‘They’ even hide the process by which ‘they’ have quietly relieved us of the ‘burden’ of making choices for ourselves. It remains a complete mystery who has really done the choosing. We are carried along by the ‘nobody’, without making any real choices, becoming ever more deeply ensnared in inauthenticity.
[Martin Heidegger Being & Time, Macquarrie p. 312-313; Stambaugh p. 248; paraphrase]
Today we can log onto the Internet and read three different articles on the same site; one under another; by three different people that will tell us 17 and a half reasons to quit your job and travel. To not be like ‘the rest’ and work for yourself; what you should do/have done in your twenties, why you shouldn’t do them at all and where you should be exactly in your life right now…a tick box sheet on a clipboard in disguise.
The authors seem to have a direct link to the ‘dummies guide to life’ kept in a secret internet vault only accessible with x amount of followers. They proceed to tell you the 4 to 27 million things that you have to do before you die, that you must look for in a prospective lover, friend, dog, hamster, clothes horse. They present a tick box subjective world as fact, quantifying the unquantifiable.
It’s noise, and it’s everywhere at the moment. Opinion dressed as fact.
And if the argument goes ‘well you aren’t meant to take them seriously and obviously that’s not everything, It’s just an opinion…’ well why write them? Why dress them as fact? And why quantify it? What is the point of these types of articles? Why are they so popular and what purpose are they serving?
Are we really so lazy that we can’t work out for ourselves what we want in a life partner? So lazy and unmotivated that we can’t create our own bucket lists and work out what we want to achieve? Are we just piecemealing our desires and dreams from other people’s opinions and not really taking the time and the rougher journey to try and work it all out for ourselves?
The word Authenticity is in one sense used to describe the extent to which we are true to our own personalities despite external pressures: Are we too lazy to find our authentic selves? Or are we so trend led as a world now that identity is fleeting, tonight Matthew I’m going to be…
On a recent ski trip to France I was staying in a chalet with a couple of great Irish Dentists and Surgeons and their two pre-teen daughters. Round the table a few bottles of red deep after the kids were in bed they were telling me about what their young children wanted when they grow up…
The answer was, ‘To be rich, famous, have a big house, nice car and a hot tub.’ The parents were exasperated.
The real kicker is that when their father asked them why? What would they do with all of this? They had no answer there was no authentic reasoning behind it. Now I’m not having a go at children for this…but why was this the answer? Why was there no reasoning behind their desire for money and empty bedrooms?
It’s because this is the image of success that is peddled in the media…we only see the clichéd results of z-list celebrity rich.
The sad thing is this; I’m not sure this is restricted to the under tens of the world, the story is indicative of a wider trend.
Aren’t we all doing this? Aren’t we aiming at things because of what we inhale from Twitter, Buzzfeed, The Newspaper, ‘the media’…are we so lazy that we can’t be bothered to come up with our own reasons anymore…? We follow unquestioningly the media’s recommendations as to where we eat, drink and spend our money. Are we all too busy working, socializing, just about keeping our heads above the water that we are outsourcing the creation of our identities and becoming reflective of our surroundings rather than being ourselves, and changing them?
‘According to Heidegger, in the inauthentic mode we are constantly absorbed in the demands of the present. It is non-reflective, except in terms of strategic, means-ends calculations, moderated by what the media tells us is good, valuable, or successful. In this mode, we lose ourselves.’
Where is our authenticity?
Identity; who we were put here to be can’t be collected like experiences seem to be nowadays, stamped with a selfie. It requires work, effort and many dead ends, do we just not have time for that anymore? Are we settling for what we’re told we should want? Taking the easy option…listening to the music advertised on the ‘Hot & New’ lists of itunes…and if so, are we going to miss that one song that we truly love? Are we going to miss who we really are?
In today’s world of constant content, are we just blindly accepting it all without knowing really where the opinion came from? Do we take and regurgitate unaware most of the time of where our ‘own’ opinions, dreams and wishes have come from; unable to articulate the ‘why?’ behind them.
Like the globalisation of businesses and the Starbucks effect of making cities all look alike; is the globalisation of opinion through the Internet doing the same to people, not only aesthetically in terms of fashion but is it also moulding our decisions, wishes, dreams and ultimately who we think we are choosing to be?
I don’t know, but it seems possible…
“Unless we find ways to wrest control of our own lives from society, all of our decisions will continue to be made for us by the unnoticed forces of the cultures in which we live.”
James Park on Martin Heidegger: Our Existential Predicament: Loneliness, Depression, Anxiety, & Death
So what do we do about this? How do we find our authentic selves?
Well I’m sure there are 35 and a half things that someone has dreamed up and written down somewhere that if you don’t do you’ll never know who you are…I don’t have an answer. But I’m not sure it can be read, collected, put together and will magically add up to your own personal article ‘100 things that make me who I am,’ neatly categorised under our own blog headings…Travel, Work, Play etc…
I think it’s more of a trial and error thing, you have to start doing stuff.
We strive for authenticity, originality; the unique. But on that journey, we find not what is ours…only what isn’t others’.