What's Wrong With Authenticity

There has been a lot of talk lately about authenticity, esp. authentic leadership and authentic brands. It all seems very straightforward, but the concept of authenticity is much more complex. Authenticity is based on the idea that there is something "inside" that is the true essence of the person or the company. Behaving authentically, then, is expressing this inner core accurately in the outer world. It's always the case in these discussions that the inner world is pure and the outer world is corrupting. So, we must "stay true to ourselves" in the face of this corruption. Of course, the whole idea depends on the distinction between the inner and the outer, viz. the core, "real" you and the outside world. This whole discussion is based on this distinction. Yet, this distinction isn't correct. There is, in fact, no such distinction. It's easy to see why. Ask yourself, "who am I?". If authenticity were possible in this sense, you would be able to immediately and clearly know yourself without using any worldly tools, like expressions, or other people. The deeply confusing nature of this question directly undermines this simplistic notion of authenticity. Since there is no inner/outer distinction, then there is no basis for authenticity. There is no inner self to actualize in the outside world. So, this notion of authenticity is deeply flawed. Next time, we'll talk more about a more intelligent notion of authenticity.