In “The Mask”, the author emphasized that it was the creation of the mask that allowed the deviation from civilization to savagery. He wrote that:
“Of all of humanity’s contrivances, the mask creates the greatest freedom; it enables the extension of the will into the immoral, simultaneously freeing the individual from the moral conscience and personal responsibility.”
“The mask we use to cover our unethical behavior has its origin in the human need to be ethical.”
This relates me to some cases in the DC Lead Water Crisis and gives me a deeper understanding of those authorities’ behavior. Their intrinsic fear of being unethical and being guilty must have been aroused during the crisis.Thus they had a pervasive need to justify their behavior and mask them more by falsification and fabrication. And the more they mask, the more freedom they would have and the more easily they do more unethical things. Then, these additional unethical things made them want to cover up and mask better. A circle thus formed and made the case worse.
But the author also said, “It is the desire to act unethically while avoiding guilt and maintaining ethical integrity that has led to the creation of masks”. I don’t feel comfortable with the word “desire” here. It’s kind of exaggeration for me. They acted unethically because they wanted to avoiding guilt and maintaining ethical integrity, not because they just want to do ethical things that can lead to fears and guilt for themselves.
Building the mask is the start-point of unethical behavior and it’s an unethical thing itself, simply because it covers up the truth. As the author stated in the end, “only by removing the mask and listening anew to the moral conscience and following its precepts can our moral illness be cured.”
From another side of view, building a mask is a technical work and it takes efforts. If they have made a great mask, then, true, they don’t have to worry much about it. If they were ethical individuals at the very beginning, they would feel a little bit guilt for building the mask but would forget it soon since nothing much would be going on. They probably already have weighed the guilt of building the mask and guilt of the ethical things done before they started the work. But if they were not good at it. They built a poor mask. Then they probably need to pay much more for the repairing work. And this process will keep them feeling the guilt. Maybe much more than the guilt of revealing the truth. In those DC cases, there are some poor mask makers and some good mask breakers. But I am wondering if there are more things that haven’t been revealed just because there great mask makers involved?