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Thread: Authenticity

  1. #1

    Default Authenticity

    The cover story on the new issue of Psychology Today was:
    "Dare to Be Yourself: 8 Rules for Authentic Living"

    The rules they gave were:
    1. Read Novels
    2. Meditate
    3. Be Deliberate
    4. But Not Too Deliberate
    5. Cultivate Solitude
    6. But Stay Connected
    7. Play hard
    8. Be Willing to Lose


    The actual article (by Thomas Moore) goes into more detail. There is also a longer and more involved article, entitled "In Search of the Real You," by Karen Wright.

    Link to Online Version

    I thought it would be interesting to start a general discussion about authenticity, and the research, as well as personal experiences that are relavent.

    Any thoughts?

    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. #2
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    What does 'authenticity' mean? What is the point of it, and why do these people want others to attain it? Is it really worth the effort?

    That may sound a little dry (probably because I've been studying for the AP exams), but honestly. In this context, authenticity could mean anything. I need clarification.
    -Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge

  3. #3

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    Here is a very long answer to the first question.

    The four components of authenticity they identify are:
    • Awareness
    • Unbiased Processing
    • Behaviour
    • Relational Orientation


    Partial Answers to the others are given in the link to the online version of the Psychology Today article.

    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. #4
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    Here is a very long answer to the first question.

    The four components of authenticity they identify are:
    • Awareness
    • Unbiased Processing
    • Behaviour
    • Relational Orientation


    Partial Answers to the others are given in the link to the online version of the Psychology Today article.
    Those first two are impossible.

    I'd be extremely impressed and willing to change that answer if I can be proved wrong, but I highly doubt that anybody has any proof that these first two can be attainable.

    I read the five-page article. It looks like this sort of thing can help somebody who's in need, but it still appears to me to be a load of bull. Perhaps it's just the way the article is written, but I don't like this. It looks like the product of a culture obsessed with something that just doesn't exist. Look at 'beauty,' for example. These are things that so easy to talk about colloquially but once we start to dig deeper, there's very little actually there.
    -Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Haphazard View Post
    Those first two are impossible.

    I'd be extremely impressed and willing to change that answer if I can be proved wrong, but I highly doubt that anybody has any proof that these first two can be attainable.

    I read the five-page article. It looks like this sort of thing can help somebody who's in need, but it still appears to me to be a load of bull. Perhaps it's just the way the article is written, but I don't like this. It looks like the product of a culture obsessed with something that just doesn't exist. Look at 'beauty,' for example. These are things that so easy to talk about colloquially but once we start to dig deeper, there's very little actually there.
    Interesting perspective. But here some more concrete and simple questions to ponder:

    Which is more appropriate for you to pursue as a career?
    A) A pro-basketball player
    B) A journalist
    C) A free-lance photographer
    D) A research scientist
    .
    .
    .

    Certain answers would be more appropraite (i.e. authentic) for someone than other answers.

    Which is more appropriate for you to chose as a life partner?
    A) A female who wants to take on traditional gender-roles
    B) A male who wants to take on traditional gender-roles
    C) A same-sex partner with a strong sex-drive, and gives you lots of space
    D) Some one you consider a soulmate, and share strong spiritual convictions with
    .
    .
    .

    Again some choices are more authentic than others. I believe that to be true.

    Would you become a doctor, or lawyer simply to please your parents, despite hating the actual work?

    There is something of substance to "authenticity," imo.

    Perhaps in a decade or so, you will have a better understanding of which choices you made were more or less authentic.

    The components mentioned are not all or nothing things, but matters of degree.

    But, like the article said, authenticity is not for the faint of heart. There are drawbacks.

    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

  6. #6
    Senior Member aeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haphazard View Post
    Those first two are impossible.

    I'd be extremely impressed and willing to change that answer if I can be proved wrong, but I highly doubt that anybody has any proof that these first two can be attainable.
    In states of consciousness where there is no subject-object relationship, it is indeed possible to attain, e.g., samadhi -> nirvana.

    These states are described in perennial wisdom traditions all around the world.


    cheers,
    Ian

  7. #7
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    Would you become a doctor, or lawyer simply to please your parents, despite hating the actual work?

    There is something of substance to "authenticity," imo.

    Perhaps in a decade or so, you will have a better understanding of which choices you made were more or less authentic.
    That's a funny question. What do you mean by 'please'? There are certain people who are so afraid of their parents that they feel that they must do these things, even though they don't want to. This is more of a problem than simply 'knowing one's self' can solve.

    Is it enough to simply know one's self? Many of these desires cannot be acted upon. For example, if I acted upon my true desires, I would have bitch-slapped two people today, but I didn't. I didn't because I have restraint and I have other things I need to do with my life that would be ruined by bitch-slapping somebody -- but still, I'm stewing on that rage. Is it enough to know what made me upset and why? What facet of my personality did got so upset, and why it was weak enough to get so upset? Does that really provide any relief?

    If it doesn't give relief, then what makes authenticity inherently good, like how these articles decry? What makes it inherently better to be authentic than it does to be 'fake'?

    Is it possible to live without bias? Even if one acknowledges mistakes and faults in one's own personality, is it the person's fault or is it the fault of the environment? Or must we accept it as something that merely 'is'? Can't saying that it's something that merely 'is' be construed as throwing the blame off of one's self? Wouldn't taking the blame all for one's self actually make one feel worse? What if it's not actually one's own fault? Or should we just take this to mean that there's enough blame to go around?

    What is unbiased processing? Can human processing truly be unbiased? Would it even be something that we'd aspire to? Is unbiased processing truly unbiased, or is it actually conforming to what other people perceive? How can that possibly be inherently good, if it's simply conforming?

    Could you please explain this authenticity again? There must be something I'm not getting here, if there actually is something to it.
    -Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Haphazard View Post
    That's a funny question. What do you mean by 'please'? There are certain people who are so afraid of their parents that they feel that they must do these things, even though they don't want to. This is more of a problem than simply 'knowing one's self' can solve.

    Is it enough to simply know one's self? Many of these desires cannot be acted upon. For example, if I acted upon my true desires, I would have bitch-slapped two people today, but I didn't. I didn't because I have restraint and I have other things I need to do with my life that would be ruined by bitch-slapping somebody -- but still, I'm stewing on that rage. Is it enough to know what made me upset and why? What facet of my personality did got so upset, and why it was weak enough to get so upset? Does that really provide any relief?
    It is not simply a matter of "knowing one self," though I believe that embodies the "awareness" and "unbiased processing" aspects of authenticity, but it also behaving in a way true to oneself and having other people know you as you truly are (intimacy).

    But we have to distinguish authenticity from lack of impulse control. They are not the same thing. You may have emotions and impulses that ought not to be acted upon. Restricting these is not the same as being fake.

    Quote Originally Posted by Haphazard View Post
    If it doesn't give relief, then what makes authenticity inherently good, like how these articles decry? What makes it inherently better to be authentic than it does to be 'fake'?
    As for it being good or bad, you can be the judge. But I think it is tragic when people do not live their own lives.

    Quote Originally Posted by Haphazard View Post
    Is it possible to live without bias? Even if one acknowledges mistakes and faults in one's own personality, is it the person's fault or is it the fault of the environment? Or must we accept it as something that merely 'is'? Can't saying that it's something that merely 'is' be construed as throwing the blame off of one's self? Wouldn't taking the blame all for one's self actually make one feel worse? What if it's not actually one's own fault? Or should we just take this to mean that there's enough blame to go around?

    What is unbiased processing? Can human processing truly be unbiased? Would it even be something that we'd aspire to? Is unbiased processing truly unbiased, or is it actually conforming to what other people perceive? How can that possibly be inherently good, if it's simply conforming?

    Could you please explain this authenticity again? There must be something I'm not getting here, if there actually is something to it.
    Bias is almost always a matter of degree. Just because none can achieve complete lack of bias doesn't mean we can just make up whatever we want to believe.

    If you are a quadriplegic, dreaming to be an NBA star in a month shows a lack of unbiased processing about yourself.

    Like a lot of complex topics, it may be hard to measure or quantify properly, but that does not mean it lacks substance.

    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

  9. #9
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    It is not simply a matter of "knowing one self," though I believe that embodies the "awareness" and "unbiased processing" aspects of authenticity, but it also behaving in a way true to oneself and having other people know you as you truly are (intimacy).
    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?

    But we have to distinguish authenticity from lack of impulse control. They are not the same thing. You may have emotions and impulses that ought not to be acted upon. Restricting these is not the same as being fake.
    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?

    As for it being good or bad, you can be the judge. But I think it is tragic when people do not live their own lives.

    Bias is almost always a matter of degree. Just because none can achieve complete lack of bias doesn't mean we can just make up whatever we want to believe.

    If you are a quadriplegic, dreaming to be an NBA star in a month shows a lack of unbiased processing about yourself.

    Like a lot of complex topics, it may be hard to measure or quantify properly, but that does not mean it lacks substance.
    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.
    -Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge

  10. #10
    Senior Member OctaviaCaesar's Avatar
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    It might be the NF in me talking but I believe that "authenticity" means behaving in every situation according to your values and trying your hardest to maintain goodwill even to those who are frustrating (or worse). I believe it's as simple as that.

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