The Paradox of Authenticity

Today I came across this tweet highlighting what the author calls the Paradox of Authenticity and my God did he do a great job at synthesizing this idea. I would encourage you to read the full tweet thread but here’s one excerpt:

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I think that this is such a simple idea yet an extremely hard one to implement. I feel that we are wired to think by analogy meaning if I there’s someone that I admire I will try to replicate their behavior.

The user points out that the problem with this premise is that we fail to account for all the different elements that make an authentic person truly authentic. It’s not just the confidence of a movie star, the public speaking skills of a politician or the looks of a model. All of these factors are forces that clash with your own character and make it really hard to model someone else’s authenticity. The user argues that “there are many things wrong with this. You start modelling traits that conflict. Tying to model someone’s ‘devil may care’ demeanor while modeling the audacity of another. You’re pulled in different directions and end up nowhere.”

The Takeaway

I think the takeaway in this case is that we have to live our own lives and choose our own paths not because it’s what everyone tells you to do but because it is what will actually yield you the results that you want (hopefully inner peace and not external validation).