Nov 3, 2008
As I look at Halloween photos I can't help but feel a certain sadness at the lack of creative and dynamic interpersonal transformation in our society. People are glad to get away from their usual habits by dressing up in colorful, macabre, sexy or humorous costumes. Halloween is the one chance that consciously conforming people have to escape their own particular set of personal and social limitations, because 'everyone does it' and there's no risk in being stared at, insulted or rejected by those who are 'serious adults' in this world of capitalism, dispossession, and imposed identity. But what of the mask beneath the mask? When we stare at ourselves in the mirror after the costumes have gone to the landfill and the beer companies are that much richer, what mysteries lie beneath the apparently calm surface? Where can we express the feeling of having multiple personalities within us when things have returned to 'normal?' 'Humanity' is more often than not another mystifying abstraction that demands our fealty. If I want to be part bat, snake or frog, or even an atmospheric phenomena, who is going to play along? We have little room to develop ourselves beyond sanctioned pathways, and the superego has us on a chain called 'propriety and property.' Where does this reactive loop of domestication get broken other than in the customary alcoholic inebriation or in private hedonism? Beyond the frozen caricatures of our personalities we are still very much unknown to ourselves, and even afraid to admit it. The next time you see someone standing on the street doing nothing, remember--they could be shapeshifting while you shop.