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

Or PLEASE SUBSCRIBE to Knowledge + Experience = Wisdom on your favorite podcast app and we’ll show ’em the power of organic growth!

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

And please subscribe and comment on my YouTube page, as well.

KEW Preview Episode 63: The Two Types of Shoulds

This Episode started out examining the different kinds of shoulds. Some shoulds come from extrinsic sources like my dad telling me I needed to get a job and not study philosophy in college, or your church telling you not to be gay. Extrinsic shoulds can be pretty easy to identify because they are often things we rebel against, are mean, or are even evil.

Intrinsic shoulds can be complicated. Some are good. We tell ourselves we *should* eat better and not have two pieces of cake. We *should* call our mother more often. Sometimes these shoulds come 100% from within us, but often they are actually extrinsic shoulds disguised as our own. The world has told us not to eat so much cake and that good sons and daughters call their moms more often. So it’s hard.

But I think, inherently, the more we come to know the are and to live in that space, the easier it is to identify whether your shoulds are intrinsic or extrinsic. In other words, I believe humans fundamentally KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL. It’s just that the more time we spend in the shoulds, we forget.

Like I often do, I wander a bit in this episode toward some emerging elements. I began a shift, in real time, toward a more somatic and external assessment of our personal growth path with respect to the Are vs Should Problem. I even go so far as to suggest we take the focus off ourselves for awhile, and focus on the people around us!

I hope you enjoy the tangents and trust that I will continue to develop these ideas in upcoming Episodes.

Full Episode in audio and video formats this Friday, right here at KEW http://www.chrisburcher.com.

Preview KEW Episode 62: Change (cont.)

I’ve been talking a lot about how change is a FUNDAMENTAL ELEMENT OF LIFE. Biological entities have DNA which builds our bodies and defines our unique abilities and deficiencies. But more than that, DNA is the mechanism that perpetuates and propels species through TIME by allowing adaptation to changing environmental conditions. The universe is always changing and anything wishing to persist needs a way of dealing with those changes. Biological things, like humans, have DNA to do that very job.

So a main assumption of the Are vs. Should Problem is that change is fundamental.

Another key assumption is that DNA is how we navigate that change – as individuals and as a species.

And my point in Episodes 61 and 62 is to point out a HUGE problem currently plaguing the human race:

We are currently RESISTING change, rather than embracing it.

And, I’ll argue, THIS is a major contributor to MOST of human problems.

From world hunger, to climate change, to our obsession with war. . . . it’s all about NOT understanding the need to change. To react. To modify. It’s literally in our nature. And when you fight your nature, you’re going to lose.

Full Episode coming Friday right here at KEW. Please subscribe to the KEW podcast and/or to my YouTube channel, and follow this blog for updates. You can also check out KEW on Medium.com.

KEW Episode 54: The Bully and your DNA: Part 1

Last week I introduced a few examples of the Are vs. Should problem. One of the most obvious examples comes up when we think about our careers. When we’re young people ask us what we want to be when we grow up. As adults, many of us wonder what became of those childhood dreams when we find ourselves doing jobs we don’t like. And I’ll argue it’s because we listen more to our Shoulds than to our Ares.

And this isn’t to say that Shoulds are all bad, because I think their intent is honorable. Our shoulds are single-minded in trying to keep us safe. As with our choice of career, the Should wants us to make enough money to take care of ourselves and to ‘be happy’. Unfortunately, the Should is a mosaic of all of the ‘responsible’ voices in our lives telling us what to do, how to think. and how to act in life in an effort to ‘be happy’.

The problem is, the Should isn’t YOU, and it doesn’t really understand what YOU want. The Should wants what ‘the world’ wants. What your teachers, parents, family, friends, and other close relationships want. The Should is modified by the tv we watch and the articles we read on the internet. The Should is deigned to keep the Are at bay, and to push this common agenda at all costs. I’ll talk more about the Are in Part 2 of this miniseries, but for now let’s just say your Are represents the ‘real you’ or your ‘true self’. Or something like that – whereas the Should is partly you, but is comprised of all the voices you hear everyday.

Historically, I think humans connected more with the ‘real you’, or ‘true self’. In other words, we used to listen to the Are more. The emerging problem is, we see a lot of Should in the world today. I’d say more and more people are spending more and more time in their Should than in years past, and humans are losing their Ares in the process.

I think a result of this increasing Should phenomenon is that the Should has become a bully. Rather than being just one of your many parts, the Bully has become the loudest, most feared, and threatening ally in our head. Due to the peaceful nature of our Are, the Should now represents the antithesis to the ‘real you’. The Should berates us, exaggerates reality, and will do anything to keep you from listening to your other parts. But it’s not only that the Should’s voice is becoming louder, it is becoming more and more stifling and homogenous.

The onset of social media, the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO), and the idea that everyone else is more perfect than you further strengthens our Shoulds. Now our Should aims even higher. To perfection, even, making it impossible to get even close to achieving what the Should would tell us to achieve. To the point where many therapists and counselors suggest we don’t use Should statements at all because this line of thinking sets us up for failure, depression, anxiety, and frustration.

So somehow this Should part of our ‘self’ has gotten way out of hand. The should is taking over who we imagine ourselves to be and creating anxiety, depression, and frustration. It is time to regain control of the voices in our heads by realizing there is a dictator in charge that needs to be checked. And one of the easiest ways to do this is to reconnect with, and listen to, your Are.

Next week I’ll talk about the Are and why it is critical to rediscover yours.

To hear more about the Should side of your self, listen or watch the full Episodes below.

Full podcast audio can be downloaded and listened to here: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/8865550-kew-episode-54-the-bully-and-your-dna-part-1.mp3?download=true

Or please subscribe on Spotify, Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, or your favorite podcast app.

Full YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/JSKOeF17SFU

FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 34: Self

Many people try to define and argue about what a ‘self’ is, or even whether or not we have one. I’m not too worried about getting it right, but I do think it’s worthwhile to ponder the concept of self.

Basically, it’s a ‘Who Am I’ question, or part of that thought process.

Some people spend a lot of time on that question, others don’t understand why anyone would waste their time asking it.

I think it’s neat to wonder. To be curious. And the ‘Who Am I’ question is stimulating.

And more than that, it’s HELPFUL to ponder such questions – because though the questions might not provide definitive definitions, it does provide INSIGHT. And this insight helps me live my life as well as I can. It helps me understand my wants and needs. Knowing ABOUT my SELF is beneficial to me and those around me.

Moreover, I can’t imagine living a life where I would have questions but not be allowed to pursue answers. Or to have curiosity but not have the wherewithal (is that even a word?) to TRY to answer my questions.

So this episode is a bit about exploring what the self is, and not at all about trying to find a definition:)

Original post with links to podcast audio and YouTube video here: https://chrisburcher.com/2020/12/18/kew-episode-34-self/

Preview of KEW Episode 34: Self

FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 33: Soul

In this Episode I tried to get at what our ‘soul’ is. I’m not sure I succeeded, but I think we all can agree that there’s a part of us that can’t really be identified. The soul is not our mind, it’s not our brain, it’s not our ‘self’ (whatever that is, see Episode 34 for my attempt at defining Self), it’s . . . something else.

Sometimes I think the soul is real, other times I doubt it’s existence. Most of the time I know there is SOMETHING going on inside us that defines us. Our, personality? or something? It’s beyond our appearance, or attitude, or how we refer to a group of people (I use y’all and you guys interchangeably because I was born in the south but grew up in the midwest). It’s . . . . much more than any of those things.

So the concept of soul probably lies in the unknowable. It might be something we just don’t have words for or something we can’t quite define.

And none of this even addresses whether the soul is immortal, which many religions suggest. My point in this episode is really just to explore the idea of soul – that which we can speak about but not truly understand. It’s ok with me if the soul is something we’ll never define or truly know about. But most of the time, I feel like I do:)

Episode preview video here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1110768896079673

Original post with podcast and YouTube links here: https://chrisburcher.com/2020/12/11/kew-episode-33-soul/

FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 25: I Suck At. . .

In hindsight the title of this Episode might not have been the best idea, but my intentions are good. Here I share with you some of my imperfections and struggles in hopes that you can relate. We are so good at beating ourselves up, but here I try to view my flaws with compassion and to be held accountable for my self improvement.

Most of us are on some sort of journey toward becoming better people, and KEW is my attempt to document my own journey for you to relate to. As I argue in Episode 43: Diversity and Uniqueness, our unique journeys are critical to human evolution and it is our duty to discover who we are.

Preview video here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=788972585335492

Original post and links to full episode here: https://chrisburcher.com/2020/10/16/kew-episode-25-i-suck-at/

KEW Episode 38: Faith and Trust

Because I grew up without religion, I always thought faith was something you only had for religion things. Later I came to understand faith is something we have when we don’t have enough information. Or we don’t know the outcome, but we desire a certain outcome. Faith is believing.

When I was becoming a scientist, I realized that faith even had a place in that world. Because science rarely proves anything, the people must decide whether scientific evidence means anything or not. We have to believe the evidence. We have to have faith that the evidence means what we say it means. It’s a collective effort.

So I define faith as something individuals and groups have for things or ideas. That is, faith is the belief in things or ideas.

When I ran a small business I assumed every phone call or email was trying to get me to buy something. I didn’t trust people very well. I assumed they had hidden agendas disguised as a sales pitch. I lost trust and became very pessimistic with respect to human relationships. I began to think everyone had a hidden agenda and didn’t trust them.

I still struggle with trusting other people and wondering whether they have a hidden agenda (conscious or otherwise). But I have learned that trust is belief we have for individual people.

This week I try to pick these two words apart and see what comes up.

Podcast audio download: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/7289098-kew-episode-38-faith-and-trust.mp3?blob_id=31681690&download=true (or on any of your favorite podcast apps)

YouTube video: https://youtu.be/u9IGHaI1eHU

KEW Episode 16: Who Tells Your Story?

Eliza Schuyler finally tells her husband’s story in Lin Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton”. But we’ll never really know Hamilton’s story, because he isn’t around to tell it. And, really, did he even know his story? Do you know yours?

Here I argue that it is an important goal of human life to understand who we are and why we do things. To ‘know thyself’ by the time we die. No one else can know us as well as ourselves, and any ‘history’ or ‘her story’ told about us is necessarily inaccurate as it is filtered by someone else’s lens. Only one person can know the ‘truth’, and that’s you.

And, really, it’s not the knowing but the journey toward knowing. Making the decision to know yourself is how you learn. I wonder how many people care enough to make that effort?

Podcast audio (also available on iHeart radio, Stitcher, Apple podcasts, and Spotify: https://www.buzzsprout.com/530563/4847678-kew-episode-16-who-tells-your-story.mp3?blob_id=19308149&download=true

Youtube video: https://youtu.be/1brbEKZHUxk