391DFINALPAPER - Deana Croog 24939025 Honors Seminar 391D...

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Deana Croog 24939025 Honors Seminar 391D Becoming Yourself: The Ideal of Authenticity Professor Ernesto Garcia Final Paper My Quest For Authenticity, and Yours Too Dear future child, I am writing to you in hopes of informing you of the lessons I have learned that have shaped my quest for an authentic life. Though I am currently still fully enveloped in society, being a college student at UMass Amherst, living in a dormitory in a highly populated area, I hope to someday live in a rural area, secluded from society’s pressures and norms, so that I may better explore the authenticity within me. You must know, however, that I do not intend on becoming a hermit, fully rejecting society, because I do believe that society plays a vital role in shaping of one’s identity; I rather intend on interacting with society’s customs, routines, and infrastructure on weekends, for example, when I may combine the product of my authenticity, or my narrative , letting both my natural setting and my societal setting influence my being, and thus, my work (whether it be through film, art, or writing). When I reach this stage in my life, as I hope you will someday, I’ll find myself to be a composite of both the simplicity of nature, and the excitement of society, that will form my narrative, which I will use as a motivator to reach my goals. You may be asking what my rambling means. My ideals of authenticity are actually a combination of primarily two different paradigms of Authenticity: Romantic and Narrativist. By the end of this letter, I have confidence that you will
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understand my desire to join the likes of Thoreau and Salinger to create art away from society, but to keep society in mind, not neglecting it completely. When one hears Thoreau’s name, one may conjure images of his isolated log cabin near Walden Pond. If you are anything like me, you are questioning the legitimacy and importance of one’s connection to nature, specifically the effect of one’s detachment from society. These two questions are answered in the Romantic view of authenticity. The worldview of Romanticism was created in response to the age of Enlightenment; it was an attempt to “recover oneness…lost with the rise of modernity” to mediate a return to feeling and creativity ( On Being Authentic, 51 ). Romanticism essentially asks us to reject our obsession with the cultivation of knowledge and social involvement in favor of the simplicity of envelopment in nature’s beauty. The view argues that being surrounded in such pure simplicity will return us our freedom that we’ve lost in rational role-playing in society, so that we may simply feel . Feeling, Romanticism argues, is the highest level of authenticity, and it is only when you reach this “transitional stage” at which time you feel your inner truth, that you may reach your destination, and use your authentic feeling for creativity. Jean Jacques Rousseau, a Romantic figure, calls on his “State of Nature”
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391DFINALPAPER - Deana Croog 24939025 Honors Seminar 391D...

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