Thank you for your response. Yes, I agree. Identity is rather complex, and there is no official way of looking at or discussing what constitutes a truly “authentic” self because everyone’s experiences and sense of self cannot be absolutely similar.
The problem I have is when people identify with specific socially constructed labels which were once used to describe a person’s current, yet temporary, beliefs and social status. Instead of people saying, “I vote Republican,” they say, “I am Republican.” Instead of people saying, “I suffer from poverty,” they say, “I am poor.” Instead of people saying, “I feel melancholic,” they say, “I am Goth.”
Soldiers commit atrocities because they are “just doing their job” and “following orders.”
Any feeling, opinion, occupation, or state of being can become a newly formed identity for people to assume, and this helps people avoid having to moving forward or learn and adapt to new situations. The Flat Earth Society is a great example. This is great for consumerist markets. The possibility for infinite identities means infinite ways to manipulate people for profit.
I guess in terms of authenticity this is as about as authentic as modern humans can be in a consumer-based society. A raise in the level of awareness will no doubt change what it means to be “authentic,” as it has in the past.
Anyway, I originally wrote this to not only help organize my own thoughts but also to inspire others. I hope I made feelings a little clearer.
Thank you again for your reply.