your definitions of ‘authenticity’ a hope for dialogue

if any one can spare a few minutes of their time, i want you to share your definition of authenticity with me for a piece of creative non-fiction i am in the process of writing. don’t worry about if it is wordy, gaudy, prophetic, lamentable, clever, funny, whatever, anything will help. the more honest it is the better as i want to gauge public perception of it. think about objects, tradition, the modern world, the ancient world, their similarities & differences, think experience with food, things, people, clothes, culture, books, politics, literature, society, travel, education, absolutely anything that comes to mind about authenticity.

much obliged.

i have begun a portfolio for the discussion here.

16 Comments Add yours

  1. Something or someone with qualities that haven’t/aren’t tainted by an interaction / passing of years / observation / consumption / public perception.

    Haha I tried to go for something that may encompass all contexts that the word is used in..

      1. Well not just original, but retaining consistent qualities…

        E.g. probably a million variations on a meat and potato casserole in different cultures…so it’s not original but can still be authentic in each culture from which it ‘originates’. Also for a person’s approach in life- they might not be original in thought or outlook but presenting the same set of values regardless of setting or audience suggests authenticity…

      2. so would you say that something originally authentic can be replicated within the parameters of what the original authentic thing is or stands for? by the way, i am not disagreeing, i am just trying to get as much clarity as possible as to what people think & how far i can continue a diallelus. so please don’t be angry if i persist, when you had enough please say so. don’t worry i won’t go on ad infinitum.

      3. Haha. Short answer is yes.

        But depends on whether being of a particular time is also part of what is defining something as ‘original’ and ‘authentic’. E.g. you could build an art deco house now and it’d still be art deco and hence authentic, but not original as it has been done before + it isn’t part of the original wave that art deco originated. So in this case, it is only point in time that makes it either unoriginal or inauthentic.

        I think it is kinda hard though to answer you question as it depends on context. Hope I’ve communicated that clearly…

        Let’s see how long this will go haha. I’m off to sleep now, so won’t be answering till tomotrrow. 😊

      4. so i think it is safe to say original & authentic are different. so authenticity can have traits of the original carried over into it, but it is essentially something other. how about a persons opinion on the art deco house they created, could they call it say Contemporary art deco & we’d have to agree with that as a new sort of authenticity?

      5. Sorry for the confusion- I only made mmention of ‘original’ after you prompted earlier with the question about whether authentic is original. My casserole example demonstrates the two are different although I see there was ambiguity in the way I worded the opening of that comment. Not sure I entirely agree with your first point above, because there is no reason why something authentic isnt always original (just not ALWAYS the case). I agree with your point about the re-defined art deco by use of ‘contemporary’ as making it authentic…it could be the modern materials, or slight change to changes to reflect contemporary concerns such as energy efficiency or sustainably sourced components. Best of luck with what you’re writing- look forward to reading it.

      6. you think authenticity is flexible in some cases then.
        i want the essay to be mostly public research. i will narrow it down over a few posts be more specific on certain topics. i hope you’ll continue to help me your answers have been very helpful.

      7. Yes, no single definition for it, in my opinion. I believe context and boundaries you place around whatever is being discussed as being authentic or not has an influence, like the example of defining a modern art deco building as ‘contemporary art deco’ which draws a line in the sand of the era you are speaking of and therefore does away with any argument about the ‘time’ where art deco came to being.

        Glad to help. There I was thinking that wishing you good luck would bring the conversation to a close 🙂

  2. I believe authenticity comes from sincerity and dedication. When you really put in effort and care, you will create something with a distinctive edge. Nothing is truly completely new, but you can always add variation, distinguishing aspects and new angles into an old theme. Cliches or bad imitations usually appear when the motive is money and not beauty.

    1. so would you say it is how honestly someone proceeds to process something using authentic methods? say how you may use more modern language to translate an old text so that the authentic message can be understood by a modern audience with little education in archaic language? or how they update the language of Milton & Shakespeare for school children?

      1. You could say so, I feel the most tasteful art incorporates the new but can also relate in some way to the elegant conservatism of the classics. However, I feel the beauty of Milton and Shakespeare is in the archaic language, so in this case I suggest modernizing the setting and maintaining the language, like in Mckellen’s version. For example, this Lady Anne Scene with Scott Thomas is excellent:

        Not so archaic like Oliver’s version, more genuine and gritty and relatable, but also distinctly elegant.

      2. so you don’t see it as contradictory to develop classical themes & still maintain a sense of authenticity in the combination?

      3. Not at all. The greatest things come from combining contradictions skillfully. For instance, fire and water= steam, which when used properly, makes electric power.

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