Archive for the ‘artificiality’ Tag

Inauthenticity

My Webster’s says authentic means that which is “worthy of acceptance or belief as conforming to fact or reality : TRUSTWORTHY.”

Continuing hot on the trail of authenticity, consider some of the inauthenticities we tolerate daily.  There are multiple examples; I’ll name just a few.  These are in addition to the overarching inauthenticity of our economic system, founded as it is on paper and no actual standard of value.  And certainly, it has escaped only those not paying attention that such maneuvers as bailouts and interest manipulation are not authentically capable of saving our asses.

Our American culture is rife with inauthenticites, and while some may seem harmless enough, consider the waste and harm caused by these (and many other) artificialities of daily life.

1.  Airport Security – Bloggers routinely return from travels with loaded posts about the absurdity of this massive, misguided effort.

2.  The Lottery – My state instituted a lottery a few years back.  I watch the obviously financially challenged buy tickets at the convenience stores, their eyes full of hope.  The proceeds are supposed to go to public education, but we see little evidence of that.

3.  Trans Fats – We’re beginning to expose the inauthenticity of this agent, on which a generation has been raised and now walks around in bodies lined with the indestructible foreign matter.  It’s different from the recent scandals in China, where poison was intentionally introduced into consumables;  I don’t believe the use of trans fats was initially inauthentic, malicious or even stupid, but its continued use is.

4.  Spam and all mass marketing – Yes folks, I am making a bold statement here, but mass marketing is inauthentic.  It is inherently not to be trusted.  It uses vast amounts of resources for a return of something around 3%.  Let’s find more authentic ways to communicate.

5.  Job hatred – This is a biggie.  It is inauthentic to continue hacking away at a daily grind that you hate.  Absolutely no one benefits.  Using excuses like you need the money or the health insurance does not mitigate the situation one iota.  To be authentic, you have to locate your own bootstraps and start tugging.

This last one opens up the deeper challenge in seeking authenticity.  It’s not just about selling appropriately or buying quality products or voting for a trustworthy government:  it’s ultimately about how we live, our personal choices for ourselves, and the kind of life for which we’re willing to settle.

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Wood and plastic

Consider wood and plastic.  Certainly plastic is here to stay, and it contributes immensely to the ease of our lives.  But in the majority of instances, something made of plastic lacks the attraction it would have if made of wood.  Organic, as we are, wood is something we know and trust and relate to with respect and admiration.  Plastic is dead, shiny but lifeless, cold, brittle.  Wood is the real thing, plastic a mere imitation.

So much of our world has become plastic, and the metaphor extends to the field of commerce where we have morphed organic realities into their plastic counterparts.  Investments with no real value, expectations with no foundation in experience, bailouts of the market economy by the government – which is supposedly outside the marketplace – suggesting that the market economy can’t adequately take care of our needs anymore. 

We have a hard time relating to all this plastic;  it’s just not in our nature.  We also have limited creative abilities, and limited courage, and can’t imagine how we could combat this well-entrenched plastic inundation.  My suggestion today is to consider the contrasts between wood and plastic, and henceforth, choose wood as much as possible.

Seek the human, the organic, the flexible, the choice that moves and lives.  Reject the lifeless, the contrived, the other choice that is cheap and easy but inhuman.  There’s a time and place for plastic, certainly, but we have overdone it and now need to restore our connection to authenticity.

The dictionary meanings of ‘authenticity’ begin with synonyms such as ‘authoritative’ and ‘trustworthy.’  It’s akin to a Greek word meaning ‘to accomplish,’ and a Sanskrit word that means ‘he gains.’  The definitions like ‘genuine’ and ‘bona fide’ come later in the dictionary entry.  So authentic first means reliable, and secondly it means real.  Interesting distinction. 

Shall we focus on authenticity for a while, and let the artificial lie?  Shall we align with our humanity and put aside cheap imitations, so that we can again locate sure footing?  More government loans and shifing tactics announced in today’s news suggest that few are ready to tighten their belts, prefering to go along with smoke and mirrors.  But for you and me, dear readers, the lure of authenticity looms large these days, and I believe we’ll do well at this point to seek the wooden alternative.