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The Madmen

2012/11/23 - Author: Marco Neves

I would like to start by quoting  Kahlil Gibran:

How I Became A Madman

You ask me how I became a madman. It happened thus: One day, long before many gods were born, I woke from a deep sleep and found all my masks were stolen — the seven masks I have fashioned and worn in seven lives — I ran maskless through the crowded streets shouting, “Thieves, thieves, the cursed thieves.”

Men and women laughed at me and some ran to their houses in fear of me.

And when I reached the market place, a youth standing on a house-top cried, “He is a madman.” I looked up to behold him; the sun kissed my own naked face for the first time. For the first time the sun kissed my own naked face and my soul was inflamed with love for the sun, and I wanted my masks no more. And as if in a trance I cried, “Blessed, blessed are the thieves who stole my masks.”

Thus I became a madman.

And I have found both freedom and safety in my madness; the freedom of loneliness and the safety from being understood, for those who understand us enslave something in us.

But let me not be too proud of my safety. Even a Thief in a jail is safe from another thief.

by  Kahlil Gibran, in The Madman, His Parables and Poems (1918)

We all use masks. We have to. We were taught this way since we are really small – you shouldn’t say that, you should be polite, don’t run so much. But it is not just when we are small that we are told to use masks. It’s also when we are made fun of because we tell other what we think, it’s when we are made fun of because we use that extravagant shirt we like, it’s when we are looked strangely because we decide that shorts are the thing we want to wear to work.

We all are different, the problem is that we are also social animals, we like to interact with other people, but we also feel more comfortable around people that look more like us – we were taught that people who look different are not trustable.

Those are our mask, and the masks we impose on others.

Maybe we don’t want to take out all of our mask at once, that would surprise everyone too much, and would probably push away everyone who is around us and that don’t really care deeply about us, and those who really care about us would be scared and think we got completely crazy – well, to a point that would be true, but not the whole true.

But, maybe, we want to start taking some of the masks, finding those who get us together with people we care less about and start taking those, those masks that are not that important to our functional life – to our interactions with our friends, our family, our work. Before taking out some masks you may need to change parts of your life – if you work in a company that wants you to wear a suit and you don’t like that, most likely changing company will be required. Some changes may force you to get out slowly, first to those more open-minded friends, then to that special family member that is more eccentric, then… then you finally will get the courage to come out to your close family and tell them… and even then it may not go as well as you expect, other times it will go way better.

Taking out masks will change some of the people around you – but those are the people who were with you because of the masks – and sometimes those people are between those you care about more, sometimes those people are the ones you most wanted to take the masks for – a close friend you love, and that you lose because (s)he doesn’t have similar feeling for you, the relative who always told you to follow your dreams, and didn’t like where your dreams took you, the love of your life who doesn’t understand that money is not all in your life, the casual lover who doesn’t want to be exclusive with you, or the other who doesn’t understand that (s)he is not all you need. Taking masks will make you feel free, but it most likely will also cause you pain.

Life, however, will fulfill the void left if you are true to yourself and to her.

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