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Do Clothes Make the Man? An Essay by Edward Knippers Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society — Mark Twain …apparel oft proclaims the man… — William Shakespeare the man is his clothing — Classical Greek Why Clothes?
There is a human compulsion to wear clothes in some amount or shape or style throughout history. Since the body is the one common denominator for all of humankind, why do we fear to uncover it?
Why is public nudity a shock or even a personal affront? Why is nudity even in private, at times, shameful? Why is our persona found more in what we wear than in our body, which is the irreducible minimum for our being in this world? Is this the result of the fact that God, for his own reasons, dressed Adam and Eve before sending them out into the world?
Clothes are used in many ways: We can use clothes as tools or weapons; to communicate something important about ourselves, to establish dominance over others or set up a false humility.
Clothes can help us show outwardly how we feel within, expressing our deepest sense of being non-verbally to the world around us. Clothes can be a protection against intimacy or an enticement to further intimacy.
How we dress can even be used to deny us an intimate look at ourselves as we use them to cover the hard truth of who we are. When we are standing naked, we are exposed in the most rudimentary way.
We no longer have the protection that Adam and Eve must have felt in their nudity before the Fall, or the protection of status or the protection of who we have projected or hoped ourselves to be.
If we are honest, we see ourselves as a bi-pied Homo sapien. Any dream of transcendence is blunted by our earthbound nature. The Self Before God Even more alarming than the exposure of our animal self is that naked, we find ourselves alone in the world and vulnerable before God.
No cover, no pretense, no lies about the past or about the future; just the present state of things. Even the most beautiful or the most sculpted body is not all that different from the body that is halt and lame as our true human limitations become abundantly clear when we stand stripped in the presence of our Maker.
Is this the fear and condemnation that Adam and Eve felt after the Fall? Is this why they hid themselves? Being a creature of the dirt who is cognizant of his position of isolation in the world is a hard truth indeed.
God knows our weakness, and in His kindness gave garments to our ancient parents even as He banished them from the garden. I like to think that it is because He knew that as we cover ourselves our innate sense of the transcendent, our knowledge of Him and a world beyond, can be entertained more clearly and that with clothes our parents would not be entirely lost to their animal nature.
This may seem like quite a leap, but I think that this is where we find ourselves in our earthly state. It is in this balancing act between earth and heaven that we recognize our full humanity.
Because as Christians, we believe in the actual resurrection of the physical body, our nudity is truly part of both realms, and must be dealt with appropriately.Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in, Bear't that the opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice; Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment. And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry. This above all: to thine ownself be true, And it must follow, as the night the.
Do Clothes Make the Man?
An Essay by Edward Knippers. Clothes make the man.
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