I have seen my fair share of accident scenes over the years. Some of them have been downright ugly. Unfortunately, when two cars collide at high enough speeds, the results can be gruesome. I was reminded of that while researching the inevitable conflicts between authenticity and morality.
Authenticity and morality are at odds more often than you might know. For the most part, they you are kept safely apart and that’s that. But sometimes they collide. And when they do, the aftermath can be as ugly as any accident scene.
When authenticity and morality collide, the results can include:
- people taking sides
- irreparably harmed relationships
- intentional antagonism
- bullying, harassment, and even violence.
It is not that people intentionally do such things. Rather, opposing sides start out simply disagreeing before they allow their emotions to get the best of them. Then things get out of hand.
Staying True to Something
Despite the fact that authenticity and morality often collide, there is one thing they have in common: the desire to stay true to something. Authenticity is all about staying true to who you are as a person. In some cases, it also means remaining true to your culture, heritage, and community.
Plurawl, a New York City clothing brand that seeks to promote authenticity in the LatinX community, believes it is important for Hispanics to stay true to themselves and their culture in every aspect of life. Their Latinx T-shirts, sweatshirts, and hats promote authenticity through messaging.
Meanwhile, there are people who believe that it is imperative to stay true to a moral code. For the record, every human being has a moral code of some sort. Our codes may be different, but we all have one. For some people though, the moral code is most important. They will remain true to it no matter what.
When the Two Are at Odds
Wherever you have people committed to staying true to something, you have room for disagreement. You might choose to remain true to your authentic self while someone else remains true to a moral code. What if the two are at odds?
Should a person who is trying to be authentic suppress that authenticity in order to make another person feel more comfortable? Most of us would probably say no. By the same token, should the other person surrender their allegiance to their moral code in order to make the authentic person more comfortable?
This illustrates why authenticity and morality often collide. People in both camps tend to believe that those in the other should surrender. People in both camps believe that their particular way is the only way. When they are not willing to live and let live, collisions occur.
You Can’t Make Everyone Happy
We could minimize collisions between authenticity and morality simply by taking to heart the reality that everyone will not be happy all the time. No matter what you stand for, you are not always going to make everyone happy. Likewise, other people are not always going to make you happy. This is all okay.
We don’t all have to see eye-to-eye in everything. There is room for disagreement. One person’s desire to be authentic should not dictate that everyone else fall in line with that authenticity. Likewise, one person’s moral code is not every person’s moral code. People are free to live as they choose.
We live in a strange time. We live in a revolutionary time, a time in which the culture is trying to redefine itself. Collisions between authenticity and morality are going to occur. Some of them will leave ugly accident scenes behind.