Public Self/ Private Self
The young woman in the photo does not seem to be an example of someone identified with her persona. The drawing she made shows a female figure about her age that seems to be at the edge of metamorphosis, frightened, but also curious and adventurous. The drawing seems to reveal what is happening with her soul, while her socialized face seems a bit shy and she hides half of it behind the sketch book. CARD URL:

Card #315 – Public Self/ Private Self


“There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;” — T.S. Eliot

What is going on beneath the social masks presented to the interpersonal world? Let worthy others see your inner light.

Often, we need to put on masks to meet the outer world — we act differently at work or school than with intimate friends and adopt specialized demeanors when interacting with police or on a job interview. But some people — some police, for example, or people forever trying to be cool — come to identify with the persona. They believe they are the persona, the uniform or cool clothes wear them, and authenticity and their essence become ever more submerged.

Underneath his exoskeleton of brand name clothes, is just one more brand name.

An ad for Seiko watches says (approximately), “It’s not your clothes that say the most about who you are, not your shoes, not the car you drive, not the music you listen to. It’s your watch.” Of course, it is yourself that says the most about who you are, not the brand name consumer goods, but the Babylon Matrix wants you focused on surfaces, appearances, and objects. It wants you to believe that buying stuff is the key to forming an identity. Advertisers market cars as ways to buy an identity.

I once walked down a commercial street at lunchtime on a weekday and saw one carefully groomed yuppie after another passing me. There wasn’t a hair out of place, and they seemed dressed up to look just like ads they’d seen in glossy magazines. In my mind’s eye, I saw that their energy had formed a kind of exoskeleton; their identification with persona, clothing, accessories, and bodily appearance had formed them into a sort of full-body helmet, polished, blow-dried, and glazed with subtle cosmetics, while somewhere the self, a shriveled, malnourished, somnambulant embryo lay dormant.

Molt the persona attached to you through identification and feel yourself grow larger. Don’t wait, like Darth Vader, for the exoskeleton to fall away on your deathbed.

It is not your brand names, not your clothes, not your car, not your hair, not your weight; it is you that says the most about who you are.

For those willing to read more, a Jung quote on the persona:

“Every calling or profession has its own characteristic persona. It is easy to study these things nowadays, when the photographs of public personalities so frequently appear in the press. A certain kind of behaviour is forced on them by the world, and professional people endeavour to come up to these expectations. Only, the danger is that they become identical with their personas-the professor with his text-book, the tenor with his voice. Then the damage is done; henceforth he lives exclusively against the background of his own biography. . . . The garment of Deianeira has grown fast to his skin, and a desperate decision like that of Heracles is needed if he is to tear this Nessus shirt from his body and step into the consuming fire of the flame of immortality, in order to transform himself into what he really is. One could say, with a little exaggeration, that the persona is that which in reality one is not, but which oneself as well as others think one is.”

“Concerning Rebirth” (1940). In CW 9, Part I: The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. P.221

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