We have noticed a gush of social media posts about “authenticity” or “being real” and thought it might be an appropriate subject for this blog.
– worthy of acceptance or belief
– conforming to an original
– not false or imitation
– true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character
– being really what it seems to be, genuine
– genuineness as a reflection of the true person and not simply of a professional acting in a role
[Ultimately from Greek authentikos, from authent?s perpetrator, master; from autos self + -hent?s accomplisher, achiever.]
Checking it out, we also noticed a surfeit of psychological and psychiatric dialog about authenticity. Apparently the subject is not so well understood, given the excessive amount of scholarly discussion and argument over it. An example is “What the new science of authenticity says about discovering your true self“, a recent article we saw from a psychologist who claims that “it can be challenging to find your authentic self.”
We think the real challenge is recognizing what is authentic in spite of all the psychobabble.
One’s Real Self
We would like to think that everyone would agree with the statement that they are themselves and not someone else. So we can call one’s own self or personality “oneself,” or one’s “identity,” or one’s “beingness.”
Interestingly enough, a person has the ability to combine with or take on parts of another. When done willingly and knowingly, we call this “acting” and extol this ability in actors and actresses.
However, when done unwillingly or unknowingly, this becomes a problem and could be called a “facsimile personality.” Without detouring into the mechanics of how this occurs, we note that a person can display the characteristics of one or more personalities in addition to, or in place of, their own. In extreme cases this might produce a “split personality” or certain symptoms of so-called schizophrenia.
Psychiatric Confusion about Authenticity
Some psychiatrists notice that some thoughts and feelings are genuine expressions of oneself, and some are expressions of mental trauma or the side effects of psychiatric drugs. However, we do not find an effective psychiatric process for self-discovery, or an effective method for recognizing or rehabilitating authenticity.
We do find a lot of psychiatric psychobabble, so instead of burrowing down the rabbit hole of psychiatric mumbo-jumbo, let’s just get down to what we can do about it.
Practical Aspects of Authenticity
The subject of facsimile personalities is extensive, and not something we are going to fully address here. However, we can address some aspects which might prove useful in our original quest for authenticity.
There are three elements that bring about an Understanding of oneself, others, and the world around you. These three elements are Affinity, Communication, and Reality. After all is said and done, authenticity is recognizing what is real. And in no small measure, recognizing what is inauthentic and unreal about psychiatry.