Authenticity

Recently I have had occasion to revisit the distinction between facts, truth, and authenticity. One can be factual without being truthful: “I haven’t heard him say he’s upset.” One can be truthful without being authentic: “I haven’t heard him say he’s upset but I read in his blog that he is.” One ought to be authentic, though: “I haven’t heard him say he’s upset but I read in his blog that he is and I think he’s got a point.”

Some people, like politicians and salesmen, struggle to be factual. Most people seem to aspire to being truthful. But I think true character is in being authentic. If being factual is answering the question they asked and being truthful is answering the question they meant to ask, being authentic is answering the question they wanted to task.

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