Tuesday, March 5, 2013

How the Hell Have We as a Culture Become so Inauthentic

This does, of course, beg the question,''What do I mean by 'inauthentic'?'"

Being a story-teller, I prefer to answer the question this way. There was, once upon a time,  an infamous  gun-slinging Western cowboy who became so vexed with angst, so desperate, so fraught with anxiety, that he sought out the counsel of an American Indian healer, or Shaman.

The Shaman wanted to help him, deeply, but had to turn him away saying,  "Son, you have gotten so far away from who you really are that I don't think I can bring you back to your self."

Did you know that in the 19th Century our first 'psychologists' were know as 'alienists'? They defined themselves that way because they felt they were treating people who had become alien to themselves.

Okay, so to my point here: we are presently living in a culture that not only supports being inauthentic (or being alien to oneself) but promotes it.  Not to shoot at sitting ducks, but have you watched morning TV talk shows lately? It's a competition among the hosts as to who can be the  more superficial, inauthentic and unengaged in any real way with either the news they report or the guests they interview. Not actually being there is evidently more charming, interesting, and profitable, than being there with the people who have done something in order to get on the show. (Sorry, but I only recently learned how much money these a-list, a-holes earn.)

But in a larger sense, I feel, these kinds of goings on are a reflection of who we are and what we are becoming: alien to who we really are; and no longer fully  engaged in our own experiences.

Seeing that, as a result of recent experiences, I have become a defacto spokesperson for the neglected, downtrodden, homeless -- pick your epithet -- I would like to point out that we as a society  have our least authentic relationship to these people. We fear them, label them, ignore them, (alienate them), do anything but engage with them personally (authentically).      

Therefore we exist, culturally, in a 'Make Believe Ballroom', in which all the guests come to the party on equal terms and everyone gets their fair shake. Would be nice, if it were true. But we don't all come to the party in the same shape; though, with help, we can all learn to dance -- at least adequately.

So enough with the metaphors. We are living in a society that has become alien to itself as a people, as an organic entity  in which all persons depend on and nurture one another for the greater good of the whole.   

Pollyanna? Maybe. But ask yourself this: Do you feel more authentic when you feel connected to your fellow citizen, or when you feel alienated and separated?

It's a choice; and a choice that makes a big difference in the lives of many people living  in America who are feeling alienated from their own society and nation. 

It's not necessary; it's inauthentic.

(Please check out the petition below. Stop Sequestratian cuts to Housing Assistance.)



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