The converse of a life of inauthenticity, of course, is one in which there exists not a chasm between one’s appearance and the substantive content of one’s character; duplicity and a secret life are contradictions; integrity is the consonance between one’s stated being and the reality of the inner self.
The modern age promotes a life of inauthenticity. For, with all of the social media outlets — of Facebook, the Internet, Twitter, email, web pages, etc., one can create an image of one’s self which is far different than the reality of the person whom we meet. But more than that, who determines the truth of the content of one’s public image? Such an impression is no longer based upon the actual encounter with the person; rather, the person who creates the image is the same person who determines the validity of such presentation. There is thus no public vetting or verification of the image presented to the public.
Throughout civilized annotation of time, there has always been the problem of substance and appearance; indeed, the history of Western Philosophy is replete with repeated attempts at resolving the “problem” of appearance versus reality — thus, the need in modern times to unveil the reality of Being.
On a microcosmic scale, this is the problem presented to the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one’s ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job.
The “hiding” of one’s medical condition becomes a daily necessity in the world of employability, because there is always the fear that recognition, unveiling and discovery that the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to perform the full positional elements of the job will result in dismissal. So the Federal and Postal employee engages in daily duplicity — all the while killing him or herself and acting “as if” nothing were wrong.
There is, of course, a difference between such an act of hiding one’s true condition, from the person who utilizes social media to present a self other than one’s “true” self — the former is borne of economic survival and necessity; the latter is a result of an unfettered ego.
In the end, the attempt to keep undiscovered a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, will result in a crisis point where appearance can no longer mask reality. When that crisis point comes to fruition, then the Federal or Postal Worker, whether under FERS or CSRS, should consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Such a step will ultimately allow for the Federal or Postal employee who has been living an inauthentic life, to move forward without the need of duplicitous means.
For the rest of the world, however, the life of inauthenticity will continue to thrive, so long as the loss of public means (or desire) to distinguish between appearance and reality is left to the sole discretion of the person creating one’s own public image.
It appears that the Western Philosophical problem haunting from the time of Plato and Aristotle has finally been resolved: there is no difference between appearance and reality; appearance is reality, and reality contains no substance other than the appearance of one’s own creation. The Emperor not only has his clothes on; even if a child points it out otherwise, the fact that he says it, makes it so.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire