KEW Episode 67: Authenticity

Definition of authentic (Taken from Merriam-Webster)

1 a: worthy of acceptance or belief as conforming to or based on fact paints an authentic picture of our society

b: conforming to an original so as to reproduce essential features an authentic reproduction of a colonial farmhouse

c: made or done the same way as an original authentic Mexican fare

2: not false or imitationREALACTUALan authentic cockney accent

3: true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character is sincere and authentic with no pretensions

4 aof a church mode ranging upward from the keynote— compare PLAGAL sense 1

b of a cadence progressing from the dominant chord to the tonic— compare PLAGAL sense 2

5 obsolete AUTHORITATIVE

Geeze, that’s thorough, eh? But let me summarize:

Factual

Same or similar

Real

True

Sincere (like a pumpkin patch)

So, yeah, something real, or representative of something real. But most interesting is that many of these depict a thing REPRESENTING another thing. And that RESEMBLANCE is either good (authentic, real, conforming, true) or not (not authentic, fake, different, false). And remember, a dictionary is book of what we THINK words mean, not what they necessarily mean.

In the context of the Are vs Should Problem, authenticity is behaving in the world the way you feel/want/believe you behave in your head.

On the surface, this may seem like it means you must live in your Are to be authentic. I don’t believe this is true, however.

I think we all exhibit a certain amount of Shoulds throughout our lives, no matter how hard we try not to. We are going to slip. We are human.

The goal is not to live 100% Are and 0% Should, it’s to do the best you can. I don’t see any other way around it. We always build in an error term. A human error term. Which provides a degree of . . . . missing the mark. Failing. Being Inauthentic. It’s ok!

So there’s two points in this Episode, really. One is that the Are is your Authentic Self, and we have been discussing authenticity for the past twenty or so episodes – to point out and use the common vernacular. And the second point is that we are not trying to be 100% perfect, or 100% anything. The utility of a concept like authenticity is as a target to aim for, not something to become.

Much more in this Episode, available as a direct podcast download here:

https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/9344977-kew-episode-67-authenticity.mp3?download=true

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YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/U_cpuXKbHVM

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Preview KEW Episode 65: How Do We Know if We Really Know What We Think We Know?

I’m not sure where I heard this phrase but I always thought it had a nice balance of being both funny and thought provoking. Like, many a truth comes out in jest. It sounds like I’m kidding, but this is a serious question.

How do we ever ‘know’ anything? Go back to my very first Episode 1: Facts. This is part of what I was getting at. Humans just don’t have the capacity to know all the ‘truths’ and many things we think are ‘truths’ or ‘facts’ are just potential explanations or even just opinions.

Now I’m looking at the flip side of that. This episode is about our ‘knowing’ rather than the knowledge itself. I’ll discuss choice, belief, and reality. I talk about manifesting. In the end I wonder whether or not we have become distracted by the choosing and have forgotten about the action itself. Isn’t moving through life the goal? Rather than trying to get it ‘right’?

I am making progress toward some ‘to-do’s or action steps for the Are Vs. Should Problem and in this Episode I developed some clear pathways to next steps. I hope you enjoy it.

Full Episodes release Fridays at 5 AM on YouTube and your favorite podcast host. I also post here on my blog in honor of new episodes. Mondays are flashback episodes and Wednesdays are previews like this one:)

KEW News and Updates September, 2021

Hey guys – just wanted to make a note here about a few projects I have coming up that you may be interested in.

First, I’m currently conducting interviews about the “Are vs. Should Problem“. I’ve completed the first two with people I had never met and I’ll say it’s going to be very interesting. I plan to do around ten total interviews and to start releasing them either every other week or as a separate series beginning in October sometime. I’m excited to hear others’ perspectives on this issue and to have candid conversations about what it means to be yourself.

Second, KEW now has a writer’s page on Medium. For those of you who don’t know, Medium is a website for writers. It’s subscription based, and non-members can only read a handful of articles for free. For me, it’s better than reading the news every day – I have made it a habit to spend more time on Medium reading interesting stories and articles instead of reading news. I have only written one article so far, but I have made it a goal to start writing one a week in the near future. Mostly these will mirror what is happening on KEW but we’ll see where that goes. You can find my first article here: https://medium.com/@kpluseiswise/what-we-forgot-6e4b7090d540

This first article, ‘What We Forgot‘, gets at the idea that somewhere along the line we flipped nearly 180 degrees from being people who lived mostly in our ‘ares’ to people who listened more to the voices of the ‘shoulds’. I’m still not sure how and why this happened, but it is becoming clearer every week. In fact, I am starting to develop an even larger project about HOW to address this issue which I will get to in the upcoming weeks.

If you know anyone I should interview for this AvS series please comment or email me at kpluseiswise@cburcher

Thanks, everyone,

Chris

Preview KEW Episode 60: The Are vs Should Problem – Jobs and Career

This week I go back to the roots of the Are vs Should Problem.

For me this whole quest began when I was a kid and realized I had made a deal with the devil to blow 2/3 of my day working whatever job I’d be lucky enough to get. Any plans I had to travel, explore, or play were necessarily and all of a sudden pre-regulated by this ‘deal’.

In return I’d get to have the money I’d need to do the traveling, exploring, and playing. Only I couldn’t, because I’d have to work.

Sure, maybe I’d get a week of every year, but that seems like a consolation prize compared to what I had planned.

The beginning of the Are vs. Should Problem is in here. For me. Maybe for you. I made a deal. I lived up to my end of the bargain (mostly). I made the sacrifices. But I don’t feel like it paid off. Robert Johnson at least got some awesome guitar playing skills out of his deal with the devil.

Although now I see I did get something. I got a chance to do it over.

Full Episode this Friday right here at KEW.

FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 45: Career vs. Family

I realized yesterday that the Are vs. Should Problem really started in Episode 42: Safety. I knew the idea had been rolling around in my head, but I didn’t realize I actually stated it formally in that podcast. So, really, the Are vs. Should Problem officially begin in Episode 42.

So it’s kind of like I was unloading ideas in Episodes 1-41, then made a sort of shift toward organizing the ideas in Episodes 42-49, then realized what I was doing by Episode 50. Not to say any of the Episodes were more or less important, just noting a definite trend.

So in THIS Episode examining the time we spend pursuing our careers vs. the time we spend loving each other, I was really getting to the meat of the Are vs Should issue. And that is, what do we value and how do we measure success?

What do we value?

Money?

Time?

Love?

And how do we measure success?

Fancy cars?

Big houses?

Elite parties?

This Episode gets at the ARE and the SHOULD as terms we use to measure how well we are living our lives. And it’s confusing because so many people, and so much of the system, measures success in money, power, and accolades. Yet so much of what we NEED, and so much of what we are MISSING, is measured in love, and smiles, and calm.

Full Episode post with links to podcast and video here: https://chrisburcher.com/2021/04/09/kew-episode-45-career-vs-family/

KEW Episode 59: Are vs Should Challenges

Depending on how you define ‘uncomfortable’, 100-200 million people worldwide can’t meet their basic needs. Folks are born into societies and cultures where they are doomed to fail. Millions of people on this planet will live their entire lives worried about dying, finding food, or having a safe place to sleep. These are enormously huge problems that I truly don’t understand. Nor do I understand how complicated the solutions are.

But I do believe one thing: if we wanted to solve these problems, we could. We could at least make them better. And I truly believe that the solutions begin within each one of us.

To solve these problems we need to fix ourselves first. We each need to put on the proverbial oxygen mask so that we can take care of ourselves so that we can take care of each other. And right now there’s a lot missing from that equation.

  • First, many of us don’t care about ourselves. Some of us are so sad, stressed, malnourished, hungry, or whatever to take the luxury time necessary to change our beliefs, habits, and behaviors. And I’m not judging, that’s understandable.
  • Second, many of us who DO have the luxury of pondering our existence just don’t think it’s important to do so. Many of us are too wrapped up in our jobs, iPhones, addictions, or whatever.
  • And last, most of us wouldn’t know what to do if we DID figure out how to change ourselves because the rest of the world is out there running on autopilot. Once we figure things out, we need to share it with our community – and many of those communities just don’t exist any more.

What I’m trying to say is that I truly believe the Are vs Should Problem is the CAUSE OF and SOLUTION TO, all of our problems. That might be a stretch but let’s just go with the idea that this concept might help us solve some of our problems.

See, I think if we can figure out how to reduce our time spend doing things we feel like we SHOULD be doing then we would have more time to ponder who we really ARE. And if I think we can make that shift in how we spend our time, we will find out that we actually crave connections to our brothers and sisters. I think we actually are inspired to do good. I think we do actually want to share resources instead of horde them. I think we do actually want to take care of our planet. I think we do want to spend our lives finding solutions to issues like world hunger instead of becoming investment bankers and stockpiling financial wealth.

But I’m a naive naval gazer. Or I used to be. And now I want to be again.

I want all those things to be true so I’m believing all those things to be true.

And if you follow the assumptions I’ve made thus far:

DNA is the precursor to human magic and MUST be fully expressed.

Expressing our individual uniqueness is our human purpose.

Reducing the things we feel like we SHOULD do frees up time and space for us to do the last thing.

By becoming the people we are destined to be we will realize, as a species, the way things used to be.

Peace and happiness result from more ARE and less SHOULD.

The CHALLENGES we face as humans can be solved.

Then maybe you’re interested in learning more? That’s what I’m here for.

Please take the time and let me know how you feel.

Full audio podcast download here: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/9044362-kew-episode-59-are-vs-should-challenges.mp3?download=true

or PLEASE subscribe to my podcast on your favorite podcast host (Spotify, Apple podcasts, Stitcher, etc.)

Full YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/QDx82xqcqKA

KEW Episode 58: Fix the Broken System

In this episode I cover two main points:

  1. Millions of people have no interest in the Are vs Should Problem because they can’t meet their basic human needs for things like food, clean water, and safe shelter.
  2. These problems can only be fixed if we live more in the Are and less in the Should.

There are no two ways about it, I believe that we need to be more Are, and less Should. I am even starting to believe that the world’s biggest problems can only be solved by people who realize their full ‘Are’ potential. It seems imperative that we learn to develop our Are potential and to shun the Shoulds. Being in our Ares is what is going to fuel the creativity necessary to move forward as a species and solve our most pressing issues.

And, sure, some people already live more in their Are who have invented awesome things like rocket ships an iPhones, but many of these amazing inventions don’t mean much to a lot of people on Earth. I think much of the industrialization and consumerism we see today is fueled by the Should and not the Are.

Similarly, many people do not have the food, water, and shelter necessary to even ponder the Are vs Should Problem. I realize my white privilege is what allows me to even ask whether I am the person I AM or the person I feel like I SHOULD BE. I get that. Not everyone has that luxury. But we all deserve it. We’re all born to be who we Are, but our circumstances and opportunities available dictate whether we have luxury time to ponder such things. And the solutions to these food, water, and shelter problems is going to be found by someones’ (or many someone’s) Are.

Every person on earth deserves to have their needs met. We deserve to have food, clean water, safety, community, and all of the other basic needs. We also deserve to wonder and to be curious. We deserve to have the choice about whether we thrive or survive. We deserve the chance to be who we Are.

So I feel a sense of urgency around the Are vs Should Problem. We need more of us to think. To learn. To create. To figure out. But to do these things we need to allow ourselves to bIf more of us learned how to minimize the Shoulds, we would make more discoveries, invent more useful items, and more quickly solve the world’s most pressing problems.

Obviously this means that we, as individuals, need to work on this – and I promise, I will develop a “how-to” in the not-too-distant future, but we also need to pave the way for everyone else.

Think about it. We can put people on the moon. Entrepreneurs go to ‘space’ for fun. Most of us have the internet in our pockets. Don’t tell me we can’t figure out how to take care of each other. To give each other the opportunity to be who we Are.

Full podcast audio download here: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/9012436-kew-episode-58-fix-the-broken-system.mp3?download=true

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Preview KEW Episode 58: Fix the Broken System

Twenty years of training and working as an Ecologist and Evolutionary Biologist means I see everything as a system of interacting parts. I really can’t see the trees for the forest. When I look at a part, I see the system to which it belongs. It’s a curse.

An example is when I worked for a state environmental agency. I absolutely needed my manager to explain to me how my position fit in to the larger system (the agency). I needed to understand how the system worked, at least on a cursory level, to really understand what my job was. Even at one of my first jobs delivering pizza, it wasn’t until I had participated in the whole life cycle of phone order to ticket to cooking to delivery to balancing the drawer at the end of the night that the whole thing made sense and that I had a sense of purpose.

In the context of the Are vs. Should problem, the ‘system’ (and this could be many things, but here I mean American capitalism as an example) is waaaay to skewed toward the Should to the point that the Ares are steadily losing value. In this scenario, it becomes extra difficult to develop our Ares when the deck is stacked against it.

But more than that, the global system leaves too many people unable to even ponder the Are vs Should Problem. If you don’t have enough food, shelter, and medicine to keep you safe and healthy, you have no need to ponder life’s more philosophical problems. You care not for the Should nor the Are, as you are too busy trying not to die. This, I suggest, is a problem with the system that can potentially be solved by getting everyone more in their Are.

In other words, we need to look upstream at how the larger system works, and how it impedes our progress, to make it possible for us to change.

Full Episode this Friday right here at KEW http://www.chrisburcher.com

KEW Episode 57: Multiple Personalities

Inside each of us are several characters. These parts are all ‘us’, but they are distinct from one another. What distinguishes these parts is the roles they play in managing our lives. We are, at the same time, the nice guy, the responsible gal, the tactful them. We play many roles in different aspects of our lives. At work we are cordial and diligent. In bed we are adventurous and raw. As athletes we are courageous and assertive. These different roles help us achieve different goals and help us get along with the dynamic and varied people we interact with each day.

What’s most interesting to me is how these parts develop and WHY they exist the way they do. During my decade of therapy and self-help I have learned that my parts, or characters, were developed in childhood – mostly to alleviate some pain or fear. I learned to embrace ‘being smart’ and a part was born that felt better about himself if he reminded himself that, well, at least he was smarter than some people. I have other parts that similarly justify their pretentious or arrogant beliefs because they protect me from sadness, separation, or isolation. We all have these parts we’re not proud of, but they served us well during times of duress when there were no adults around to guide us or teach us a better way.

In other words, many of the parts we carry into adulthood are the result of decisions made made to help us survive a scary or dangerous situation in our youth. Again, at the time these parts were formed, they served their purpose most excellently in helping us survive, feel better, or to find peace. But as we grow, we can learn better ways and we have new experiences that can modify our behaviors. Except that’s not always what happens. Often, these parts become stronger through habituated repetition over time. Often times we DON’T learn and apply new information because these parts are so strong. Especially when trauma is repetitive and frequent. I was repetitively bullied, and relied on my ‘being smart’ part to make me feel better about being a weak target for bigger kids. This made me feel better throughout my youth, but as I grew taller and the bullies stopped picking on me, I was left with a pretentious arrogance that negatively affected me as an adult. It has taken a long time to understand this part, to console it, and to help it find peace. As I understand these parts I am able to make better choices when I interact with people, to feel safer, and to grow.

With apologies to people suffering from true multiple personality disorder, I offer an explanation about how we are comprised of many parts as a way of better understanding ourselves and how we interact with the world around us. In the context of the Are vs. Should Problem, it is essential to understand how we are organized so that we can better organize our beliefs and values.

Full podcast audio download here: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/8973375-kew-episode-57-multiple-personalities.mp3?download=true

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Full YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/QdMfsVc1wfc

Preview KEW Episode 57: Multiple Personalities

With apologies to people suffering with Multiple Personality Disorders of any type, I hope I can borrow the term for the purposes of an analogy or metaphor.

I have mentioned Richard Schwartz and his Internal Family Systems (IFS) work before. IFS describes our minds as naturally having multiple ‘parts’ or characters. When I say ‘multiple personalities’ this is what I mean.

In the content of the Are vs Should Problem, we have to look at our selves as being comprised of more than just two parts; the Are and the Should. In fact, there are many Shoulds. I’m not sure if there are multiple Ares because I believe the Are is defined by our unique DNA. So for now we’ll consider ourselves as being comprised of at least one Are, and multiple (maybe 5-25) unique Shoulds we have learned and developed as we became Domesticated.

In my personal IFS work I have come to understand this model and believe it is not only incredibly useful, it fits in very well with the Are vs. Should Problem. These parts have origins, develop distinct personalities, and seem present consistently enough to warrant focused consideration.

This week I’ll use the IFS model to describe our ‘parts’, how they relate to the Are vs Should Problem, and how these parts come to be.