Resist thy ‘true self’
Become someone you are not in the beginning
I do not buy the idea of the ‘real self’. The ‘real you’ society constantly raves about and forces us to be in order to be authentic is just the amalgamation of (1) our reinforced behavior resulting from the way we were raised; (2) our culture including society’s subsequent expectations of us; (3) our distinct personal experiences; and (3) the ‘unique’ calibration of our biological juices. All of these factors are outside the bounds of our control.
This presupposition raises a lot of questions, particularly on the side of free will and authenticity. Can we truly have free will if our choices are dictated by our predetermined predilections? How do we become truly authentic if our behavior is simply the compound of unconscious forces and not always a result of our agency?
The answer lies in our human capacity for introspection and self-awareness. Through these, we could choose which cause among a collection of our potential causes will become the impetus for our future actions, instead of passively acting based on an experience that was heretofore more determinate.
For example, years of introspection have revealed to me that my casual meekness, introversion and non-assertiveness was a result of my authoritative Catholic upbringing. In Catholic schools, emphasis is very much on politeness and obedience. This tendency has become a strong driving force behind a majority of my life decisions.
But due to a heightened self-awareness as a result of my almost-pathological contemplativeness, I have become more conscious of the causes that I am predisposed to and deliberative of which among these determinants are more worthy, thereby freeing myself from the ouroboros of my predetermined fate. Perhaps, in this tiny space between introspection and action lies the window for freedom and authenticity.
Maybe being authentic is kind of like love: it is about doing, not having; it is active, not passive. Authenticity is not this elusive, abstract concept that we must all aspire to become. Instead, authencity is a result of our self-conscious decisions and purposeful response to individual situations.
Over and out.
“I don’t feel that it is necessary to know exactly what I am. The main interest in life and work is to become someone else that you were not in the beginning.” — Michel Foucault