The return of faces | The Press

“Masked, all hatred is shocked, and the most hidden becomes the boldest. —Pierre Reverdy

What happy news that the end of the wearing of the compulsory mask is coming (May 14). Finished, we hope, the mask among the speakers and educators which contributes to language delays in the little ones. Finished also, we hope, the mask during various interventions, whether it is the intervention of a social worker, a police officer. Finally finished this mask which participated in a climate of anxiety rather than appeasement. Which contributed to the fear of each other.

Indeed, with the confiscation of faces, how easy it was to leave our respect in the cloakroom, to be abrupt, to hate this Other without remorse, to insult a “non-face”. How easy it was to ignore his fellow man with the utmost discretion.

“Anthropologically […]masking the entire population can only harm sociability by helping to depersonalize human relationships by concealing the face”, underlined Claude Simard⁠1.

The mask has been a frightening barrier to social ties. Already in the big cities, we talk to each other less and less, that the reflex to ignore each other royally is tenacious, now behind our curtain in the face, the temptation to base instincts and isolation is uninhibited. Who has never witnessed these disparaging looks thrown at this Other who does not wear his mask properly, who does not have the right model, worse, who does not? Who has never changed route so as not to cross paths with the Other? Who has been sad to witness a meeting between a masked grandmother and her grandchildren whom she has not seen for months? For too long now, many young and old have not been able to benefit from the full richness of human expressions.

The hope of the faces found

So, what joy at the idea of ​​finding all these faces in public places, at the local grocery store – in their singularity, their complexity, their individuality. Once again, it is the possibility of speaking to each other, of seeing each other, of listening to each other properly. To better understand each other first, but also to let go of empathy and otherness from a different perspective. The end of the masks is a first step towards the appeasement of consciences, as well as towards a psychological and social improvement.

The face is to come together, both in what unites us and what distinguishes us. Surely it will contribute to bringing us closer to each other and to the meaning of the human experience. As well as to heal divisions of all kinds.

There is a beautiful passage in the novel Beauregard Hotel by Thomas Clavel, where the heroine, Axelle, rediscovers her relationship to others through the symbolism of the face, and this, in the midst of a pandemic: “What she had in front of her big wide eyes was her face alive, as he had been captured by the gaze of another, as he had been collected by another face. It was her truest face since it was the one that someone other than herself had been able to meet. The face like the mirror of the Other, here it is finally restored to us. This essential mirror offering the possibility of gazing at each other, as we have been doing for ages, and which invites us to beauty. She will affirm further: “I believe that my face obliges me… […] Yes, I believe he forces me to behave like a good person. »

Soon, we will be able to say hello to the freedom to see ourselves and “to be”, without hindrance. And we will see them arrive by the thousands, by the millions: all those smiles, those funny faces, those kisses, those facial expressions; those faces beautiful by their mere presence. Here is finally the return of the faces.

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