the root of authenticity

The meanings of words shift over time.

Circumstances change our relationship to language. New words are formed. Old ones fall away. What once was, no longer is, because of choice.

When I searched for a title for our workshop on voice, I wandered deep into the etymology of the word, authentic. This is what I found...

Authentic: acting on one’s own authority… self doer, being… to accomplish, achieve…

Putting this together with more findings, I came to my own definition:

the original being that does… the original doer… entirely from the original source…

There is more action implied in the etymology of the word authentic, than our current usage suggests (true or genuine).

So what it is to be authentic? To speak with your authentic voice?

Ulysses from Shakespeare’s Troilus & Cressida passionately warns of discord that results when one does not, “…stand in authentic placeeach thing meets in mere oppugnancy…”

(oppugnancy = opposition, conflict, contention - take the time to let your mouth speak each sound of that word and it is gorgeous onomatopoeia...)

Let's apply this to the voice. My cobbled definition implies the only threat to your authentic voice is you – no one can step into your space of being and speak for you.

If it’s not possible for your authentic voice to be lost, or to be co-opted, or for another to suppress it, what would cause your voice to be in-authentic?

Habits that corrode the original structure of the body; borrowing others' truths and not speaking from your own mind & heart; allowing your spirit to be smaller than it is; emotional imbalance (which is anything less than joy).

And what of Ulysses' notion, that conflict happens when one is not standing in a place of authenticity? Well, it implies that tension is less from disagreement, than from speaking or acting from borrowed truths.  Real conflict happens only when there is lack of authenticity. But, if each of us stands in an authentic place, diversity then, becomes redundant - there can be a kaleidoscope of voices which together create something larger...