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Authentic, authentic(ity)

Whats in a word?


genuine true, veritable real original faithful to an original (O.E.D.) creative

What is, not what it always was

Authentic from autentique (Old French), authoritative, authentic, canonical from authenticus (Medieval Latin) from authentikos (Ancient Greek), original, genuine, principal from authentes (one acting on ones own authority) > autos+ hentes (ones own + doer)

The dark meanings of a Greek word

authentes: one who slays with his own hand (the murderer). (Herodotus, Aeschylus, Euripides) authentein: to thrust oneself (also, apparently, an erotic verb) becomes associated with the idea of power: after the third century A.D. it means to bear rule In Gnostic papyri, the terms authentes, authentikos, authentia designate the original, the primordial > the authentic Authentes> the one with authority, the one who creates on his own authority > the master Catherine Kroeger, Ancient heresies and a strange Greek verb

The inner, the outer, the authentic

To say that a person is authentic is to say that his or her actions truly express what lies at their origin, that is, the dispositions, feelings, desires, and convictions that motivate them. Built into this conception of authenticity is a distinction between what is really going on within me the emotions, core beliefs, and bedrock desires that make me the person I am and the outer avowals and actions that make up my being in the public world. Charles Guignon, Authenticity, Philosophy Compass, 3/2, 2008, p. 278

The authority of being yourself

The ideal of authenticity > self-definition The notion that each one of us has an original way of being human entails that each of us has to discover what it is to be ourselves. But the discovery can't be made by consulting pre-existing models, by hypothesis. So it can be made only by articulating it afresh. We discover what we have it in us to be by becoming that mode of life, by giving expression in our speech and action to what is original in us. Charles Taylor, The Ethics of Authenticity, 1991, The slide to subjectivism

This suggests right away a close analogy, even a connection, between self-discovery and artistic creation. With Herder, and the expressivist understanding of human life, the relation becomes very intimate. Artistic creation becomes the paradigm mode in which people can come to selfdefinition. The artist becomes in some way the paradigm case of the human being, as agent of original self-definition.

Remember Nabokov?
But of course, along with this has gone a new understanding of art. No longer defined mainly by imitation, by mimesis of reality, art is understood now more in terms of creation. These two ideas go together. If we become ourselves by expressing what we're about, and if what we become is by hypothesis original, not based on the preexisting, then what we express is not an imitation of the pre-existing either, but a new creation. We think of the imagination as creative.

My self-discovery passes through a creation, the making of something original and new. I forge a new artistic language new way of painting, new metre or form of poetry, new way of writing a novel and through this and this alone I become what I have it in me to be. Self-discovery requires poiesis, making. That will play a crucial role in one of the directions this idea of authenticity has evolved in. But before looking at this, I want to note the close relation between our ordinary ideas of self-discovery and the work of the creative artist. Self-discovery involves the imagination, like art. We think of people who have achieved originality in their lives as "creative."

Other authenticities besides the existential

Tourism studies Fidelity to a culture, to the spirit of the culture Providing an experience Creating authenticity Local colour Exoticism Peripheral cultures > more authentic

Manufacturing authenticity
Under the guidance of visionary leaders, any organization stands to blossom and achieve its potential through true authenticity being true to itself. And the experiences that manifest this authenticity to everyone who comes into contact with the organization can and indeed should be intentionally created.

The culture industry, critical resistance

Each product affects an individual air; individuality itself serves to reinforce ideology, in so far as the illusion is conjured up that the completely reified and mediated is a sanctuary from immediacy and life Theodor Adorno, The culture industry, 2001, p. 101