The Sources of Authenticity Write an essay in which you discuss the conflict between originality and imitation in any effort to live authentically.

Essay by Anonymous UserCollege, UndergraduateA, November 2008

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The Sources of Authenticity I have been called upon to decide between living authentically versus imitating others many times in my life. Living with authenticity is not the kind of decision you make once and then move on from. It is different than say, deciding to have your appendix removed. The decision to live authentically is one that must be made over and over again throughout one's lifetime. Abraham Maslow writes, "One cannot choose wisely for a life unless he dares to listen to himself, his own self, at each moment in life ..." (Maslow) I spent my formative high school years in Orange County, California. At that time, I lived with my older sister in a rented duplex apartment near the beach in Dana Point. She was a full time college student who also worked full time. My sister managed to keep milk in the fridge most weeks.

Other than nutritional support, she offered very little parental guidance. This early ability to make my own life decisions was, in many ways, a gift. I learned to listen to my inner voice more often than not. The times I didn't, I could feel something inside that let me know I was headed away from authenticity and towards imitation. "Not only should I not fit my life to the demands of external conformity; I can't even find the model to live by outside myself. I can find it only within..." (Taylor, 371) When I look back, I realize with absolute clarity that my acts of imitation were made in the pursuit of happiness. The media, my peers, the whole West Coast, told me, and anyone else who would listen, what happiness for a young woman meant. To be happy, you needed a rich husband, preferably rich parents to start out...