Alienation begins when culture divides me against myself, puts a mask on me, gives me a role I may or may not want to play. Alienation is complete when I become completely identified with my mask, totally satisfied with my role, and convince myself that any other identity or role is inconceivable.
The man who sweats under his mask, whose role makes him itch with discomfort, who hates the division in himself, is already beginning to be free.
Thomas Merton, The Literary Essays of Thomas Merton edited by Patrick Hart. New York: New Directions, 1981, p 381. Thank you, louie, louie.