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Thread: Authenticity

  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Haphazard View Post
    What if there is truly nothing there? Wouldn't then "awareness," just be a sense of what's not there? Would that not be fakery?



    Where is the line? Perhaps what I gave is not the best example -- but what about long, drawn out emotions or impulses? You know that something's not right but you're bound by responsibility and things beyond your control to perpetuate it. Is it fundamentally right to resist? Is it fundamentally wrong to go with it anyway? You know that if you resist, the consequences would be dire -- you know that it'll hurt yourself and other people you love, but you know that it would be more true to yourself to resist. Do you resist, or do you not?



    I'm not talking about things like 'a quadraplegic is likely not going to be an NBA star'. That's too transparent an example.

    Let's say we have an artist. They can do okay work, but it's not excellent. They don't believe that they're any good, but their friends contiunously praise them on the work. The artist feels that they must go and get a 'real job', and as they slowly get more involved with this 'real job,' they lose more and more time for art.

    Should the artist have pursued art? Art, unlike potential to play basketball, is entirely subjective because it's judged by the audience. For something so subjective like this, it's impossible to tell where the 'authenticity' lies. The artist is torn between their love of art and their love of food in their stomach, and they assume that both are mutually exclusive, perhaps prematurely.

    Is this unbiased processing? You obviously can't be unbiased about the worth of artwork. That's impossible. But was it authentic to have chosen food over art? I can only see it as inauthentic if the artist regrets the choice of food as they look back on it -- otherwise, the matter of 'inauthenticity' is null.

    Do you see what I'm seeing? It looks like a pretty concept, but in complex matters... I just don't see it working.
    Personally, I think you're grasping at straws. Most concepts are of the same ilk. Like I said, you may not be able to measure or quantify it, but other than for an intellectual exercise, it is hard for me to see how you can deny the existence of authenticity.

    If you really believe it doesn't exist, then perhaps I can address the concern. But, I think, like most people you will react badly if strongly restricted from being your true self.

    It is an ill defined concept, as are basically all concepts that describe reality. But that does not negate the existence of the thing we are trying to capture in the conceptualization.

    People can deny the existence of the real world along similar lines. But They will still avoid being hit by a bus when they see it coming. The point is moot. No-one actually behaves like they believe these types of things.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  2. #12
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    Personally, I think you're grasping at straws. Most concepts are of the same ilk. Like I said, you may not be able to measure or quantify it, but other than for an intellectual exercise, it is hard for me to see how you can deny the existence of authenticity.

    If you really believe it doesn't exist, then perhaps I can address the concern. But, I think, like most people you will react badly if strongly restricted from being your true self.

    It is an ill defined concept, as are basically all concepts that describe reality. But that does not negate the existence of the thing we are trying to capture in the conceptualization.

    People can deny the existence of the real world along similar lines. But They will still avoid being hit by a bus when they see it coming. The point is moot. No-one actually behaves like they believe these types of things.
    Damned buses, always running me over.

    Fine then. Let's try this.

    I don't believe that I have a true self. My self is the sum of my actions and thoughts and feelings. These things, when viewed in the past, can easily be manipulated through inaccuracies in memory. What is here and now is constantly passing. I can no longer tell if certain things I've said were lies because memory does not serve. I cannot find it in me to blindly trust others as to what happened in the past, either. I can accept it for 'all intents and purposes,' usually, but I cannot for an operation so delicate as finding my sense of self, as trying to be authentic.

    Can authenticity ever be measured by a snapshot of who someone is in the present? Because of the reading, I'm inclined to say 'no,' but as for reliable information, all I have is the present. How am I to be sure that when I look back on myself when I'm seventy years old, I'll think myself terribly 'inauthentic' but in fact when I was living my life at that point, I was terribly authentic? I would have grown older and wiser (hopefully), but who's to say what was authentic at that time? I may have journals or writing from that time, but those are prone to interpretation.

    I have nothing but the present. Can you explain authenticity now? How can this thing exist when I'm a sum of parts at the present moment, one which is constantly rewriting itself? Won't what is authentic now not be authentic later? Won't it only lead to regret?
    -Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Haphazard View Post
    I have nothing but the present. Can you explain authenticity now? How can this thing exist when I'm a sum of parts at the present moment, one which is constantly rewriting itself? Won't what is authentic now not be authentic later? Won't it only lead to regret?
    Learning to accept this fluidity of being is a major part of authenticity. There is no ready made stereotype, label, other short hand that can sum up our being.

    Sometimes I depress. Sometimes I regress. Sometimes I laze. Sometimes I doubt myself. Sometimes I am over-confident. Sometimes I see clearly. Sometimes I am oblivious. I fail often. I succeed often. This is all me, but this is not all of me.

    I may not like, nor understand these aspects. But my past behavior is my past behavior. My current feeling are my current feeling. I am who I am. Sometimes that conception of who I am changes. This is all true.

    But this fluidity is not that different from the fluidity of the outside world.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  4. #14
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    Learning to accept this fluidity of being is a major part of authenticity. There is no ready made stereotype, label, other short hand that can sum up our being.

    Sometimes I depress. Sometimes I regress. Sometimes I laze. Sometimes I doubt myself. Sometimes I am over-confident. Sometimes I see clearly. Sometimes I am oblivious. I fail often. I succeed often. This is all me, but this is not all of me.

    I may not like, nor understand these aspects. But my past behavior is my past behavior. My current feeling are my current feeling. I am who I am. Sometimes that conception of who I am changes. This is all true.

    But this fluidity is not that different from the fluidity of the outside world.
    My memory is a terrible, terrible thing. I only remember things if they're explained the way I remember them. If somebody tries to get me to remember something, they often can't because the way they explain things and the way things played out in my head rarely match up.

    This is fundamentally 'wrong,' according to 'authenticity'. These images of myself may not have been idealized, but everything is usually downplayed ("Oh, he was going nucking futs!" versus, "I overreacted.") and everything lacks a certain dimension that other people's memories seem to have. I still don't understand who or what I'm supposed to believe, and it's not like either one of us can be trusted to have more accurate memories than the other.

    Even if I know I'm being a bastard, that rarely gets me to stop what I'm doing. I may know that I'm being a bastard, or at least have the impression that I am, but that's no reason to stop. It's self-awareness, but it doesn't do a goddamned thing. What good is awareness at this level you're describing if it doesn't do anything? Or maybe it is supposed to do something, and it just doesn't work for me? Am I just a bad person? Would a normal person stop?

    I'm just beginning to realize that this is a very painful topic for me...
    -Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge

  5. #15
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    I dunno if I should say this -

    but we perceive by making distinctions

    and different cultures make different distinctions

    but we apply the different distinctions to the same behaviours.

    Not to know this leads to solipsism or constant cross-cultural misunderstandings.

    For instance, for historical reasons you make the distinction between authentic and phoney, while we make the distinction between amusing and boring.

    And we apply these two quite different cultural distinctions to the same behaviours.

    So the question, "What is authentic?", is an inauthentic question.

    The authentic question is where does the distinction between authentic and phoney come from?

    To try to deal with "authentic" logically or ideologically just leads in circles.

  6. #16
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    I usually think of authenticity as something that's invited or uncovered, rather than something that's sought out and discovered. If the act of seeking turns into a desperate attempt to escape one's environment, whether internal or external, authenticity tends to recede. Why? Because authenticity is the result of non-resistance/acceptance, and resistance makes us feel non-authentic. Reminds of how Buddhists call enlightenment "non-attainment" rather than attainment.

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Haphazard View Post
    My memory is a terrible, terrible thing. I only remember
    things if they're explained the way I remember them. If somebody tries to
    get me to remember something, they often can't because the way they explain
    things and the way things played out in my head rarely match up.

    This is fundamentally 'wrong,' according to 'authenticity'. These images of
    myself may not have been idealized, but everything is usually downplayed ("Oh,
    he was going nucking futs!" versus, "I overreacted.") and everything lacks a
    certain dimension that other people's memories seem to have. I still don't
    understand who or what I'm supposed to believe, and it's not like either one of
    us can be trusted to have more accurate memories than the other.

    Even if I know I'm being a bastard, that rarely gets me to stop what I'm doing.
    I may know that I'm being a bastard, or at least have the impression that
    I am, but that's no reason to stop. It's self-awareness, but it doesn't do a
    goddamned thing. What good is awareness at this level you're describing if it doesn't do anything? Or
    maybe it is supposed to do something, and it just doesn't work for me? Am I just
    a bad person? Would a normal person stop?

    I'm just beginning to realize that this is a very painful topic for
    me...
    I didn't realize you were being serious, and thought you were using a "its
    ill-defined so it lacks substance" argument. Poor definition is bad for science
    for sure, and I don't think these things can be called "scientific," but when
    trying to understand something we often have no choice but to start with poorly
    defined concepts.

    Also, "pain" is often a necessary part of authenticity. I am not sure if you are
    repressing or suppressing memories and/or have a biological condition. That
    wasn't clear in your statement. Is your memory condition something you would
    want to see a doctor about?

    I think we may need to separate good vs. bad (and right vs. wrong) from the question of authentic vs.
    fake. Is authenticity necessarily a good thing? I don't know. But it is certainly sad for me when people cannot be authentic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    I dunno if I should say this -

    but we perceive by making distinctions

    and different cultures make different distinctions

    but we apply the different distinctions to the same behaviours.

    Not to know this leads to solipsism or constant cross-cultural
    misunderstandings.

    For instance, for historical reasons you make the distinction between authentic
    and phoney, while we make the distinction between amusing and boring.

    And we apply these two quite different cultural distinctions to the same
    behaviours.

    So the question, "What is authentic?", is an inauthentic question.

    The authentic question is where does the distinction between authentic and
    phoney come from?

    To try to deal with "authentic" logically or ideologically just leads in
    circles.
    I don't deny that it is a legitimate question. I am simply asserting that there
    is something of substance there. I agree that authenticity is fairly arbitrary as a concept, but one that is useful in many contexts.

    At what point does a bunch of sand particles become a pile of sand? Hard to say.
    We make arbitrary decisions about this. Perhaps there are better, more accurate
    ways to describe the same things. However, the ill-definition of the concept
    does not negate the existence of the phenomenon it attempts to capture.

    Perhaps you can suggest better concepts to capture the same ideas.

    However, drawing distinctions between authentic and fake is little like asking
    to draw the distinction between big and small. Authenticity is a relative
    concept, and highly subjective one. But it still has substance.

    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    I usually think of authenticity as something that's invited
    or uncovered, rather than something that's sought out and discovered. If the act
    of seeking turns into a desperate attempt to escape one's environment, whether
    internal or external, authenticity tends to recede. Why? Because authenticity is
    the result of non-resistance/acceptance, and resistance makes us feel non-authentic. Reminds of how
    Buddhists call enlightenment "non-attainment" rather than attainment.
    That is a subtle distinction, I am just learning to understand. Usually, when we
    seek, we turn things over to uncover what is underneath. As for inviting it,
    that is intriguing.

    How do you invite authenticity?

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  8. #18
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    I try to be a good friend to people and help them out with whatever I can. That puts your own struggles aside, and the comforting and security you impart to others neutralizes your own frustrations, needs, self-doubt, avoidance, and self-criticism. Being a friend to one's self is another technique, as it appreciation/making the best of a situation -- slightly different focuses, but same thing going on.

  9. #19
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    I didn't realize you were being serious, and thought you were using a "its
    ill-defined so it lacks substance" argument. Poor definition is bad for science
    for sure, and I don't think these things can be called "scientific," but when
    trying to understand something we often have no choice but to start with poorly
    defined concepts.

    Also, "pain" is often a necessary part of authenticity. I am not sure if you are
    repressing or suppressing memories and/or have a biological condition. That
    wasn't clear in your statement. Is your memory condition something you would
    want to see a doctor about?

    I think we may need to separate good vs. bad (and right vs. wrong) from the question of authentic vs.
    fake. Is authenticity necessarily a good thing? I don't know. But it is certainly sad for me when people cannot be authentic.
    I wasn't saying that "it is ill-defined so it lacks substance," I was saying that "it's ill-defined and it lacks substance." Something can be both and one might not have to do with another. I will concede that authenticity may exist if we can entirely separate it from good and bad. I don't see how it would be a bad thing if somebody cannot be authentic -- if you knew what you wanted to be doing, but you couldn't do it, wouldn't it make things all the worse?

    I don't know if my memory problem is actually a 'problem,' per se -- I can recall concrete, factual information well enough if I take care to remember it (such as, for tests and stuff), but with anything more than that, if somebody asks me if I remember something, it takes a good, long time before what they try to get me to recall matches up with what I remembered happen. Actual events may be the same, but they still don't mesh. What I take from events doesn't match up with what other people take from them -- if I still don't 'get' exactly what they're trying to make me recall, even if I can remember the time and place, I just have to resort to lying and saying that I wasn't really paying attention.

    This is the issue with analyzing past behavior -- one party may see this and another party may see something totally different, even though they're looking at the same event from the same vantage point. Unbiased observations are impossible. There may be some that are 'less' biased than other ones, but in essence it still creates an interpretation that may not be true. So, which interpretation do you take? Your own, or that of others?
    -Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge

  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    I try to be a good friend to people and help them out with whatever I can. That puts your own struggles aside, and the comforting and security you impart to others neutralizes your own frustrations, needs, self-doubt, avoidance, and self-criticism. Being a friend to one's self is another technique, as it appreciation/making the best of a situation -- slightly different focuses, but same thing going on.
    I somewhat understand how being a good friend can invite authenticity from them. But how does one put aside our own struggles for ourselves do be authentic? That notion is still not clear to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Haphazard View Post
    I wasn't saying that "it is ill-defined so it lacks substance," I was saying that "it's ill-defined and it lacks substance." Something can be both and one might not have to do with another.
    Understood.

    Quote Originally Posted by Haphazard View Post
    I will concede that authenticity may exist if we can entirely separate it from good and bad.
    That is all I am saying. The notions of good vs. bad, right vs. wrong, etc., though important in their own right, are orthogonal to the matter of authenticity.

    But the idea that the word "authentic" conotes nothing at all is far fetched to me. It is a clumsy word to be sure. But that is where there is room for discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Haphazard View Post
    I don't see how it would be a bad thing if somebody cannot be authentic -- if you knew what you wanted to be doing, but you couldn't do it, wouldn't it make things all the worse?
    These are points for discussion as well. Would it make things worse, if you knew what you wanted to be doing and couldn't do it? What is your belief in the matter.

    I am also intrigued by the notion of someone who cannot be authentic. Do you know such people? I do not. I would guess all such people to be sociopaths.

    Also, as another point of clarification. Self-awareness is only one component of authenticity. Though it feeds the others. There are other components as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Haphazard View Post
    I don't know if my memory problem is actually a 'problem,' per se -- I can recall concrete, factual information well enough if I take care to remember it (such as, for tests and stuff), but with anything more than that, if somebody asks me if I remember something, it takes a good, long time before what they try to get me to recall matches up with what I remembered happen. Actual events may be the same, but they still don't mesh. What I take from events doesn't match up with what other people take from them -- if I still don't 'get' exactly what they're trying to make me recall, even if I can remember the time and place, I just have to resort to lying and saying that I wasn't really paying attention.
    I still don't understand your problem here. It seems like it is not a medical issue, that is good. Why you "have to" lie in that situation is not clear to me, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Haphazard View Post
    This is the issue with analyzing past behavior -- one party may see this and another party may see something totally different, even though they're looking at the same event from the same vantage point. Unbiased observations are impossible. There may be some that are 'less' biased than other ones, but in essence it still creates an interpretation that may not be true. So, which interpretation do you take? Your own, or that of others?
    I don't see this as a problem. It is not a black-and-white situation. You do not need to take all your own interpretation, nor all of that of others. Some churning, discussion and reinterpretation is often very helpful.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

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