The other day I felt a short authentic moment of amusement. It happened while reading a testimonial left for a man that obviously had had an outstanding effect with his personality on the person describing him. It said the person “lives his life with a strong courage of authenticity”. Courage of authenticity. What a weird, unexpected combination of words! Immediately I asked a friend how he would translate it into Estonian. And immediately he asked me back:
But what does it mean at all?
Even a copy of a copy of a copy should have the right to feel authentic or real. Matter of its own is whether it wants to. The most valuable proof of our “reality” comes from inside, not from outside. Even when feeling only quarter-attached to the reality on worse days, the feelings inside seem the truest of things in our personal cosmos.
On the one end of the personal authenticity test there is the gloomy tandem of Authentic Fear of Failure and Authentic Fear of Death. Both are quite the same as one unquestionably leads to another. Fearing death we face the ugly prospect of failing. It is the failure to live, to gain more than managed so far – more success, fame, prosperity. In whatever terms they are being understood.
These fears also lead to the careful avoidance of any kind of pain experience, including the avoidance of ugliness. Slogan “Pain is ugly! Ugliness is bad!” in our heads make sense for most us because pain and suffering refer to our temporary being – by dying we simply cease to exist. First we vanish as bodies and soon after that the memory of us from other peoples’ minds.
Another authentic feeling – happiness. Not talking about some religious kind of bliss which one only encounters in the presence of gurus and after 94 days of starving and praying, we might refer to it as a clear moment of happiness.
That embarrassingly simple thing we are taught to hunt and catch in our lifetime. And what a race it is! The means for reaching it may differ, but once felt, we undoubtedly recognize its blessing presence and happy-making influence. The shortcut to happiness, as to the opposite of fear, is beauty. Beautiful moments caressing every single sense we have is the proof of the importance of our existence.
There is a crucial difference in living through fear and happiness. Only the fear of death and failure are present here and now. The moment of happiness is always escaping from the present to the past. Just imagine the moment you say it to yourself (worse if to anyone else!): I am happy! Once you’ve done it, you have started analysing the state and cannot be truly, authentically happy any more. From that moment on the brain will be preoccupied by thoughts of comparison (is it as beautiful as the other truly happy moment in May 2003 or not?) and worse – the thoughts of true fear start sneaking in (Will it last? How long for? What will happen then??). By the time you reach the conclusion that all will be gone at certain time, the moment of authentic happiness is gone already and waving to you as a bright memory of itself from the bookshelf in the private library of happy memories.