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Growth vs Authenticity

personperson Don't believe everything you thinkthe liminal space Veteran
edited August 22 in Philosophy

I was watching a show and a character was faced with a choice where one was about being a better person and the other was about learning to be himself more fully. The question sort of fits in with differing views of the path but it was presented in a way that shed a different light on it for me.

I try to understand myself and be authentic to who I am, but I also want to grow and change. Sometimes life only offers binaries, its a tough call having to choose. Thankfully I don't have to right now, I prefer complexity and integration.

How do you try to live your life? Do you want to better express who you really are or do you want to grow and evolve?

Comments

  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited August 22

    I am not sure why you think that being a better person and learning about yourself more fully are two different things?
    Why does one represents growth and another represents appreciation?

    ShoshinDavidlobster
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran
    edited August 22

    @how said:
    I am not sure why you think that being a better person and learning about yourself more fully are two different things?
    Why does one represents growth and another represents appreciation?

    Maybe part of my authentic self is being a narcissist or harboring racist biases.

    Maybe attempting to be a more outgoing, people oriented person cuts too much against my introverted nature to be destined for mostly stress and failure.

    In what ways do you see that they can be the same?

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited August 22

    Learning to be a better person is not a well-defined proposition. Better according to who? There are some global standards one can apply such as the Golden Rule, but often people apply some local moral framework to the idea of being better.

    Being yourself more fully is also a double edged sword, in that we constantly struggle with the defilements. To be yourself more fully would imply an increased measure of the bad along with the good.

    For me the Buddhist path is about exploring ourselves, looking deeply and mindfully into why we do things and why we feel things. With an increased understanding many negative things fall away and disappear. It’s about becoming more aware, more attentive to yourself, and learning to let go instead of a lot of the reflexive grasping that we do.

    person
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Maybe part of my authentic self is being a narcissist or harboring racist biases.

    Really?

    The 'authentic' ID, is a fabrication. So for example Djtrump the disgraced pResidue of the Dis-United States is in Buddhist terms a manifestation of extreme ignorance, suffering and defilements.

    The Authentic Being empty/pure/unmanifest does not have such qualities.

    This is why 'teachers' who harbour or manifest in a similar manner are illustrating their unsuitability. Generating uncertainty, confusion and dukha.

    In this sense we are attempting to ungrow.

    Namo Amitabha

    ShoshinVastmindChoephal
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Growth vs Authenticity
    How do you try to live your life? Do you want to better express who you really are or do >you want to grow and evolve?

    Here's my twopence worth....

    Change is inevitable ...Suffering optional I can't help but to grow & change...this I guess is in a way what it means to be authentic.....accepting/welcoming change as it happens...

    For better or for worse...I think authenticity is just an expression of one's conditioning/programming...and in Dharma practice we have the ability/tools to deprogramme & reprogramme......aren't we fortunate :)

    Bearing in mind

    "Everything evolves will come to mean nothing is true"

    ~Nietzsche~

    person
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    @lobster said:

    Maybe part of my authentic self is being a narcissist or harboring racist biases.

    Really?

    The 'authentic' ID, is a fabrication. So for example Djtrump the disgraced pResidue of the Dis-United States is in Buddhist terms a manifestation of extreme ignorance, suffering and defilements.

    The Authentic Being empty/pure/unmanifest does not have such qualities.

    This is why 'teachers' who harbour or manifest in a similar manner are illustrating their unsuitability. Generating uncertainty, confusion and dukha.

    In this sense we are attempting to ungrow.

    Namo Amitabha

    It sounds like a differing use/understanding of authentic. I suppose I wasn't really meaning authentic as something like Buddha Nature. The way it was talked about in the show I was watching it was more about being comfortable with yourself, not having to put pressure on yourself to be fit or virtuous or any number of other ways we may feel we'd be better off attempting to be.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    Be authentic, live your truth!

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I reckon authenticity is about freeing yourself from the behaviour you have copied from other people, being spontaneous in your expression with minimal filters. A lot of it is about returning to our childhood, oddly enough. A lot of behaviour accumulates naturally through learning by copying, and it hangs around.

    Choephal
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited September 5

    @person said:
    I was watching a show and a character was faced with a choice where one was about being a better person and the other was about learning to be himself more fully. The question sort of fits in with differing views of the path but it was presented in a way that shed a different light on it for me.

    I try to understand myself and be authentic to who I am, but I also want to grow and change. Sometimes life only offers binaries, its a tough call having to choose. Thankfully I don't have to right now, I prefer complexity and integration.

    How do you try to live your life? Do you want to better express who you really are or do you want to grow and evolve?

    I don't think I could do one without the other because I am a process unfolding. As new information comes to light, perspectives change. This is healthy and even fun when we don't cling to our views or have faith in our beliefs.

    The beliefs and biases we carry are not who we are so trying to hold on to them as if they are self (even the conditional self) seems off the mark.

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    @person said:
    Be authentic, live your truth!

    Well, there's natural change and growth and then there is trying to be who others want you to be.

    "You don't have to be accepted by others, you only need to accept yourself".

    • Thich Nhat Hanh
    コチシカ
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    @David said:

    Well, there's natural change and growth and then there is trying to be who others want you to be.

    My struggle is more about resisting what others want me to be. Or maybe more accurately resisting the urge to adapt and adopt views and opinions those around me hold in order to fit in socially when I don't agree with those views. Maybe that's sort of the same thing without the external peer pressure, perhaps my own internal pressure.

    "You don't have to be accepted by others, you only need to accept yourself".

    • Thich Nhat Hanh

    I wish I felt that in social situations. In my personal, professional and familial lives I generally am pretty comfortable with myself. My issues come up when I want to join a social circle, it feels to me like I do need to be accepted by others to participate and not risk rejection. Especially if I place some level of personal investment and dependence there.

    What is it? Some people are just comfortable taking those risks, making those personal investments?

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    I reckon authenticity is about freeing yourself from the behaviour you have copied from other people, being spontaneous in your expression with minimal filters. A lot of it is about returning to our childhood, oddly enough. A lot of behaviour accumulates naturally through learning by copying, and it hangs around.

    I'm not sure I really like the idea of being childlike as a goal or perspective. Its true children are generally more open and curious than adults, and have a certain maleability that is helpful in spiritual development. But children also tend to be selfish and emotionally immature.

    Plus I pretty fully reject the blank slate view of human nature. I think research on childhood development and genetics shows us just how much of human behavior comes fairly preprogrammed. I think we need learned social constructs and institutions to channel many of those ingrained behaviors in healthy directions.

    Look at how the constructed stories of religions and nations allow complete strangers to trust or be willing to work cooperatively and sacrificially with each other.

    https://www.npr.org/2018/07/16/628792048/creating-god

    https://www.ynharari.com/topic/power-and-imagination/ (excerpt 2 "The Tree Of Knowledge")

    lobster
  • @person said:
    It sounds like a differing use/understanding of authentic. I suppose I wasn't really meaning authentic as something like Buddha Nature. The way it was talked about in the show I was watching it was more about being comfortable with yourself, not having to put pressure on yourself to be fit or virtuous or any number of other ways we may feel we'd be better off attempting to be.

    Using language authentically or at least to the best of our present virtuous fit is a pressure cooker for the raw.

    An adult can call on child, parenting and other maturing skill sets. What do the dead call on?

    We are storeys. One built on another ...

    Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow. The days creep slowly along until the end of time. And every day that’s already happened has taken fools that much closer to their deaths. Out, out, brief candle. Life is nothing more than an illusion. It’s like a poor actor who struts and worries for his hour on the stage and then is never heard from again. Life is a story told by an idiot, full of noise and emotional disturbance but devoid of meaning.
    Macbeth (modern)
    https://www.sparknotes.com/nofear/shakespeare/macbeth/page_202/

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @person said:
    I'm not sure I really like the idea of being childlike as a goal or perspective. Its true children are generally more open and curious than adults, and have a certain maleability that is helpful in spiritual development. But children also tend to be selfish and emotionally immature.

    However, in a child like state we are closer to the core of our being. All the things that are crusted over by the events of later life are still raw and available. I’m not saying we should live as some form of grown up children, but in order to get to know our authenticity we should sometimes visit that state.

    Plus I pretty fully reject the blank slate view of human nature. I think research on childhood development and genetics shows us just how much of human behavior comes fairly preprogrammed.

    That is true and in childhood we have very poor levels of skill in coping with these levels of programming. It is better to revisit those early decisions in adulthood to see what a mature response would be.

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    @person said:

    @David said:

    Well, there's natural change and growth and then there is trying to be who others want you to be.

    My struggle is more about resisting what others want me to be. Or maybe more accurately resisting the urge to adapt and adopt views and opinions those around me hold in order to fit in socially when I don't agree with those views. Maybe that's sort of the same thing without the external peer pressure, perhaps my own internal pressure.

    There's also the spin where you stay authentic in those situations thereby planting your own seeds into the thicket of views. In cases where you're fairly sure no violence would come of it, staying true to yourself feels empowering once the initial anxiety leaves.

    "You don't have to be accepted by others, you only need to accept yourself".

    • Thich Nhat Hanh

    I wish I felt that in social situations. In my personal, professional and familial lives I generally am pretty comfortable with myself. My issues come up when I want to join a social circle, it feels to me like I do need to be accepted by others to participate and not risk rejection. Especially if I place some level of personal investment and dependence there.

    What is it? Some people are just comfortable taking those risks, making those personal investments?

    My first guess is belonging. We want to belong so badly that sometimes we allow groups to think we feel a certain way to fit in with something we feel is bigger. Like a job or specific sangha or our own family.

    We are a bunch of unique individuals looking for acceptance and fellowship and belonging and we forget that in reality (or at least half, haha) there is only one group of unique individuals. We all have something to bring to the table even if it's just a different way of looking at something.

    Trying to fit in is just one way we waste this precious opportunity to truly shine and do our cooperative best.

    personlobster
  • ChoephalChoephal UK Explorer
    edited September 6

    While I am not a fundamentalist in any way, I think it’s useful to remember that Buddhism sees an infant in terms of karma-vipaka ( action and the fruit of action) rather than as a blank sheet. Their karma vipaka will determine in part their interest (or lack of) in the spiritual life and will orientate them towards certain groups of others with a similar karmic loading.
    Authenticity in this context might be developing insight into the way that our actions create our persona.

    person
  • DimmesdaleDimmesdale Illinois Explorer
    edited September 9

    In my experience growth can be an obstacle when it becomes the end-all and be-all to the exclusion of being open to the love and acceptance of the moment. The moment accepts you wherever you are at unconditionally, and I think that is a good thing. But it's a bad thing when you stay at that level, with no forward moving action. I guess that is the positive and negative side of unconditional love - it leads to acceptance but no goal or standards.

    Then again, maybe this is looking at it the wrong way. Maybe being properly attentive or attuned to the moment should encourage you to grow. This is my experience in some ways. In the past I 'made' myself go on the machine to work out via a schedule, but now I more often just hop on spontaneously. I have internalized that action to some extent to the point where I don't always have to rely on a set schedule. I am open to the promptings of the moment, and in many ways it hasn't led to laziness in life....

    But yeah, recently I've been learning to "take it easy" which itself requires strength.

    personlobster
  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    GROWTH VS AUTHENTICITY
    Its hard enough to arrive at an agreed upon definition of growth or authenticity, without even trying to a compare one such theorem against another. Hell, I can't even be sure that the author who began this very sentence is the same nutbar finishing it.
    Phenomena constantly fills our sense gates to the gunnels with limitless information where identity is little more than the cherry picking of whatever data best supports the present nano second of our karma's inertia.
    A bubble in a stream, a phantasm, a dream....says it best.

    Where a practice allows an abandonment of our cherry picking and identity no longer reflects the limitations of a self verses others, a harmonization of body and mind becomes possible and once again, Elvis has simply left the building.

    What was that question, again?

  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    @person said:
    I was watching a show and a character was faced with a choice where one was about being a better person and the other was about learning to be himself more fully. The question sort of fits in with differing views of the path but it was presented in a way that shed a different light on it for me.

    I try to understand myself and be authentic to who I am, but I also want to grow and change. Sometimes life only offers binaries, its a tough call having to choose. Thankfully I don't have to right now, I prefer complexity and integration.

    How do you try to live your life? Do you want to better express who you really are or do you want to grow and evolve?

    Both. When I was younger I leaned more towards better expressing who I was, because I wasn't sure and was trying to create my identity. Much like how Erik Erikson viewed social development for the adolescent stage of life (teens into 20s), found myself confronted with the issues of identity vs. role confusion in which I was trying to find who I was while struggling at times with my sense of self. It was important to me authentic and not a poseur, but what kinds that age don't understand is that nobody really knows who they are and are in the midst of trying on different roles and finding it out. And much of that is discovered or conditioned form those around us, so we're all poseurs to some extent when we're younger. And then, when I "found" myself, I realized that I wasn't who I wanted to be, or more accurately, I didn't act how I wanted to. I was depressed and angry and tired of suffering so much, so I began the process of becoming a better person. And that work never seems to be done. But as I look back, sometimes I don't feel as authentic, because I'm very much a different person and wonder if I'm who I was meant or at least wanted to be. And there are outside conditions that pushed me in one direction or another, and I sometimes fear that I've allowed the world to mold me and shape my course more than myself. I'm 42 and still trying to figure that all out even though much of that is just a sandcastle of khandhas that will be swept away by the ocean of time sooner than later.

    Vastmindpersonlobster
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    @Kerome said:

    @person said:
    I'm not sure I really like the idea of being childlike as a goal or perspective. Its true children are generally more open and curious than adults, and have a certain maleability that is helpful in spiritual development. But children also tend to be selfish and emotionally immature.

    However, in a child like state we are closer to the core of our being. All the things that are crusted over by the events of later life are still raw and available. I’m not saying we should live as some form of grown up children, but in order to get to know our authenticity we should sometimes visit that state.

    Plus I pretty fully reject the blank slate view of human nature. I think research on childhood development and genetics shows us just how much of human behavior comes fairly preprogrammed.

    That is true and in childhood we have very poor levels of skill in coping with these levels of programming. It is better to revisit those early decisions in adulthood to see what a mature response would be.

    I don't know if ultimately I'm correct with my following views here or not, but this has been clarifying to me as to where my biases lie related to this question of a sort of returning to something purer or unspoiled or growing towards something better, whatever that means.

    I guess I tend to think of all of the stresses and traumas life brings our way more as important opportunities or conditions for us to grow as people, to strengthen our character, to learn in wisdom and compassion, rather than being a kind of setback or layer that needs to be removed.

    Kind of like the saying, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger". Or the Japanese practice Kintsugi. Or the notion of antifragility.

    Vital in all that is the process of healing and growing though. Without that all that suffering might just make one a damaged individual spewing their trauma out onto the world. With that though one can become a source of healing and growth in ways that I'm not sure those without those experiences are capable of to the same degree.

    I've generally thought of my view of enlightenment as one of clearing away or removing than that of building towards and I think I still do. So I'm not really sure how I reconcile those seemingly contradictory views.

    lobster
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