I got a paper on my desk the other day entitled “How authentic is the X brand in Y?” It’s an interesting question.
But, what is this search for authenticity? In one way it strikes me as odd that a person would seek authenticity outside of themselves. An authentic spare part. It’s a real one.
But then brands seek to be authentic as well. Have an authentic story. Come from a certain place. Or have a long history. Be the real thing.
Krishnamurti points out in the video above that we spend our life imitating. I think this is it. Because we aren’t authentic we seek the authentic outside of ourselves. If we were authentic, would authenticity matter? It’s like beauty products. Because people don’t feel beautiful they buy beauty products to try and make them feel beautiful. Some psychologists call this projection. And then some brand owners through their brands seek to stand for an inner truth. Why not? We, humanity, are not, often.
Authenticity is an interesting word. Apparently it derives from autos self hentes doer. There’s originality it seems in authenticity. If I buy brand X will that make me authentic? Society may think so. And for a short while I may believe so. But really we know it’s not the case.
According to the Greek origins of the word, it seems that there is an unconditioned act. Unconditioned is the opposite of imitated isn’t it? A pure act in the here and now, that is not part of the chain of causality. And that means it’s not hindered by expectation. Because the moment there is an expectation on the act there is an implied chain of causes.
Only the mind that is free is authentic. A mind that is free doesn’t look externally for authenticity. In that act of looking externally there is imitation.
So, what’s the difference? I don’t mind a brand that reminds me to be authentic. I have a few statues of Buddha at home. They are not the authentic Buddha. Most of them aren’t even authentic carvings. Yet they serve to remind me to sit in meditation, and practise sitting in the now. And at the same time they are just statues and the reminder is what my mind has given to them. They’re just metal or stone or clay or glue.
So, what is the I that is authentic?