The Quest for Authenticity Answered
Every so often I get a bit lost in thought about the word "authentic" and how it applies to the world around us. I've seen lots of people who fought over what is authentic in the States and Japan. It probably happens elsewhere, too, but that's where I've lived.
So many people are in the hunt for what is authentic in the world. There is a constant complaint of modern objects being too plastic, even if they aren't made up of plastic. So wood and organic foods become almost fetish items. They are seen to be inherently closer to the source. This is not a bad pursuit and to me it is close to the hunt for meaning in the world, but the desire to hold something up on a pedestal and worship it can lead to false idols.
What reminded me of this today was a story about an exhibit at the Vatican Museum where classic statues have been recreated with what they imagined how they were originally painted. The results are often bizarre. Caligula in the image below looks straight out of Akira.
It can be hard to have the images of the marble statues that we know match up with these colorful images, but they are part of the same world. So what is now more authentic? The white marble or the primary colors? What about the creaky old chair that is never used any more versus the new chair that is simply using modern methods to the same end?
It all leads to some more questions, too. Is authentic an elitist ideal or a purist one? Do we seek our own identity by aligning it with something else that nobody can copy?
It's all fun and games, but I have to go and take care of more family errands and go out to eat while I'm out here near Boston. I hear the clam chowder at the local restaurant is amazing.