Your friend who strives not to be too authentic...I'm not sure where he's going with that exactly, but I wonder if he's thinking along the lines of author Andrew Potter, who wrote The Authenticity Hoax. I just checked this book out from the library last week. (Funny how it jumped off the shelf towards me...I had recently read your last blog entry!)
From the book's jacket : Potter has examined our "fetish" for "authentic" lifestyles, and has concluded that our obsession is actually a form of exclusionary status seeking. The result is modernity's malaise: a competitve, self-absorbed individualism that creates a shallow consumerist society built on stratification and one-upmanship that ultimately erodes genuine relationships and true community.
Hmmm...is this something like what you and your friend are also concluding? Potter writes, "...the search for authenticity is motivated by a visceral reaction to secularism, liberalism, capitalism, and the sense that a meaningful life is not possible in the modern world, that all it offers is a toxic mix of social-climbing and alienation. So, we seek the authentic in a multitude of ways, looking for a connection to something deeper...in each case, we are trying to find at least one sliver of the world that is innocent, spontaneous, genuine, creative, and not tainted by commercialization, calculation, and self-interest." (page 264)
I can certainly relate to that paragraph. We do seem hungry, starving, as a culture really, for something that is not tainted by vulgar or selfish motives. We want the experience of the meaningful, and the reassurance that even if it's just the tea we drink (organic) or the jeans we wear (also organic cotton) we have somehow latched on to something more gratifying, different, and yes better, than those who prefer Lipton and polyester!
If you have time, would love to hear your thoughts about this!
Here, before I comment on all this, is a further bit I copied from the website you suggested. About the bad taste of the “masses.”
In my book Depression is a Choice I talk about “the transcenders” those people who had horrendously abusive childhoods and yet were able to go forward from that horrible beginning to live happy and productive adult lives. We can also become enslaved to drugs, both legal and street. Again, this is fixable.
We all want to be safe so we have to be careful that in opting for safety we don’t become enslaved.