Monday, August 9, 2010

The "A-Word"

Authenticity.

It's a term often bandied about these days and just as often met with universal agreement in principle.

At least in terms of the value in "being authentic".

For the record, here is the Dictionary.com definition:

au·then·tic· - not false or copied; genuine; real:

But, if you were to ask 100 people to score themselves on the "Authenticity Scale", where do you think most would rate on a scale of 1-10? And to really have some fun with this, where would you rank? How much of your true self is on display for all the world to see each day? Do you effortlessly whip off the social mask of ego with ease? Or do you struggle to maintain false fronts that keep the peace while the person inside falls to pieces?

Honestly, I wouldn't have a clue myself how to answer right now, but not knowing the answer should never be an excuse for not asking the question. Afterall, isn't that how really learning takes place? Ask a good question enough times and eventually you can learn a lot by patiently listening and waiting for answers to appear.

You can also accelerate that learning curve through research or by asking someone you respect.

Scientifically, Brian Swimme, Ph.D. has the cred to weigh in on this subject. Brian is a mathematical cosmologist at the California Institute of Integral Studies and has been featured in television programs along with scientists such as Stephen Hawking and David Suzuki.



According to Dr. Swimme, pursuing our passions as we respond to the deep currents of energy in the universe may be the ultimate creative act. Only through authenticity, are others served in a positive way. However, academic jargon or New Age mumbo-jumbo doesn't always cut through the information clutter for some people so here is where a friend comes in handy.

This particular friend would be pegged by many as being an "8" or a "9" on the Authenticity Scale, and as such, had no difficulty at all responding to the question. You might say this is the kind of person who eats the "A-Word" for breakfast.

Here is the unedited answer - warts and all.

"Authentic" - my version...No games. No lies. No masks. No ego. No bullshit. Letting the world see who you really are without any pretense.
Not getting caught up in superficiality. Being Real.
Being able to admit when you fuck up and accept the responsibility that comes with this.
Willing to be vulnerable with those you love.
Willing to change if you're hurting another person.
Willing to fight for what you believe in and not ever give up.
Being different in a world that demands the conformity.
And most importantly...doing what you feel is right even though most will tell you its wrong".


Thanks for the clarity my friend!

Nothing false or copied there.

It has been said that realizing one's destiny is the only real obligation we have on this planet. But, your journey to destiny will only be reached by following a path marked "Authenticity".

If you're asking questions such as:

• Have I really fulfilled my potential?
• What shall I do with my life?
• Now that challenge is over, what’s next?
• Is this all there is?
• Am I really living my own life?


Then, chances are there is a gap between the "real" you and the one you place on social/relationship/career/family display. The good news is with the advent of YouTube, you don;t have to look far to find real, chilling examples of "living on the ledge".



I've never met Paul in person, but something tells me he is off the charts on the 1-10 Authenticity Scale, at least as far as his choice of career is concerned. He is doing exactly what he is meant to do.

But today's post is less about Paul Nicklen, Brian Swimme and anyone else who will never have to worry about what waits at the end of the human existence checkout line. How tragic would it be to discover as they're ringing you in for your last living moment that you never did live your own life, but the life someone else wanted you to live?

It's been said that the world's great lie is that at a certain point, we lose control of what's happening to us and our lives become controlled by fate.

Don't believe it.

Not for a fucking minute.


"If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much room"
WALTER S. MELANSON


Originally posted December 14, 2009

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1 comment:

East Coast Gal said...

Hey, I used to know Paul Nicklen, and he is as authentic as it gets. I lived in the NWT for years and Paul was just becoming well-known when I first arrived. He's a first rate nature photographer and his love of the North inspired many photographers onto great things, as he has done.