Real vs. Fake

As Merleau-Ponty and others have pointed out, the norm is not for us to think out what we are going to say and then say it.  We normally find out what we are saying at the same time as others who hear us.

A friend asked me a question having to do with distinguishing real vs. fake.  Here’s what I said:

When we distinguish between real and fake, there’s always a larger contextual set of expectations regarding what makes anything genuine or authentic.  I wonder if some range of distance (not too far, but not too close either) is required for that judgment.  Does anything really SEEM real or fake at the very moment it’s happening, as opposed to the moment later when the question arises: What was that?

The root of ‘authenticity’ ties it to owning or appropriation.  Owning or appropriating are at a a remove (at least a bit of distance) from the lived.  So, perhaps the real can seem fake if we expect the owned to be the lived?

And what was that, just now?


3 thoughts on “Real vs. Fake

  1. I’m not sure if you are trying to completely do away with the concept of authenticity or not. I don’t see how the authentic couldn’t dictate a particular (ambiguous) relationship to the “they.” What mainly characterizes the “they” is the adoption of an uncritical attitude that wishes only to be normal. Those who adopt a critical attitude towards the culture of being normal could only be called another “they” only insofar as they are thinking or being critical. But thinking and being critical is not for its own sake, it is for the sake of adopting a practice or not. The uncritical “they” are not concerned with the practice as such, but only whether or not it is accepted. And since the “they” are *defined*, at least in the Heideggerian sense, by their relationship to the practice and not to the particularity of it, I don’t think that having multiple “theys” makes much sense.

    And I also think that something can seem fake in the moment, for example, hoax stories on the internet opportunities for us to think “this is fake.” But then again, I feel that I’ve missed your point about ownership and appropriation.


  2. I think this might be relevant —
    A friend of mine really questioned the idea of authenticity for me. Sure, for Heidegger there is always elements of in-authenticity with the authenticity; It’s a great thing for a white heterosexual male to say that authenticity should be sought after and that the “they” should be avoided. But for her, a woman of color, she just wanted to fit in and be normal, to not stick out. So, I’m very careful now with what it means to be authentic and to be original because for some, they can never be “normal.”


    1. The very idea of authenticity can’t dictate a particular relationship to “they.” If there is some implicit requirement that one couldn’t be ANYTHING like “they” are, such a requirement would only come from another “they.”


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