Bonjour et bienvenue à nouveau à la science de super-héros!As you can see, this week we’ve gone all French, which isn’t surprising really, as we’re in the land of the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and Gerard Depardieu; yep it’s France!Ryan and I are staying here for a couple of weeks for two scientific studies, so we’ve bought ourselves traditional French outfits (stripy jumpers, berets and a string of onions) as we plan to soak up as much culture as possible.This week we’re looking at masks, or more importantly the Mask’s mask and in particular the power it holds.Oh... and on a side note, something’s still clearly bugging Ryan, but don’t worry I think he’s only a couple more glasses of posh plonk away from telling me what it is, so until then, here we go!
WHAT IS IT?
It’s a mask...you know the sort of thing that someone puts on their face in order to disguise themselves.The word mask comes from the French word masque, although many cultures have made use of masks from African’s who used them to communicate with spirits, to ancient Greek’s who used them to depict tragedy and comedy in their plays.In fact masks have been used for ceremonies, festivals and rituals as well as having played important roles in mythological and cultural customs.Masks also have practical uses (gas masks/breathing apparatus) and of course they’re a staple part of the superhero genre, where they give the wearer a sense of power and mystery, as they can allow a mild mannered nobody to become a super heroic somebody! However the mask that we’re looking at on this occasion belongs to the Dark Horse Comics superhero, the Mask and isn’t just an ordinary extension of a superhero costume.
HMMM... TELL ME MORE!
The Mask first appeared in 1989 created by John Arcudi and Doug Mahnke and was based on an original concept by Mike Richardson.Most famously his alter-ego was Stanley Ipkiss, although there have been a few people who have taken on the identity of the Mask over the years and for those not in the know, the Mask is an ordinary person who puts on an ancient and mystical wooden mask to transform him into a super powered being!Over the years through comics, TV and film the Mask’s powers have varied slightly, but the biggest ability of them all has been the Mask’s reality warping power, which pretty much trumps everything else he has been able to do.With the ability to warp reality the Mask is more or less invulnerable, can do practically anything and can break the barriers of time and space (sort of).
WOW!THAT MUST MAKE THE MASK PRETTY IMPRESSIVE WHEN IT COMES TO BEING A SUPERHERO.SO WHAT IS THE SCIENCE BEHIND ALL THIS THEN?
Well as you can imagine, you can’t just pop on a mask and suddenly take over the Universe... however, donning a mask can do a number of things for you on a more personal level.Wearing a mask can ‘mask’ who you really are, by allowing you to disguise certain aspects of your personality that you ordinarily demonstrate to the world.Here, let me explain it a bit further.The word personality originates from the Latin word persona, which yep you guessed it, means mask and a personality is quite an important thing, as we all have them!Head thinking bigwig and Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung believed that everyone had both an introverted side and an extroverted side to their personality, with those who are more introverted being reserved and preferring to do social activities alone, whilst extroverts are more outgoing and prefer the company of others.Most people tend to only show off the one side to their personality at any one time and of course some people who are introverted can often find it difficult to bring out the extrovert in themselves.However the best way to turn an introvert into an extrovert is to hide them in plain sight, which is where masks can help!Putting a mask on the face of an introvert allows them to pretend to be someone that they’re not as they can say and do things that ordinarily they wouldn’t dare consider, because they remain safely hidden behind the mask.It’s the power a mask holds because it conceals who you are from others and deep down it’s also the power of the Mask, as that always allowed the wearer to be someone that they weren’t!So by wearing a mask you’re unlikely to ever find yourself with the ability to warp reality, however you might be able to temporarily change the shape of your own reality even if it’s just for a couple of hours by slipping on a mask and pretending to be someone else.
And now you know.
SUPER SCIENCE EQUATION: An introverted Ryan + a mask = An extroverted Ryan
We’re staying in France for another few days, so see you shortly!