The term “authenticity” was much used by trendy existentialists, and was antithetical to “bad faith,” posing, and oddly, essentialism. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authenticity_(philosophy). Sometimes racists appropriate the term to explain real “difference,” e.g. an “authentic” black is true to cultural nationalist definitions of blackness (this used to be called “negritude” by radical activists such as Alain Locke and Frantz Fanon).
The word is now being thrown around in the mass media to account for Donald Trump’s lead in the Republican campaign. The businessman/developer is now lauded as “telling it like it is” and as expressing his true inner man. Are we collectively hovering close to insanity by losing touch with things as they are, or as they might be?
There was a time when common sense acknowledged that reality is often impenetrable (owing to high level secrecy, and our own conditioning or ignorance), and, similarly, we are tongue-tied in the face of most social relationships, for, like it or not, all social relations are rule-bound and we occupy places in the pecking order, often as underlings at the mercy of employers, husbands, parents, clerics, and lovers. Top dog or bottom dog, we are rarely “authentic” for managers, no less than employees, are rule-bound and must manipulate their words to maintain cooperation and “brand” loyalty.
But more, we may rely upon various “experts” promoted by mass media to tell us what we are feeling, or who are the heroes/villains in our personal dramas.
Are we participating in an illusion that masks real dangers to our personal and planetary survival, comparable to nuclear warfare in its consequences?