Authentic original

Published 1:08 am Sunday, March 2, 2014

Authenticity is something that manufacturers and corporations strive for. Nothing sells better than the original, the authentic.
The only problem with that is that is a product and ultimately products are manufactured. They are reproductions of the original, which more than likely was hand-crafted.
In many ways people are similar. We all strive to be authentic, original. We dress a certain way so that we stand out from the crowd and we act a certain way so that others will notice us. Yet, we are all just products. We are products of the era in which we grew up, the environment we were raised in and our beliefs. We were subjected to a manufacturing process that has made us the individuals that we are. However, that manufacturing process is a continuos one. The person you are today is not the person you will be ten years from now. We grow, learn everyday and things happen that sway our opinion. If we are the authentic person that we consider ourselves to be, then certain aspects of our core will remain the same.
Merriam-Webster defines authentic as 1) worthy of acceptance or belief as conforming to or based on fact, 2) not false or imitation, and 3) true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character.
Despite being products of our environment we are authentic, at least in the way that Merriam-Webster defines it. An authentic person is someone that can be believed and is worthy of acceptance, an original that is true to their own character. The opposite can be and is true of people too.
Some people try hard to fit in and be accepted, they base their worth on others’ opinion of them and sway to and fro depending on who they feel they need to be. They go through life worried about the facade and are consumed with appearances. If everything looks good on the outside then everything must be good.
Counterfeiting is rampant in the marketplace as companies strive to make a buck off of the original. It is also rife in our society as people look to cash in on others’ success. They go through life continuously remaking themselves as they try to adjust to their surroundings, to become believed and admired. Just like products that are made cheaply to resemble another, so are these people. There is no substance to them and they just go with the flow. There are two things that just go with the flow, one is a dead fish that just floats with the current. The other I’ll leave for another column.
Being authentic is more than the definitions offered. It’s about being full of substance, caring for others and leaving the world just a little bit better than you found it. The things that we do will be the only things left behind when we are gone. That is how people will define us. Do you want to be known as a cheap knockoff or as an authentic original?

Paul Barry is managing editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached by email at paul.barry@vicksburgpost.com or by phone at 601-636-4545 ext. 123