International Studies in Philosophy Monograph Series


The World as Aesthetic Phenomenon

Stephen David Ross
Pages 143-196

World of Masks

The word person is Latin: . . . which signifies the face, as persona in Latin signifies the disguise, or outward appearance of a man, counterfeited on the stage; and sometimes more particularly that part of it, which disguiseth the face, as a mask or vizard:. . . . So that a person, is the same that an actor is, both on the stage and in common conversation; and to personate, is to act, or represent himself, or another;. . . . (Hobbes, L, 1, 16, p. 147) Whatever is profound loves masks; what is most profound even hates image and parable. Might not nothing less than the opposite be the proper disguise for the shame of a god? . . . Every profound spirit needs a mask: even more, around every profound spirit a mask is growing continually, owing to the constantly false, namely shallow, interpretation of every word, every step, every sign of life he gives. (Nietzsche, BGE, #40) we are difference, . . . our history the difference of times, our selves the difference of masks.1 (Foucault, AK, 131) The image, at first sight, does not resemble the cadaver, but it is possible that the rotting, decaying, cadaverous strangeness might also be from the image.2 (Blanchot, TVI, 256) the eternal return is said only of the theatrical world of the metamorphoses and masks of the Will to power,. . . . (Deleuze, DR, 40–1)