The Modern Quest for Authenticity Kierkegaard’s Take on Our Social Media Selves

In a world where our every move can be curated, filtered, and posted for all to see, the pursuit of authenticity feels like a never-ending battle. It’s as if we’re all actors in our own digital play, constantly tweaking the script to make sure we’re presenting the most likeable version of ourselves. But what does it mean to be truly authentic in a world obsessed with perfection? This is where Søren Kierkegaard, a 19th-century philosopher, enters our modern dilemma with some thought-provoking insights.

Kierkegaard wasn’t around to see the rise of social media, but his ideas on the self and authenticity cut right to the heart of our digital age issues. He talked about the self as a complex relationship between the finite and the infinite, the temporal and the eternal. In simpler terms, it’s the balance between our day-to-day selves and the deeper, timeless aspects of our identity. Nowadays, we might see the “finite” as our social media profiles – the snapshots and soundbites we share with the world – while the “infinite” is our private, inner life, full of dreams, doubts, and complexities.

The trouble with social media is that it tempts us to focus solely on the finite, on curating a life that looks good on the outside but might not reflect our true selves. We compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel, and the pressure to measure up can lead us away from authenticity. Kierkegaard saw this kind of comparison as a form of despair, a sickness of the soul. When we’re more concerned with how our lives look than how they feel, we’re at risk of losing touch with who we really are.

So, how do we combat this? Kierkegaard might suggest starting with a bit of self-reflection. Are we sharing that photo because it brings us joy, or because we think it’ll rake in the likes? Are we trying to live up to an online persona, or are we letting our real, messy, beautiful selves shine through?

He’d also probably encourage us to embrace the infinite aspects of our lives – the parts that aren’t so easy to capture in a post or a tweet. It’s about finding value in the unfiltered moments, the quiet evenings spent journaling or the deep conversations with friends that remind us of our shared humanity. These experiences might not boost our social media stats, but they enrich our souls and bring us closer to authentic living.

Kierkegaard’s call to authenticity is a reminder that it’s okay to be a work in progress, to have rough edges and unresolved questions. It’s a prompt to live more intentionally, making choices that align with our deepest values, even if they don’t always make for the most “likeable” content. In the end, the pursuit of an authentic life isn’t about perfection; it’s about striving to reconcile the finite and infinite within us, and having the courage to share our true selves with the world, both online and off.

So, remember Kierkegaard’s wisdom next time you’re scrolling through your feed, feeling the weight of comparison. The path to authenticity isn’t paved with likes and follows but with the bravery to be ourselves, in all our complex, imperfect glory.

I am currently re-translating Soren Kierkegaard’s profound book, “The Sickness Unto Death” and I will post when it is done, so please remember to authentically connect on social media.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *