Authenticity, as defined by existentialist philosophers, is the degree to which one is true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character, despite external pressures. According to Jean-Paul Sartre, “Existence precedes essence”, in other words, man makes himself. In order for him to define himself, he should be totally free. But, how can he be free totally?
Man can be totally free when he lives an authentic way of living. By living a life of authenticity, man should not seek guidance towards the established codes of life. He should decline every sort of objective morals and values that is set by his society for him¹. By this, he should be living his life according to his true self. Living by his true nature requires him his freedom of choice.
And by creating his own choices, he freely makes his own actions despite external forces. These actions which he freely chooses are now the basis of his existence. But in order for him to be able to live an authentic life, he must take full responsibility for all of his actions.
Knowing things about freedom and authentic living, what are its implications to man’s life? Being authentic will enable a man to live his life to the fullest. And living life to the fullest means is to have a life that is joyful, meaningful, and full of values and happiness. By living authentically, he will be able to liberate himself from the barriers that are cast to him by his society. By transcending the presupposed purposes-in-life, the true purpose of his existence become so clear to him.
With the knowledge of his existence’s ultimate purpose, he can formulate the best decisions for himself. Deciding according to his own choices will lead him towards the fulfilment of his personal goals. In sum, all these things will guide him to a more comfortable and a better life in which he lives through the assistance of his own choices and according to his very true nature.
Indeed, authenticity is truly significant to a man’s life. The most important aspect of living an authentic life is total freedom. Because of total freedom, man is able to make personal choices and also, he leads his life to anew. He is no longer having problems when it comes to decision making for the reason that he already has a clear view of his ultimate purpose. For one to acknowledge his freedom of choice and the responsibility that he hold as a being is, according to Sartre, to have an authentic way of living.