The Authentic Guide to Authenticity

As everyone who’s spent more than thirty seconds on social media knows, it’s essential these days to be authentic.

But what does this mean?

Study after study has revealed that we humans are at best partially-conscious, a mixed bag of competing desires and inconsistent beliefs, actors unaware for the most part of our motivations. Our brains are excellent at creating an illusion of purposefulness after we’ve done something but that’s very different from the concept of us as having control over ourselves.

Just as the brain creates the illusion of a complete field of vision by hiding from our awareness the two holes that result from our optic nerves passing out through the back of each eyeball on their way to the brain, so our brains create an illusion of continuity and purposefulness in our daily lives. But many reputable studies have shown that by and large we act first, unaware of the trigger impulse, and then our brains invent a “why we’ve just done that” story so we don’t feel scarily out of control.

And as we’re a collection of competing impulses and desires (“I want to lose weight, I won’t eat that slice of pie in the fridge…. Ohmygod, it’s SOOOOO yummy!!!”) it’s obviously going to be quite a challenge for us to decide what it could possibly mean for us to be authentic.

Which is a major problem because, as we know, authenticity is everything.

We want authentic experiences.

We want authentic relationships.

We want authentic InstaSnapBook accounts that can garner millions of followers to be parlayed into a fat deposit into our bank account every month.

Fortunately I can now reveal the Secrets Of Being Authentic

Authenticity has several important components:

The first component is earnestness. Lighthearted self-deprecation is most certainly not authentic because it implies the presence of some kind of functioning intellect and as far as authenticity is concerned, thinking is a big no-no. Authentic responses to external stimuli have to occur without any activity happening in the frontal cortex. As far as authenticity is concerned, the brain is merely 1.5k kilograms of spongy ballast that stops our heads from bobbing about in a disturbing way.

The second component is self-absorption. It’s not easy being authentic so we have to focus all our limited intellectual capacity on ourselves to ensure that we’re being suitably authentic at all times. Unless we’re completely self-absorbed we risk having moments of accidental inauthenticity, which would be catastrophic for our persona, resulting in severe emotional trauma and an even more traumatic loss of advertising income.

The third component is insomnia. Just like rust, authenticity never sleeps. Just imagine how terrible it would be if after a hard day of being thoroughly authentic, we accidentally muttered something in our sleep that was at variance with our carefully-crafted authentic self! Fortunately, the modern world has no end of suitable chemicals with which to keep slumber at a distance. Furthermore, if we never sleep we need never pause our perpetual uploading of our authentic lives onto our InstaSnapBook accounts.

Now this is all very well and good but some readers may be thinking, “OK, I understand how to sustain authenticity once I’ve got it started, but how do I know what’s authentic in the first place?”

The answer is surprisingly simple: authenticity is what other people say it is.

This makes perfect sense. It would be no good being authentic if other people didn’t recognize our authenticity. And as people only recognize what they already know it logically follows that our authentic selves must be based on what everyone else currently regards as being authentic.

Hence we can safely assert that today authenticity must include:

A consistent approach to life in which every dawn heralds a new opportunity for selfie-taking in front of some well-known landmark or alternatively the featuring of cold leftover food on our bedroom floor that we’ll get to later when we’re really truly desperate.

A well-tuned sense of victimhood in which any action performed by another human being can, with a little ingenuity, be transformed into a traumatic life-shattering micro-aggression. Even if the person sitting next to us is asleep and merely breathing, this is a heinous micro-aggression against (i) people who are dead, and (ii) people who one day will be dead, which includes us!

An absorption with ephemeral pop culture. No truly authentic person ever reads books and certainly would be puzzled if presented with a history book (“Cute! What is it? Some sorta wrinkle-flattening product?”). Therefore, what is right now is all that has ever been and all that will ever be and today’s moeurs are eternal verities. This must be true because everyone’s selfies always feature the same poses and gestures (propping up the Leaning Tower of Pisa, flashing gang signs, etc.).

A single expression. Here’s where we need to make a fundamental decision about our authenticity. We need to be consistent because people get confused when there’s too much going on. Today we can choose between Manic-Smiling-Always-Happy-Carefree-Adventurer and Moody-Tormented-Young-Adult-In-Own-Bedroom-Forever. Once we’ve made our choice we stick with it because that’s what our followers and sponsors will want to see. Every time.

The final habit we must cultivate is an obsessive following of other authentic people. Because authenticity can change overnight without warning. If we let a day go by without consuming hundreds of other people’s authentic social media streams we risk being left behind, our own authenticity suddenly hopelessly stale and our ad revenues plummeting precipitously.

If you’re still a little uncertain about how to achieve perfect authenticity you’ll be relieved to know that a variety of online courses can be purchased at very reasonable prices. For only $59.99 you can download the full series Authentically Building Your Authentic Self.

If you feel the need for advanced tuition you can purchase Authentically Loaded: The Expert’s Guide To Authentically Cashing In which we’re giving away at only $149.99 plus shipping and handling.

And finally our audiobook series Authentically Authentic is a must-buy for anyone who wants to turn their daily commute into an investment for the future.

Thanks for reading. It’s been real.

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

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