Archive for the ‘identity’ Category

Ten Easy Steps: Gangsta Rap for Spiritual Seekers

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

The following is a guest post from Philip Walter of Image credit: bitzcelt.

So, I have a confession to make: There’s a special place in my heart for gangsta rap. I know, what a tool, right? Yet another suburban white kid thinking he’s “hard” because he can quote 95% of the lyrics on Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, but hey, it is what it is. I’m mostly over it now, some 15 years out of high school, but I still pull out those albums once in a while: Tupac’s All Eyez On Me, Eightball and MJG’s Comin’ Out Hard, or Biggie’s Ready to Die. (more…)

Be Yourself, But Not Because I Told You To: The Paradoxes of Authenticity

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Image Credit -

The message in personal development, self-help, and the wider Western culture is clear—“be yourself.” We are told that being a conformist is bad. The marketplace demands creativity and innovation from passionate employees, consumers are bored of last year’s model, and many workers are tired of working meaningless jobs. But here’s the thing: if you obey this cultural demand, you are being a conformist—but if you don’t obey the demand to be yourself, you are also being a conformist! (more…)

Authenticity, Congruence, and Small Talk

Friday, December 4th, 2009

As a young man, I found myself frustrated with what I perceived to be the inauthenticity of most small-talk social interactions. In particular, when someone asked “how are you?” I felt that my response “good, you?” was a socially-conditioned lie. I wanted to answer more honestly and authentically, so I began experimenting with answering this question as honestly and authentically as I could to whomever asked, based on my feelings in the moment. For instance, I might say “well, it’s been kind of a rough day—I’m worried about X, Y, and Z” etc. to a cashier at the supermarket.

At first this new, more authentic way of communicating was awkward as I found myself searching inside for an answer I felt was really authentic. But after a few days or weeks, it became more comfortable for me.

From this experiment I found that this more authentic way of communicating sometimes appeared to be refreshing to the other person, but at other times annoying or uncomfortable, and often led to the other person giving me unwanted advice! This experiment in authenticity lead me to understand experientially why inauthenticity is useful if not required in some contexts.


What Can Miss Gay America Teach Us About Authenticity?

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009


I just watched the fascinating and beautiful documentary Pageant which follows several female impersonators on their quests for glory in the Miss Gay America competition. These gay men transform into stunningly beautiful women, and perform choreographed dances and songs that make Miss America look like a 5th grade talent show.

One thing that struck me in relation to the themes of this blog was that many of the competitors spoke about the importance of “being yourself,” i.e. authentic. Fascinatingly, many of these men have felt from a young age that part of their authentic expression in the world was to impersonate the opposite sex. If impersonating a different sex is authentic, than what is meant by authenticity? (more…)

Which Video of Me is More “Authentic”? On the Style of Authenticity

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

Tuesday morning, after doing a Core Transformation session with a pro bono client, I got inspired to make a short video. I’m getting a FlipHD that I got birthday money for, and so I’ve been thinking about doing video blog posts for Beyond Growth. I was cramped for time today, but creatively inspired, so I thought I’d do an “authentic” video on the MacBook using iMovie while making an omelette for my breakfast. Below is the result, entitled, “Breakfast with Duff: Cultivating Inner Harmony vs. Inner Dominator Hierarchy.”

I have several questions for you once you’ve watched the video, so if you’d like, please watch the video above and then answer any of my questions in the comments.


The Simulacrum of Self in the Quest for Authenticity

Monday, August 24th, 2009


When I was looking up clips of Fight Club for my first blog post, I found an interesting related video on YouTube. In the clip below, the pick-up artist and personal development guru “Tyler Durden” is giving a speech about the importance of having an authentic identity.

“Tyler” starts off by talking about the liberation he has experienced ever since he decided to entirely stop caring about other human beings and unleash his inner asshole (he doesn’t put it in quite those terms, of course). He implies how this was a wonderful step forward towards becoming more authentic, and now teaches men to be authentic assholes just like him, for the purpose of having meaningless sexual conquests with HB’s (pickup lingo for “hot babes”). You too can become an authentic asshole by attending one of his “bootcamps”…yours now for only $2000! (more…)