Existence by Absence: A Response to Avtomat Khan’s Guest Post

“Authenticity” and the idea of living an “authentic life” have become buzzwords, and like most buzzwords, the fundamental question becomes: what does it mean?

What makes a life “authentic” or “real”? It’s a question that seems to vex professional thinkers and the rest of us a like. 

Personally, I always thought of the concept as a combination of doing what you believe is best for you with a rootedness in timeless values. But the first part is what I’ve found the trickiest to define:

  • Is “doing what you want” inherently selfish?
  • If so, how can you mitigate this?
  • What’s the balance between “authenticity” and “obligation”?
  • Isn’t it strange that the idea of  “authenticity” itself is often packaged and sold as a commodity?
  • “Authentic” to whom?

And then I got thinking about how we can sometimes define things by their absence or negation. Let me explain:

As stated in my introduction to guest posts, I’d like to offer my take on what Avtomat Khan of The Hidden Dominion covered in his guest post, “Staying Authentic in Trying Times.” In it is a passage and a diagram I really like:

Consider this: If you place a high value on what others think of you, it will manipulate your personality and conclusions, either to find approval or avoid disapproval.

How can someone claim to be genuine if their values are so easily distorted based on who’s listening? It masks your true self. And in turn, it promotes the idea that we should “hide” who we actually are, in favor of whatever the latest bandwagon is.

That’s a good diagram, right? 

So more on negation: Sometimes we get a feeling that things are not right, a sense that how we are living is misaligned with who we are. It’s difficult to articulate this, but you know it when it’s not there.  Continue reading “Existence by Absence: A Response to Avtomat Khan’s Guest Post”

Guest Post: Staying Authentic in Trying Times by Avtomat Khan of Hidden Dominion

We’re at an interesting crossroads in society. For those of us who has been around or studied politics for a long time, it doesn’t really seem like it used too. The political polarization of society has shifted.

Sure, there has always been some violence, and much debate–but now it seems like it has coming to a boiling point. A “point of no return” where discourse has taken a backseat to “you’re on my side, or you’re out.” Where someone’s feelings matter more than fact.

The culture has shifted. Instead of focusing on merit and the important issues of liberty, the focus is on virtue signaling and power.

Where if you don’t get on the bandwagon, it takes off without you.

Many people in some industries such as Hollywood or Silicon Valley have to agree with whatever their superiors or colleagues are supporting. If they don’t, they’ll be out of work. More and more industries are starting to turn this way. Some companies will even fire employees strictly for posting non-PC comments on the Internet.

Not only this, but now many people are losing friends over political or moral viewpoints? What has happened to us that just disagreeing has become such a terrible event?

I like to think of this part of our current history as the “Modern Regressive Era” or “The Trying Times.”

There are a lot of reasons this has come to fruition. And based on my opinion, a large chunk of that responsibility comes from people giving up and feeling hopeless about being able to change anything.

It’s easy to feel hopeless. It doesn’t require any work. All it requires is for you to forsake all of your values.

But these trying times aren’t here for you to give up and lose all hope. They are here to test your resolve, and most notably, your courage.

But don’t get me wrong. We’ve all been there. It’s hard to cope with an uneasy future, and that feeling that nothing you do could help.

It’s difficult feeling like you don’t have control.

But the fact is: You DO.

Society may seem and act like a machine. But it’s not. It’s a human invention. And like all of our inventions, it’s malleable. It’s based on us; we make up the machine.

And the only way to edit it, is to edit ourselves. The best way to do this, is through the virtues of authenticity and courage. Continue reading “Guest Post: Staying Authentic in Trying Times by Avtomat Khan of Hidden Dominion”

Be My Guest: Introducing Guest Posts on Amatopia!


Exciting news everyone! I am hosting my very first guest post here at Amatopia, this one from an interesting guy I have gotten to know on Twitter, Avtomat Khan (aka AK).

AK runs a blog called The Hidden Dominion, which I took a liking to immediately because he, as I try to do here, covers a wide range of subjects–culture, philosophy, economics, survival, personal finance, politics–but with a strong focus on achieving independence in all facets of life. Interesting stuff!

AK goes deeper into the news-of-the-day, and covers topics that I don’t here, like self-defense, but there is enough overlap and similarity of overall philosophy about life, particularly a mutual sense of curiosity, that we thought it’d be fun do some guest posting.

The way I plan on doing guest posts is to start with an introductory blurb like this, give each writer their entire own post with none of my writing, and then later publish my own post reflecting on what they wrote and why I thought it was a good fit for this blog. Amatopia is all about learning and curiosity, so I hope you find these guest posts as interesting as I do!

So here he is, writing about an oft-discussed subject–staying authentic–but I think AK offers a better explanation of what that means, and an interesting way of thinking about the concept, than you might have read before.

So a hearty thank you to AK for writing this! Hope you enjoy his post as much as I did, and I highly recommend you check out The Hidden Dominion!

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