Identity, Authenticity and Survival Essay

802 Words Apr 21st, 2011 4 Pages
Formative Writing I : Identity, Authenticity and Survival by Kandru Manibhushan Rao

Kwame Anthony Appiah’s essay on Identity, Authenticity and Survival is based on Charles Taylor’s earlier work on recognition and identity. Though Taylor’s references to identity are mostly to collective identity, Appiah’s aim is to draw a comparison or even find a connection between individual identity and collective identity.

Identity

A collective identity, explains Appiah, is the way an individual is recognized based on broad qualities of categorization such as gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. Whereas individual identity is born from personal characteristics such as wit, charm, grace,
…show more content…
* Individual Dimension: This comprises of traits such as intelligence, charm, wit, cupidity, etc. which are all socially important features.

Authenticity
Authenticity, as described by authors such as Lionel Trilling and Charles Taylor is the idea of living one’s life by one’s own reference and for one’s own self without yearning for recognition or acceptance from the collective or society. However, Appiah points out that the search for authenticity is somewhat a paradoxical one. The search for authenticity, as said, goes as much against the demands for a prescribed social life as it does for the recognition of one’s real self.
There are two layer for recognition of originality/authenticity: * How a person identifies or recognizes himself among other people. * How a culture bearing group (minority) recognizes itself among a larger group.
This leg of Appiah’s essay focuses extensively on Trilling’s contradictory statements on authenticity. Claiming one’s authentic ethnicity, for example, for the need of expressing one’s originality in turn proves one’s need for social acknowledgement for such originality. Even counterconventionalism requires needs recognition from conventionalist. The problem that arises here is, in order to be original, an individual has to understand convention and being everything that it is not, thus resulting in the individual being not authentic,

More about Identity, Authenticity and Survival Essay