What is authenticity? Is it even possible? Are we all hypocrites, pretending- the word derives from ancient Greek for “actor”. WYSIWYG is a compliment, everyone admires that.
When I typed the title, wordpress let me know I had posted on Authenticity before. There, Jnana commented that we discover ourselves through others. We respond out of our wounds, our hurts. We lash out when we see in others what we fear in ourselves. Or others see something in us.
And we are all influenced, perhaps even created, by other people. We are social animals- we see and we imitate, our genes are activated by our environment, nurture is nature.
Possibly when I am least self-assured, I am most authentic. I have a response I have repressed, but then I come out with it, self-conscious, self-doubting, unsure this is real or authentic.
We learn and grow and mature.
We want to appear to be good, and in practising that we may become so.
The law of non-contradiction is true- a statement and its negation cannot both be true- yet it is difficult to apply it to my experience and understanding. Both p and not-p may appear true to me: I cannot simply choose one, and reject the other, but must live with both until I see where I have been wrong before.
Not knowing is difficult, yet necessary. The discomfort is good, it motivates me to resolve the paradox; my truthfulness, knowing falsehood harms me, lets me live with the discomfort until I can resolve the paradox truthfully.
I want to be authentic and I want to fit in. Trying for either is painful.
As for reverting-
if I did it because I thought- oh, help! That was a mistake, in 2002, a wrong turning! I must put it right! I was forced by oppressive kyriarchal society into a wrong turn. I must go back, I must put it right-
if I thought that, panicking-
that would be a way further into the maze.
If I revert, that must be because it is right for me, now. And I need not make a Decision- I could start by being Stephen, just for a day. I cannot be Authentic for all time. I can only let the process unfurl, in the moment. I will be authentic in the future if I am authentic now, but these authenticities may appear different. It might feel right, even if I could not explain why it was right, in words.