When I was a child my mother said to me, “If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.” Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso.
– Pablo Picasso
Authenticity is often held up as the ideal of individualism, that we are all unique and able to become the special person waiting inside to burst free. If only we would buy the right clothes, have the right hairstyle, have a successful career and lots of money/sex/power/prestige. In other words, the idea of authentic expression has been hijacked and made all about mere image. Glamour. The mask we wear.
We can spend our lives chasing the phantoms our culture throws up – usually in the form of partly digested celebrities and objects that never really existed anywhere outside of Photoshop – or we can choose actual authenticity.
All creative endeavour teaches us in a very tangible sense who we really are and what we may, through fearless striving and illumination, become. In a culture severely lacking individuals of integrity willing to stand against business as usual and fight for a better, fairer, more just and life affirming world, it is our duty to pursue this. A general or a pope can be anyone, but there was only one Picasso. You could be anyone, or you could be you.