Authenticity

Let's try an oft-requested theme that bears on our selves in relation to Society, and the core philosophical concern with Truth.  I mention this up front because society is what distinguishes the idea of truth from that of authenticity, or lying from inauthenticity:  that is, we're not even sure whether we're being true to ourselves, but we feel inauthentic.  Understood this way, authenticity is perhaps the quintessentially modern psychological concern, as our dynamic civilization has made us conscious of the forces that interfere with "just being ourselves."

I expect this to be a challenging theme.  The easier part may be to identify the forces that tear us away from authenticity (Freud's account is perhaps most famous, but the basic idea goes back to Rousseau, at least).  The harder part may be what to do about it:  is there a fix, or how do we learn to live with it better?  If we want to go beyond palliative, stress-relief therapies, then it seems to me we must have a deeper, philosophical comprehension of authenticity.  Perhaps some of the questions we asked in Identity could serve as a reference.

Please bring something we can focus on as a group for ten minutes or so at a time.  I promise to ask for these at the top of the meeting.  If you have a question, write down a good wording; find a quote that you find provocative; maybe there's a story from a movie or your childhood that's relevant.  We would be especially grateful for your best creative efforts on this theme, be they dramatic, comedic, or simply elegant. 

Jeff

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  • Jay C.

    P. S. Certified Copy streams on Netflix

    March 23, 2014

  • Jay C.

    Agreed, a movie I really need to see again, it has that Sixth Sense twistiness of wondering what it is you just saw happen.

    March 23, 2014

  • Jeff G

    I recommend the film Certified Copy on the identity/authenticity theme. Philosophical and romantic--that's an unusual combination! http://www.npr.org/2011/03/11/134429575/certified-copy-a-marvelous-mind-blowing-movie

    March 23, 2014

  • Jeff G

    This meeting seemed to be a stride forward in terms of group dynamics. I'm not making an easy comparison to the fractious Money meeting, but rather to our run of amiable meetings since last November. An obvious breakthrough was that Leuky found his voice (pun intended); what really enthuses me, though, was less that we found a way to share the stage more equitably (I mean, we learn to take turns in kindergarten, right?), than HOW we negotiated that solution. My putative leadership ultimately consisted only of providing a strange object, and encouraging people to actually touch it, to *find* a use for it. Believe it or not, I wish every innovation would unfold like that.

    April 10, 2013

    • Jeff G

      In terms of "product" (knowledge discovered or produced), we didn't set the world on fire. It seemed we shared a mood of divesting authenticity of some of its cultural importance. I must admit to a slight sadness at that, but then I'm reading Emerson right now:-). But–and this may be the inception of a turning point in my thinking about the group–there are more ways to access variety of thinking than to foster opposition (which is perhaps necessarily rooted in ego). For example, there are techniques, often rooted in the absurd, to get our minds out of ruts, but they thrive only in an atmosphere of security. So I am content to relish what may feel like too much coherence, in anticipation of our becoming more adventurous *as a group*.

      April 10, 2013

    • Jeff G

      One more meeting comparison, if I may: let me call our attention to what did *not* happen that, a few months ago, almost certainly would have. Authenticity, as a *type* of concept, is really not so different from Progress (back in October). It is so easy to divide ourselves along familiar lines, thus reinforcing partisanship and reducing philosophers to advocates. Instead we got everybody's perceptions of the theme on the table. We didn't agree as to their relative importance, but we didn't try to deny what the others saw, either. As we become more conscious of our use of language, this will become natural for us.
      This was one of those meetings that rewards reminiscence, turning up more good things that I missed in the moment. Thanks to our robust core of regulars, and hope to see the newcomers again soon!

      April 10, 2013

  • Galen

    will be late

    April 9, 2013

  • Chance

    Will be there after all!

    April 9, 2013

  • David E

    I love the topics this group discusses, and wish I would convince myself to make the trek to Berkeley on a weeknight for one of the meetups. Perhaps some day.

    I wanted to share a quote of my own, with the introduction that part of living authentically for me has become subscribing to a worldview that is divested of magical and religious beliefs. I woke up one day to find I had wasted a lot of my youth on the occult, and wished some adoring mentor had come along to tell me it was all nonsense in the first place.

    April 1, 2013

    • David E

      The irony is that the quote is also an indictment of my own dance with futility. Does living authentically require more than admitting you are a slave to materialism, et al.? Or do you have to practically reject the inauthentic? Can't I just lie back and complain about it all? I mean, Sartre collected a paycheck from his publisher at some point, didn't he?

      April 1, 2013

    • Chance

      I love that quote and completely agree.

      April 9, 2013

  • Satya M.

    look forward to seeing you all

    April 3, 2013

  • Chance

    Conflict w/ another meetup. See you next time.

    April 1, 2013

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