My latest article is up at Daily Life. I have to admit that this was one of the trickier articles I have written. I felt like there was a lot I could muck up with this topic but it has definitely been one of the more interesting ones to consider, too.
These are the possibilities of ‘earth mother’ absurdity for you. It can take a lot of planning and control (and money) to be zen. Getting everything just right so you can let go. Following a very prescriptive path in order to ‘be yourself’. And there can be elitism in being bare and natural, too, because returning to tradition and being anti-corporate can involve a lot of expenses.
Andrew Potter described this perverse situation as “meticulous Bohemia” in his book, The Authenticity Hoax. A situation where you can feel like you are rejecting the materialism of the mainstream but be chasing the status of subculture. Where you can tie yourself in knots by self-consciously trying to perform an authentic sense of self, and where you resist advertising phoniness but then fall for any dubious product with ‘ethnic’ attached to it. Where you want to be different, just like everyone else, which is why every hipster around the world looks the same and all parents use the word ‘play-date’ now. The danger is that you can become obsessed with obtaining authenticity at any cost. And it never really existed.
Special thanks to @tjinimin for the comments and advice assisting me with understanding the concept of ‘authenticity’.