjoyment and learning.  It is not the sort of novel that one can simply read with one's brain on vacation - the book requires you to think.  If you are looking for a mindless read, this isn't it.  However, if you are looking to learn about past and current philosophies in a simple, easy to understand, and entertaining way, this book may just be for you. Even if you are already well versed in philosophy, this book is a good review, and so much more. I particuarly loved the fact that the book went beyond simply explaining the philosophical thoughts to illustrating them.  It is often very hard to pin down abstract thoughts into daily life, but Gaarder has truly done an amazing job doing just that in this book. It is wonderful for anyone looking to learn or review philosophy on their own.