The Authentic - 2020-09-06
A while back I had read an article by The Art of Manliness on why we shouldn't be authentic, but rather artificial.  The logic was that being authentic drives us towards commodity and effeminacy, seeking only what we find pleasure in instead of what is difficult which will truly make us better men. And the advice given is truly positive. But I believe there's more to being authentic than what meets the eye. Just that it has been hidden under the layers of subjectivity, vague language, and secular thought.
When we look up the word "authentic" in the (Oxford) dictionary, we get the following definitions:
- known to be real and what somebody claims it is and not a copy
- true and accurate
- made to be exactly the same as the original
Therefore, the question we're trying to answer is, what is a person's true being or nature. A philosophical question. If we were to take materialist approach, we receive the very unsatisfactory answer that we are no more than a collection of cells with no direction or purpose. Just urges. As such, it would be no surprise if with this mentality we were to fall into the effeminacy described in the article. We end up with something entirely hedonistic in nature. And to reject this (for whatever materialist reason) is simply to view life as a chain of suffering and sacrifice.
But what if we take a different approach, and assume that Man is more than his material nature? That life is more than simply the response to external stimuli? This is the poetic or hermetic alternative that Luke Smith recently went over on his blog.  And although Mr. Smith does a great job of going over the topic in his post, I believe it is necessary to expand on one aspect of it - but I would recommend you read his post, since it goes into much more depth on the issue of the hermetic alternative, as he puts it - and that aspect is the Christian idea that Man is made in the image & likeness of God.
When we commit sin - in other words, acts that offend God - we corrupt that perfect image that God created us in. After all, it is His image & likeness. And we restore this through confession and penance. But there are also things we can do to bring ourselves closer to this perfect image: works. These help us to develop ourselves both materially and spiritually, and partake in God's creation how we were meant to being in His image & likeness.
Therefore, we should be authentic, but knowing that to be authentic is to bring ourselves closer to that perfection that God created us in. And the journey will be a struggle, and it will require sacrifice, but it will also bring us joy, not only in the next world, but in this one as we truly live out our real nature.