Authenticity and the Woke Crisis of the Real

The New Discourses Podcast with James Lindsay, Episode 32

Wokeness exists in a crisis of authenticity. This is no surprise since both of its main philosophical predecessors, neo-Marxist Critical Theory and postmodernism, are both their own forms of reaction to a perceived crisis of authenticity in the world. For the postmodernists, the real is remote, inaccessible, and simulated. Meaning is infinitely deferred. Authenticity, which is to say being who you are when you’re not attempting to be anyone, is passe and embarrassing, even as we crave it so much that the world itself needs to be done away with and replaced with raw experience. In Critical Theory, nothing is authentic because a consumerist society has already commodified, marketed, and sold it to us as a good life that doesn’t exist and controls us. Wokeness inherits all of this cynical legacy and generates inauthentic identities doing inauthentic scholarship to achieve inauthentic political goals. In this sense, authenticity is a form of kryptonite against Wokeness because Wokeness can’t abide or manipulate the authentic. Its deconstruction has no power over the truly and comfortably real.

But what is authenticity and how can you be more authentic? In this episode of the New Discourses podcast, join James Lindsay for a detailed discussion of the crisis of authenticity at the heart of the Woke project and its predecessors as well as a discussion of what it means to approach authenticity for yourself.


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