Wearing funny hats

Here is an analogy or a parable.

I sometimes think we all go about in life wearing (symbolically) a strange-looking hat on our head. We can’t see it: but other people can, clearly.

The hat looks foolish. We are oblivious to it. Everybody else has a foolish hat we can see. But we can’t see our own. As far as we are concerned, we don’t personally have one.

It is nearly impossible for a person to hide his or her hat. One person’s hat might be composed largely of anger. Another’s of lust. Or greed. It is often all too obvious. Except to the person himself.

We constantly betray our true faults. By word. By choice of phrase. By what we don’t say. By what we do. By how we spend our time.

We are all wearing an ugly or ridiculous hat. One we can’t see.

9 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by "L" on August 6, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    What do you suspect your hat might be?


    • Posted by Julian O'Dea on August 6, 2017 at 2:24 pm

      I don’t know. I can’t see it.

      You can ask someone but he won’t necessarily give you an accurate or even truthful answer.


  2. Posted by "L" on August 6, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    Oh I know you can’t see it but what do the people in your life think?
    If it’s so obvious that others can see it perhaps they can tell you.


    • Posted by Julian O'Dea on August 7, 2017 at 1:09 am

      Well, as I said, you can ask someone, but he or she won’t necessarily give you an accurate answer. It is noteworthy that one can be “accused” of having two incompatible traits on different occasions. One person finds you lacking in assertion. Another person finds you too assertive. For example.

      I suppose we do – as people have said – learn to see ourselves in the mirror of others. But it’s certainly not an infallible guide.


      • Our perception may not be reliable, but nor is another’s. There are a host of people (who may be virtual strangers) who believe they know you better than you or your own spouse. They think they know what you meant even when you know it’s not what you meant! We see this all the time with celebrities whose fans think they *know* them. That said, I’m always fascinated to hear what others think my funny hat may be….

      • Posted by Julian O'Dea on August 7, 2017 at 6:59 am

        Mishka, it reminds me of a remark in a book on personal identity where the author refers to surface signs of a person’s deep personality. He said it was like catching sight of the fin of a massive sea creature. And intuiting the rest.

        It seems to me that even small hints – word choices even – can give one away. (A woman poet unfriended because she said something I wrote “spoke volumes” about me. I thought she was a twit. But I understood her point.)

        There is an analogy with how people give their age away with the slang they use.

  3. Posted by fuzziewuzziebear on August 6, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    For some reason, this post reminded me of New Year’s Eve.


  4. Posted by RichardP on August 6, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    “You never really get to know a person until you’ve had a chance to see the choices they make.”

    Folks who understand that statement pay attention to it. They don’t pay attention to hats.


  5. Posted by Julian O'Dea on August 21, 2017 at 11:57 am

    People who live in society have learnt how to see themselves, in mirrors, as they appear to their friends. I have no friends: is that why my flesh is so naked?

    Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea


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