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Unmasking persona non grata

Make sure nobody sees your daily mask; but see theirs. This is the secret of the seer and the seen. – Adi Shankara, Indian age (800 AD)

The misused, mistaken, misunderstood and misapplied term “persona” (Greek) means a mask that Grecian actors wore to portray characters by hiding their faces. “Non grata,” meaning unwelcome, was added by wordsmiths and aspiring lawyers as a psychological caveat for social standing purposes.

This man-made puzzle means your mask is unwelcome, therefore be your true self. Hindu philosophy (Advaita Vedanta) teaches that the role and goal of duality is Oneness. We live two lives — one in our thoughts, and the other in our daily experience — which creates a mask in one affecting both lives. All of humanity wear masks all the time. It’s a fact of life. The mask guarantees you being presentable while saying all the right things with a forked-tongue.

It’s considered a faux pas to expose your inner thoughts or your true self in the hope that you are direct and honest, open and transparent — minus mask. You will become persona non grata super-fast, especially in a social club. All it takes is one written complaint, a swiftly convened inquiry comprising like-minded fools, and a suspension or expulsion is guaranteed. Their written “constitutional rules” are like a four-cornered billiard ball as approved by a government authority that oversees such establishments.

Social clubs become anti-social because removing your mask is conduct unbecoming that is injurious to the best interests of the club! Wear your mask, and you are still persona non grata — masks unwelcome! Why not say “Unwelcome Individual”. Malapropism abounds when legally trained minds with super-inflated egos interpret the rules — for a fee!

In social clubs, persona non grata is a contradiction in terms. One side of its mouth advocates pseudo-ethics. On the other it advances the morals of a sociopath.


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