Authentic vs Original

There were two inspirational speakers. The first narrated all her success stories – all of them true of course. The other shared candidly some of her failures as well. Of the two, I am more inspired by the latter.

In today’s world of fast-paced cut-throat competition, to be first is to take home the bacon. To be first is to be original: existing from the beginning, which can also serve as a model for others to follow or imitate. It is an advantage to be original in ideas whether in food, inventions, in movies, in fad and everything else there is to market.

To be authentic, on the other hand, is to be genuine; not fake. Henri Nouwen impressed on me a thought which I like. He said in one of his books: I seek not to be original but to be authentic.

In the literary world, plagiarism is a big issue. Ideas/thoughts in words, phrases or sentences are to be printed with quotation marks, notations, citations with the intention to give credit to the ‘original’ writer. While I agree that to copy other people’s ideas and claim it as your own is not right, I think that thoughts and ideas can be authentic because the mind is authentically created by an authentic Creator.

One can be authentic while he might not be the first or original. In contrast, being the first or original does not precede authenticity.

I like to write: to express my thoughts in black and white. Many of my words and ideas are not original. They are by-products of the experiences i share with the people around me, from the people before me (from the thoughts and ideas they shared – through the books/articles/journals/statuses printed/posted). But even as my words might not be original, my words are to be authentic: whether they be happy or sad; pleasant or not. What is authentic? How can we tell whether something, someone is genuine or fake?

Words are products of the heart. Luke 11:45 tells us A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Yes, it is difficult to discern the heart of a person. For the outsider/observer: ‘Action speaks louder than words.’ For the insider, what is from his heart will somehow be revealed in his words and deeds. Authenticity comes from within.

God’s Word, the Bible is the perfect model of words expressed in authenticity because God’s Word is Truth. God’s character, his will, his purpose, his heart validates his authenticity. He is the Only ‘True’ God; Creator of all things: original and authentic!




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