Authenticity

What The World Needs Now Is…

Well, love, sure, but I am a bit more concerned about our future. Things seem tenuous and on the verge of some form of chaos to continue our disruption. But what we need now more than anything else is simple.

We need authenticity.

I see a lot of heads shaking that I am out of my mind, but let me make my case. I think nearly everything is broken because, as a species, we muck up nearly every relationship we create. Consider any level of relationship — international, corporate, religious, education, fraternal, economic, familial, professional, marital, friends — we have an inate ability to frustrate and fail in collaborative,collegial, and cooperative commitments. When people fail to seek, foster, and support common ground and mutually beneficial relationships, everything around them suffers.

Observe the honey bee. A social structure of incredible interdependence and skilled participation working toward the common good. Each member of the hive knows precisely the role to be played and the duties to perform. The hierarchy thrives when it all moves in harmony and precision. The hive grows and prospers.

When you look beyond the hive, you quickly discover that the bees provide critical pollenization to nearby fruit trees and vegetables, flowers and shrubs. These plants also prosper and grow within a balanced environment, providing nectar to the bees. Both the insect and the plant remain authentic to their role in nature, yet have a vital relationship that is mutually beneficial.

So, you say, that is fifth grade science taught in every elementary school on the planet. Yet, both the teacher and the student rarely ask the question, “If bees and ants can live in a mutally beneficial social structure, why can't humans figure out to do the same?” Why, indeed?

Clearly, intellect and ego have much to do with why human society varies so much from insect societies. We have the ability to reason and share knowledge in ways no other species can in the natural world. We have developed refined psychological traits (and troubles) that influence our ability to cooperate, collaborate, and be congenial. We fuel our passion with greed, lust, power, and envy and we lose the basic instinct to co-survive.

We accept this fact because we nurture and encourage individualism. (note here: your humble author is keen on individualism and feels the individual is threatened by government, education, and theological influences.) Our world places the spotlight on heroic and poetic individuals, heralding their talent, skill, and personality as a treasure to humankind. But, most societies want the population to conform and cooperate with the prevailing mainstream of life and work. And within this construct, I believe we are each deeply in conflict with our true wishes, desires, ambitions, and passions. We are not living authentically to the genuine person within.

The quiet voice within us speaks of dreams of becoming a dancer, poet, or painter. We secretly yearn to walk in the musky green realm of the Amazon. We hear a calling to save rare felines in Africa or opening a boutique to sell artisan olive oils. But we conformed and became IT engineers, medical sales reps, PR writers, delivery truck drivers, and Brooks Brothers executives. Nothing wrong with that when you consider you opted for a mortgage, marriage, and kids. Responsibility is essential in maintaining the glue that binds our community. But deep within, you are in conflict with the “genuine core” of who you are and what you want to be. You are not living authentically. You are not being true to yourself.

This conflict influences both your conscious and unconscious. Your happiness is channeled into other avenues — your son's little league, your spouse's social service award, your latest performance evaluation. Yet you dream of those things that now seem out of reach. Your authentic self is suppressed and driven deeper within you and other priorities, emotions, successes, and failures cover it like sediment on a long lost fossil. Or diamond.

All other relationship become affected by this situation. It becomes harder to concentrate on work, marital issues seem to be more annoying and challenging, you envy others who seem to have found paradise instead of a profession.

What the world needs is to find ways to foster the mutually beneficial elements of society as well as livable incomes that allow individuals to achieve some — if not all — of the goals and needs of their authentic self. It becomes clear that living vicariously is a destructive place to be.

Finding the balance is essential to a life of contentment in your relationships. And humanity will continue to suffer until we work on authentic living.

 

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