Oct 1, 2007

In search of authenticity

I was reading an article the other day about faking it in order to seem cool. In fact, the article highlighted a recently published book, “Faking it: How to Seem Like a Better Person Without Improving Yourself,” by Amir Bumenfeld, Neel Shah and Ethan Trex. Granted, this is a tongue-in-cheek, humorous look at image over substance, but these little tricks don’t really fool anyone. Humans have a built-in radar for things that don’t quite ring true. To maintain our image, we have to believe that others believe what we are putting forth and so it becomes a spiral of you buying into my image and me buying into your image. No wonder so many of us have intimacy problems.

The question I have is, why wouldn’t you want to improve yourself? Why go to all the trouble of appearing to know all about wine, for example, without actually learning about wine? Why would you want to seem like a better person without becoming a better person? It takes just as much or more energy to build and maintain an image of being more knowledgeable, more diplomatic, for example, than it does to go ahead and acquire the knowledge or become more diplomatic. Or one could just admit that they have no idea about a subject and try to learn from others who do know more than you (not from those who are just faking it). That would take someone with the courage to admit that they don’t know.


  1. The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you've got it made.
    -- Jean Giraudoux (1882 - 1944)

  2. Isn't that the truth. Though it is getting tougher to get by cynical people's BS detector.