A Definition of Authentic Existence
and an Authenticity Test
The first two chapters of this book contain
about 100 questions,
which are intended to help you evaluate your own growth toward
Of course, questions, which must necessarily ask about facts of your
cannot get to the real core of Authenticity—your reasons and motives.
Also, questions can only sample
your life at random.
If you smoke (Question #4), this behavior stands for hundreds of other
you have made because of peer pressure rather than personal autonomy.
And giving up smoking will not make you a more Authentic person
unless it is part of a much broader change toward deciding for yourself.
Changing your behavior simply because of a question in the Authenticity
is no more valid than claiming to be an educated person
because you knew the exam questions in advance and studied only for
The 23 contrasts on page 4 might better be
seen as 23 growth scales.
Thus, instead of merely giving yourself a numerical score,
you might decide to write a paragraph of self-examination
for each dimension of growth that seems meaningful to you.
Such writing might become the beginning of your Authenticity journal
If you plan to take the Authenticity Test,
number a large sheet of paper
in four columns as follows: 1-28, 30-46, 50-73, 80-96. (See
inside front cover.)
If you might be tempted to distort your score
one way or another,
you could decide to take the test (which appears in boxes)
before you read the
text explaining each form of growth toward
Or if you are reading this book with someone who knows you well,
you might discuss your ratings with each other.
When a question cannot easily be answered yes
feel free to interpret and give yourself fractional points. For
16. Did I get married (or will I have married) because it was
If your marrying behavior was due mostly to social pressure,
you might give yourself 1.5 points.
Put today's date on your score sheet and keep
it in this book.
In the future you might want to re-take the test or re-read your
to see how much progress you have made toward becoming more Authentic.
Even if the Authenticity Test is not helpful
in other ways,
at least the specific questions can open possible areas for growth.
And, of course, you may add your
own growth goals to the 23 explored
A DEFINITION OF AUTHENTIC EXISTENCE by JAMES PARK
to cite the above page from Becoming More Authentic
Students and scholars are
invited to quote
anything from the above page.
Here is the proper form for the footnote or other reference:
James Park Becoming
The Positive Side of Existentialism
(Minneapolis, MN: www.existentialbooks.com, 2007—5th edition)
to the table of contents for
Authentic: The Positive Side of Existentialism.
September 12, 2008