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In search of our authentic selves

Many people, frustrated by the drudgeries of everyday routines, want to find authenticity in their lives. So we go looking for our authentic selves, and we call this spiritual seeking. Or creativity. Or tourism.

In its most common uses, the notion of authenticity implies something real, unmarred by artifice. When we set out in search of our authentic selves, we seek some sort of purity that we assume lies buried beneath the inauthentic layers that make up most of our lives.

Self portrait
Self portrait (Photo by T.S. Bremer, 2007)

But authenticity itself is artifice, an imagined pureness we have constructed to convince ourselves that beyond our fears, our anxieties and vanities and the exaggerated images of ourselves we are in fact something else, something more, something real and meaningful.

My decades of thinking about tourism and religion have convinced me that travelers seeking the authentic in the places they visit are in fact looking for evidence of an authentic self. They desire authentic experiences that reveal a meaningful authentic essence inside themselves. In this sense tourism is not so different from spiritual seeking and all forms of creativity that strive for an authentic way of perceiving reality.

[Daily post 016 of 260 in my year-long challenge.] ♨

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