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Authenticity

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In order to live an authentic life, one must confront and examine their own mortality and death. When a person is faced with a loss of a loved one, or with an illness or injury that threatens their life, they often reflect and at this point and choose how to spend the rest of their life in the way that they deem is most important to them. To be authentic is to be true to self, your personality, spirit or character despite external pressures of the material world around us. Mortality is the quality or state of being human and the end of their mortal life. To confront this, one must question their life in a direct and open way without any external subjective influences. To further examine a person should look closely at the life they have lived and any time that they have left to carefully learn more about themselves and the world that they have created and existed in.
One major issue that keeps us as humans inauthentic is life itself. We are too busy living to truly examine ourselves. We have no time. We are constantly approaching everything around us and we look at them in terms of how it or they will be useful to us. A person that is near death or has experienced a loss no longer feels the need to dominate or manipulate anyone or anything. One no longer has the urge to control anyone or anything. They are content with letting things simple “be” and allow it to be what it is. Heidegger states “[f] reedom now reveals itself as letting beings be (Wrathall, 2007).”
We are constantly preoccupied with what is happening or going to happen that we do not take the time to stop and live in the moment. We are continuously going somewhere, aiming toward goals that we are missing out on what is happening right now. We are constantly striving. The loss of a future is a prime motivation to stop us in our tracks and change our perspective. It forces us to question our end of life rather than assuming that one-day, in the far future, we will pass. If we are able to break out of this pattern to be in an open and reflective mode, we will move past our subjective point of view and experience people; life just as they are and enjoy what time we have left in a free open authentic mode. The end result is a richer commitment to life, a life in which we can choose to be richer and deeper than it once was.
Finally another way that we live inauthentically is though society and the pressures that we place upon ourselves within society. We want to live as others live. We are in an unofficial competition to to conform or to be equal if not better than our neighbors, friends, families and co-workers. We are easily distracted; unable to remain settled for any period of time. We are constantly motivated to keep up with whomever we deem it is important to be better than at that moment. It causes us to be inattentive, forgetful and careless with the time that we have left. This inattentiveness blinds us to the fact that we are living inauthentically and falsely. A person who is faced with the end of their life no longer wishes to keep up with the people living across the street. It allows for realignment of one’s priorities and enables them reach their true authentic self.
Heidegger believes that one cannot reach true authenticity until they reach death itself (Vessey). Life is forever changing and we are always looking towards the future, and in death a person is no longer looking towards the future, no longer growing, no longer changing. At this point, on can stop and reflect; becoming authentic. In all of these instances, one must look closely at what if? What if you were walking down the street collapsed to the ground and was rushed to the hospital. During your stay at the hospital the physician told you that they found that you had stage 3 cancer in your pancreas and at best you had 3 months to live. Wouldn’t you at this point, stop the meaningless living and start living in a way that would best serve you and your family? Wouldn’t you want to stop the nonsense on pretense and start living a true life? Wouldn’t you want to stop keeping up with the neighbors and just enjoy everything that you already have? The answer is a no contest. You would because you would be able to see clearly what truly matters. Life, love, happiness. Stop and smell the roses.
A person may become preoccupied with their predicament ahead, death. In this instance, they may not be able to move past their death. They may be preoccupied with settling all their affairs so that their loved ones are taken care of and they are not burdened with anything. In this case, once all of this is taken care of, they hopefully will have time to stop and reflect. If not they will reach authenticity once they indeed pass away. Again, Heidegger believes that all life comes to an end one reaches the nature of their finality. This in itself forces us into authenticity (Aho, 2007). Children are splendid examples to follow in the exercise of reaching authenticity. They accept the world as it is. They view the world on a very innocent, naive level with their eyes and hearts wide open. This enables them to enjoy the world and an experience simply for what it is and not for what it can do for us. If we all could harness this innocence, we would all be able to live an authentic life. A life, indeed worth living.
The aim of this paper is to provide a purpose. A driven purpose to enable a person to live life in the moment and enjoy each and every experience simply for what it is. Applying our thoughts to actual circumstances allows us perspective that will, hopefully redirect our path in an authentic direction.

References:

Aho, K. (2007). Recovering Play: On the Relationship Between Leisure and Authenticity in Heidegger 's Thought. Janus Head , 10 (1).
Vessey, D. (n.d.). Gadamer 's Critique of Heidegger 's Account of Aunthentic Relations to Others. Retrieved 11 04, 2013, from http://davevessey.com/Vessey_Gadamer_Heidegger.htm#_ftn24
Wrathall, M. (2007, March). Cambridge Companions Online. Retrieved November 04, 2013, from Cambridge University Press: universitypublingonline.org

References: Aho, K. (2007). Recovering Play: On the Relationship Between Leisure and Authenticity in Heidegger 's Thought. Janus Head , 10 (1). Vessey, D. (n.d.). Gadamer 's Critique of Heidegger 's Account of Aunthentic Relations to Others. Retrieved 11 04, 2013, from http://davevessey.com/Vessey_Gadamer_Heidegger.htm#_ftn24 Wrathall, M. (2007, March). Cambridge Companions Online. Retrieved November 04, 2013, from Cambridge University Press: universitypublingonline.org

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