Authenticity vs Authority (Explorer vs Expert)

Out My Windshield

Out My Windshield


September 27, 2015 8:32 AM

I’m back at one of my favorite camping spots—along the Columbia River just downstream of the John Day Dam in OR/WA. I’ll probably move up to Mt. Hood later today to visit with my Frog Master (if it isn’t too late in the year for him) so I may be offline for a bit.

The other day I came across this interview with Mike Row, the host of Somebody’s Got To Do It. Even though the interview is on LifeHacker and they’re all about gadgets and tech (I love the part where Mike gets all excited upon hearing about super sticky post-it notes), he soon turns the conversation to something I feel strongly about (particularly in spirituality): Authenticity versus Authority (the Explorer versus the Expert).

I’m more interested in hearing from an authentic person than I am from an expert. So I think in a lot of ways we’ve seen a transition from authority figures to authentic figures, which is kind of interesting.

And his closing comments:

Authenticity still matters. If you’re looking for it, whether it’s in politics or in technology, or even in reality TV, you’ve got to look hard. It’s a balancing act that even writers like yourself—you don’t want to imitate anybody, but at the same time you can’t turn something in that your editor’s gonna look at and say “what the hell are you talking about?” It’s hard to be authentic. We try and do it on the show by not doing a second take. Different people have different ways of getting there but that’s the trick: everybody’s trying to figure it out for themselves, including me.

Be the Explorer. Read the map (or the book), but then go out and roam the terrain: poke around under the rocks, get drenched by the rains, sprain your ankle, sit in rapt awe as the sun rises over the mountain. Fail, fail again, and succeed. Be authentic. Live it. Walk the talk.

But it’s not easy. It’s not easy to walk the talk because our egos get in the way, our egos hate to fail, hate to be seen as weak or uncertain. Move past that, see these ego thoughts as just mental noise—nothing more, nothing real. It’s not easy, but be authentic anyway.

As Mike says, “Everybody’s trying to figure it out for themselves, including me.”

Or as I like to say, “The smart have their books, the wise have their scars.”

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One thought on “Authenticity vs Authority (Explorer vs Expert)

  1. This is a perfectly timed message! I think that’s what everyone is responding to in Pope Francis. And I’m not a church member, just an embryonic mystic.

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