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My Philosophy on Masking -- Why It Might be Dishonest

Updated: Mar 8

A man under medical treatment.

(2023 Note: Now that I compared myself to other autists, I've realized I have Asperger's Syndrome, which can be considered part of ASD, or the Autism Spectrum Disorders. I, however, am no longer sure if I am indeed an autist, even though I was diagnosed. Please, take this article with a grain of salt, as I expect you to do, with any of my articles).


Masking is first and foremost a way of pretending, of acting in a different behaviour than what would be your natural response to things when in society. However, the difference between masking and acting pretentious, is that masking is used to conform, while the pretentious individual is either dishonest, unaware of themselves, or delusional. The person who masks does it to, in a way, "survive" in society, while the pretentious might keep certain people away from him or her, due to them being insufferable in their eyes.

As we can see, we may not be completely honest when it comes to our general approach to acting up. We may accuse people of hypocrisy, for example, but might also lack the awareness that we are also act up sometimes or pretend to be people who we aren't. That's hypocritical as of itself, but I guess it's justified because society allegedly expects us to mask our true selves sometimes.

When I'm talking about the "authentic self", I refer to our intuitive, natural responses to things we experience and think about. For some reason, society does not like even a significant expression of honesty, that may be above than average. That's because the individual isn't always important when a larger collective is involved.

I guess one of the reasons I failed getting a job at the time, was because I was too honest for my own good. Nowadays I know that job interviews are very biased, as you basically advertise yourself as a worthy candidate for a certain position in a company.

Back then, some people told me that I should not tell interviewers that I'm an autist, as that would hinder my opportunity to get jobs I wanted. And indeed, one interviewer was hesitant to recruit me because he worried that I may "get in conflicts with the co-workers", despite the fact that autistic people can still be peaceful beings, as I at least attempt to be usually.

So yes, there is reason in not showing the whole truth to some people, as that truth not only be irrelevant to them, but also equivalent to "shooting yourself in the foot" -- being counter-intuitive, basically.

I never felt comfortable in deceiving others intentionally, and whenever I did that, was mostly done when I was a pre-teen. Perhaps I'm too naive, but I seem to lack the honesty in being dishonest, or, in other words, willing to make others have delusions.

Plato's Cave Allegory is all about how a bonfire succeeds in deceiving people by convincing them that it's the sun. In contemporary terms, it's like being sold a cheap knock-off and having it branded as the real thing.

Masking, in a way, is similar to selling fake jewellery -- you may promote it to get what you want, but deep inside, you are aware that these jewels are ways to deceive others for your own agenda.

The point I'm trying to make is, that being pretentious in whatever way, is quite the common feature in human life. It's a part of politics, to conceal our true intentions, even though many of us were told not to lie when we were kids, right?

I don't really have a problem in admitting to the whole world of my true intentions and of other personal stuff. After all, I didn't really do wrong things in my life, so I don't really see the reason to conceal something I shouldn't be ashamed of, such as autism, because being an autist isn't something that's bad as of itself.

Yeah, it seems that if I was a better concealer, a better masker, I would've had a better chance with a certain woman I was friends with. She didn't really liked the truth, or wasn't willing to face it, so she left my presence on Valentine's Day. Quite the "punishment" for someone whose all "crime" was to be sincere and straight-forward.

I don't completely understand why people don't like being straight-forward and/or blunt. Sure, certain emotions can be hurt if one does not delicate their language as expected, but I did not expect to be "punished" for being sincere about my emotions at the time.

Clothes are literal examples of masking, even though they cover legitimate data (the body). They may change how people perceive us, but really, these are just clothes that are temporarily worn and then changed for something else, so they can easily deceive others through first impression, into believing someone is what they are not.

I think that a more genuine world will be more accepting towards genuine people and would not "punish" them for choosing not to pretend, just to please the minds of others. If we truly don't like hypocrisy, I'd say that we should not be hypocritical ourselves, by not liking playing "pretend".

And no, I don't mean to offend anyone. I don't see much point in doing so, so there's not much point in being offended by my thoughts, I think. I didn't call you, personally, a hypocrite, as I even don't know most of you, and never claimed that I do.

Growing up I would treat anytime I acted up as a behavioral issue. Seen by the negative responses I would get from adults. Like it was my fault I was and I needed to learn to better control myself. So one needs to differentiate between masking as a means to hide something and masking as learned behavior to improve yourself through using. Took over 30 years of masking stuff from even myself to finally want to be my own authentic self.
I believe autism can be "fixed" by teaching people to better frame expressing themselves.
It’s ok to be different but just be aware of your audience and present it to them in a way they will understand. This is done through trial and error by talking to as many people as possible. Let your true nature be exposed and see how different people react to it. It will allow you to find a way to express it that you can be happy with.
Moral of the story is it is all about learning to effectively mask so a balance exists. The balance between being your true self and a person who other people can easily accept. As long as you aren’t using it to intentionally deceive someone, including yourself, then there really is no harm in doing it.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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