Developed in Darkness

Who are you when you are by yourself? When nobody’s looking, are you the same person? In times past, only villains wore masks. Today, almost everybody has one on. The masks hide our identities. But in truth, they really show us who we are.

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth. –Oscar Wilde

For years, I pondered these words from Oscar Wilde. I thought it was literally about what we say, but it goes beyond that. Put a mask on, and we show the world who we really are. The villain wears it to hide his identity, but his heinous deeds are exposing the darkness of his soul. It is in the shadows that his true self comes out.

Under the cover of anonymity, we speak our true hearts. Words that we would be ashamed to be credited with are released into the public without a second thought. Maybe this is why you see so many secondary/anonymous Twitter accounts. It is much easier to spew hateful things when no one knows who you are.

Character, like a photograph, develops in darkness. –Yousuf Karsh

Can you be the same in public and in private? Can you develop a character in darkness that once exposed to the light is free from defects? This is the transparency we all expect from other people. But do we expect it from ourselves?

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