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Related: aura - street credibility - as a concept in coolness - false needs - cult of originality - realism - simulacrum - truth

Contrast: commercialism and 'selling out'


Authenticity (philosophy)

[A]uthenticity has been associated with various human activities. For Sartre, Jazz music was a representation of freedom; this may have been in part because Jazz was associated with African-American culture, and was thus in opposition to Western culture generally, which Sartre considered hopelessly inauthentic. Theodor Adorno, however, another writer and philosopher concerned with the notion of authenticity, despised Jazz music because he saw it as a false representation that could give the appearance of authenticity but that was as much bound up in concerns with appearance and audience as many other forms of art. Heidegger in his later life associated authenticity with non-technological modes of existence, seeing technology as distorting a more "authentic" relationship with the natural world.

Most writers on inauthenticity in the twentieth century considered the predominant cultural norms to be inauthentic; not only because they were seen as forced on people, but also because, in themselves, they required people to behave inauthentically towards their own desires, obscuring true reasons for acting. Advertising, in as much as it attempted to give people a reason for doing something that they did not already possess, was a "textbook" example of how Western culture distorted the individual for external reasons. Race relations are seen as another limit on authenticity, as they demand that the self engage with others on the basis of external attributes. An early example of the connection between inauthenticity and capitalism was made by Karl Marx, whose notion of "alienation" can be linked to the later discourse on the nature of inauthenticity.

Hence those concerned with living authentically have often led unusual lives that opposed cultural norms; the rise of the counter-culture in the 1960s in Europe and America was seen by many as a new opportunity to live an authentic existence. Many, however, have pointed out that just because one lives unusually, one is not necessarily in an authentic state of being. The connection of the violation of cultural norms to authenticity, however, is strong and real, and continues today: among artists who explicitly violate the conventions of their profession, for example. The connection of inauthenticity to capitalism is contained in the notion of "selling out," used to describe an artist whose work has become inauthentic after achieving commercial success and thus becoming to an extent integrated into an inauthentic system. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authenticity_%28philosophy%29#Views_of_authenticity [Jun 2005]

see also: alienation - authenticity - capitalism - commercial - convention - counter-culture - need - reality - truth

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