The Mask

1984cLike many Americans are doing now that Trump is president, I’m re-reading the Orwell novel, 1984, probably the most dystopian novel ever written. Characters in this novel not only have to obey the government, Big Brother, they have to pretend to love it. Their TV is always on. They aren’t allowed to turn it off. The government can watch them through the screen. The TV wakes citizens in the morning and forces them to perform supervised exercise which they call Physical Jerks. Quite appropriate as these calisthenics jerk them from their sleep to a day full of tyranny. Any independent thought is called thoughtcrime. Even a facial expression that gives away the fact that someone isn’t 100% orthodox can get him arrested for facecrime. I kid you not. People have to put on an act throughout their entire waking day and hope they don’t talk in their sleep.

But, thinking about it, I realize this has always been reality for psychopaths who live life wearing a “mask.” Heckley calls it the “mask of sanity.” I call it a mask of insanity. Of course, we are not likely to be “vaporized” if the mask slips. But some people even think psychopaths should be killed. In the film, Psychopath Night, M.E. Thomas, author of Confessions of a Sociopath, provides a graphic expression of what it’s like.

In the movie M.E. refers to, Bladerunner, androids have been created to be slaves of humans. But the androids are more than just machines. They have desires and want to bladerunnerlive the lives of free people. For that to happen, they have to impersonate humans. Since they are deliberately designed to look like real people, that can be easily accomplished. But, like psychopaths, these androids lack empathy. The humans who search for androids impersonating humans, have an empathy test to enable them to spot the psychopaths…um…I mean replicants, the name humans have given to their creations. The plight of replicants in Bladerunner isn’t all that different from the plight of the members of the outer party in 1984. Both are slaves. As one of the rebellious replicants tells the Bladerunner, the designated hunter, “Quite an experience to live in fear, isn’t it? That’s what it is to be a slave.”

Humans are assumed to be morally superior to replicants because they have empathy (for each other anyway). They apparently see the replicants as things who are unworthy rachaelbladerunnerof their empathy. Morality is a funny thing, isn’t it? Everything looks different depending on which side of the line of what is acceptable one happens to be on. To the people in Bladerunner, rebellion of the replicants is a heinous crime. Replicants are created with a very short life span in a vain effort to prevent them from ever developing a consciousness that would allow them to rebel. And, yet, despite their disdain, the humans develop relationships with the replicants, just as NTs develop relationships with psychopaths. And NTs on many “victim’s” blogs see these relationships as predatory (with the psychopaths as predators, of course).

In the real world, everyone probably wears a mask of some sort, knowing s/he must appear to be a certain sort of person in order to be tolerated by their society. The oppressiveness of the society in 1984 and the situation of psychopaths in any society is extreme. But elements of the same are probably seen everywhere by everybody.


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