The following is an exchange I had with a friend on Facebook about a status that I posted. It’s tangential and spotty but it touches on an interest of mine to think in and/or from the interstice of a specific issue. This time the issue is authenticity, as opposed to last time when the issue was time (https://jimkanaris.wordpress.com/2014/08/10/a-charming-twitter-exchange-on-time-if-you-have-the-time/)
The status in question: One of the most difficult things to be in life is yourself. For how can one “be” what one’s always en route toward? And yet …
The conversation that ensued:
Janet: Very true. What we can do is be the authentic self we know ourselves to be at this moment.
JK: I’m afraid my authentic self is always in a state of becoming.
Janet: Yes, it’s supposed to be!
JK: Right, but that’s the conundrum: I’m thinking that authenticity, because always already inadequate and in a state of becoming, isn’t something known as such. It (is) a quality of heuristic yearning, an irreducible je ne sais quoi, “knowledge” of which is impossible but necessary and therefore always deconstuctible, always on the way. It is in the interstice of decision to be X and not Y without the comfort of certitude. God help us!
JK: Yes, inadequate in the sense of lacking the quality of plenitude. The essence of authenticity is inadequate to authenticity itself. This is what allows us to be self-critical with respect to our given paradigms of authenticity.
Janet: Certitude is not possible.
JK: “Certitude is not possible” and yet we are made nervous by statements that we can’t know what it is to be an authentic self.
Janet: Because we wish for certitude. It is hard to be aware of living with paradox.
JK: Indeed, and yet “authenticity” depends on it (i.e., on the paradox and living with it).
JK: Mind you, I’m simply pointing out a dimension for thinking authenticity, not living it. In the every day, we must act practically in connection with the hopefully tried and true paradigms of being authentic. The interstice is for thinking, a strategy for development and creativity. Life is for being–hopefully as informed by thinking.