TED Conversations

Alison Whitmire



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What does it mean to be authentic?

Authenticity has an illusive quality. It's like 'Blink", you know it when you see it, but can you describe it? How is it you know when someone is being authentic? Is it because of how they are being or because of how they are NOT being? Is there such as thing as being too authentic? If not, what's meant by TMI, too much information?

Is authenticity showing up with no filters? Is that wise? Don't we need our filters? Is it OK to always be authentic? Is it always safe to be?

As you can see, I'm all questions and no answers. I look forward to yours. :)


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    Feb 15 2011: Maybe authenticity is actually the product of the mind of the perceiver. When we see somebody showing the emotions we expect them to have in that situation, we see them as authentic. On the other hand, if we expected somebody to cry for example, and they don't, we think they are fake, not showing their feelings. While actually, it might just be that they are simply different from us. Why some people appear authentic to more people than others? Perhaps, because they behave in a way that appeals to more people. (Which might not actually be the behavior that is expected from people as a norm, but something that is appeals to them. Something that they would also do if they hadn't been taught away from it.)

    Well, this was just this kind of theory invented after a minute of thinking. Perhaps not worth going deeper into.

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