Authenticity is a concept in psychology (in particular existential psychiatry) as well as existentialist philosophy and aesthetics (in regard to various arts and musical genres). In existentialism, authenticity is the degree to which an individual's actions are congruent with their beliefs and desires, despite external pressures; the conscious self is seen as coming to terms with being in a material world and with encountering external forces, pressures, and influences which are very different from, and other than, itself. A lack of authenticity is considered in existentialism to be bad faith. The call of authenticity resonates with the famous instruction by the Oracle of Delphi, “Know thyself.” But authenticity extends this message: "Don’t merely know thyself – be thyself."
Views of authenticity in cultural activities vary widely. For instance, the philosophers Jean Paul Sartre and Theodor Adorno had opposing views regarding jazz, with Sartre considering it authentic and Adorno inauthentic. The concept of authenticity is often aired in musical subcultures, such as punk rock and heavy metal, where a purported lack of authenticity is commonly labeled with the epithet "poseur". There is also a focus on authenticity in music genres such as "...house, grunge, garage, hip-hop, techno, and showtunes".
One of the greatest problems facing such abstract approaches is that the drives people call the "needs of one's inner being" are diffuse, subjective, and often culture-bound. For this reason among others, authenticity is often "at the limits" of language; it is described as the negative space around inauthenticity, with reference to examples of inauthentic living. Sartre's novels are perhaps the easiest access to this mode of describing authenticity: they often contain characters and antiheroes who base their actions on external pressures—the pressure to appear to be a certain kind of person, the pressure to adopt a particular mode of living, the pressure to ignore one's own moral and aesthetic objections in order to have a more comfortable existence. His work also includes characters who do not understand their own reasons for acting, or who ignore crucial facts about their own lives in order to avoid uncomfortable truths; this connects his work with the philosophical tradition.
Sartre is concerned also with the "vertiginous" experience of absolute freedom. In Sartre's view, this experience, necessary for the state of authenticity, can be so unpleasant that it leads people to inauthentic ways of living. Typically, authenticity is seen as a very general concept, not attached to any particular political or aesthetic ideology. This is a necessary aspect of authenticity: because it concerns a person's relation with the world, it cannot be arrived at by simply repeating a set of actions or taking up a set of positions. In this manner, authenticity is connected with creativity: the impetus to action must arise from the person in question, and not be externally imposed. Heidegger takes this notion to the extreme, by speaking in very abstract terms about modes of living (his terminology was adopted and simplified by Sartre in his philosophical works). Kierkegaard's work (e.g. "Panegyric Upon Abraham" from Fear and Trembling) often focuses on biblical stories which are not directly imitable. Sartre, as has been noted above, focused on inauthentic existence as a way to avoid the paradoxical problem of appearing to provide prescriptions for a mode of living that rejects external dictation.
Authenticity, according to Kierkegaard, is reliant on an individual finding authentic faith and becoming true to oneself. Kierkegaard develops the idea that news media and the bourgeois church-Christianity present challenges for an individual in society trying to live authentically. Kierkegaard thus sees “both the media and the church as intervening agencies, blocking people’s way to true experiences, authenticity, and God. “ His conviction lies with the idea that mass-culture creates a loss of individual significance, which he refers to as “levelling.” Kierkegaard views the media as supporting a society that does not form its own opinions but utilizes the opinions constructed by the news. Similarly, he interprets religion as a tradition that is passively accepted by individuals, without the inclusion of authentic thought. Kierkegaard believes that authentic faith can be achieved by “facing reality, making a choice and then passionately sticking with it.” The goal of Kierkegaard's existentialist philosophy is to show that, in order to achieve authenticity, one must face reality and form his own opinions of existence. So as not to be discouraged by levelling, Kierkegaard suggests, “One must make an active choice to surrender to something that goes beyond comprehension, a leap of faith into the religious.” Even if one does not want to put forth the effort of developing his own views, he must do so in the quest for authentic faith. This is how Kierkegaard described authenticity in his 1850 book Practice in Christianity:
"Therefore, it is a risk to preach, for as I go up into that holy place-whether the church is packed or as good as empty, whether I myself am aware of it or not, I have one listener more than can be seen, an invisible listener, God in heaven, whom I certainly cannot see but who truly can see me. .... Truly it is a risk to preach! Most people no doubt have the idea that to step out on the stage as an actor, to venture into the danger of having all eyes focused on one, is something that requires courage. Yet in one sense this danger, like everything on the stage, is an illusion, because the actor, of course, is personally outside it all; his task is precisely to deceive, to dissemble, to represent someone else, and to reproduce accurately someone else's words. The proclaimer of Christian truth, on the other hand, steps forward into a place where, even if the eyes of all are not focused on him, the eye of an omnicient one is. His task is: to be himself, and in a setting, God's house, which, all eyes and ears, requires only one thing of him-that he should be himself, be true. That he should be true, that is, that he himself should be what he proclaims, or at least strive to be that, or at least be honest enough to confess about himself that he is not that. ... How risky it is to be the I who preaches, the one speaking, an I who by preaching and as he preaches commits himself unconditionally, displays his life so that, if possible, one could look directly into his soul-to be this I, that is risky! Soren Kierkegaard, Practice in Christianity 1850, Hong p. 234-235
Nietzsche's view of authenticity is an atheist interpretation of Kierkegaard. He rejects the role of religion in finding authenticity because he believes in finding truth without the use of virtues. Nietzsche believes of the authentic man as the following: Someone who elevates himself over others in order to transcend the limits of conventional morality in an attempt to decide for oneself about good and evil, without regard for the virtues “on account of which we hold our grandfathers in esteem.” Nietzsche rejects the idea of religious virtues due to the lack of questioning by the individual. One must avoid what he calls “herding animal morality,” if he is to find authenticity. To “stand alone” and avoid religiously constructed principles, it is essential to be “strong and original enough to initiate opposite estimates of value, to transvaluate and invert ‘eternal valuations.’” One must be a free thinker and theorize views outside of their predilections. The commonality of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche’s existential philosophies is “the responsibilities they place on the individual to take active part in the shaping of one’s beliefs and then to be willing to act on that belief.” For Nietzsche, the secular mentality is a form of weakness and, for authenticity to be achieved, one must truly transcend conventional morality.
According to Abulof, authenticity's calling – being true to oneself – deceivingly conceals the deep chasms between two divergent interpretations of the "self": essentialist and existentialist. Essentialist authenticity demands we find and follow our preordained destiny, our inborn core. Conversely, existentialist authenticity prescribes “determine your destiny!” urging people to become aware of their freedom to choose their own path, which may, but need not, join that of others. While essentialists search for signs of self-betrayals, existentialists defiantly ask, “How am I not myself?” and answer: only when I forget my freedom, and surrender to “bad faith.” Otherwise, my choices – whatever they might be – constitute me.
Existential philosophers like Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Heidegger investigate the existential-ontological significance of societally constructed norms to decipher authenticity. For an existential journalist, this aversion to, and turning away from, an unquestioning acceptance of norms contributes to the production of an authentic work. Merrill believes that authentic journalism can exist if the journalist is true to one's self and rejects conformism. There are traditions that exist in media and news outlets that prevent journalists from achieving authenticity. Like Kierkegaard's view of media and church, Merrill believes that journalists are “gladly sacrificing individual authenticity to adapt nicely to the highly regimented, depersonalized corporate structure.” Journalists are restricted by “institutional red tape” and, thus, cannot achieve authenticity. It is beneficial for journalists to adhere to the “red tape” because their work will be published.
Actively shaping one's own belief and then acting upon that belief is a laborious task. A journalist that hesitates in writing a story because it is not within the norm is unable to achieve authenticity because of the notion that following the norm is more valuable than being authentic. The contention is, however, that “individual freedom and courage to act is more valuable than collective adherence to journalistic codes of conduct.” As journalists make conscious decisions to write authentically, they are able to contribute more value in their work. The consequence of authentic writing is positive and ensures that the journalist, according to Merrill, “grows, matures, creates himself, and projects himself into the future.”
A very different definition of authenticity was proposed by Erich Fromm in the mid-1900s. He considered behavior of any kind, even that wholly in accord with societal mores, to be authentic if it results from personal understanding and approval of its drives and origins, rather than merely from conformity with the received wisdom of the society. Thus a Frommean authentic may behave consistently in a manner that accords with cultural norms, for the reason that those norms appear on consideration to be appropriate, rather than simply in the interest of conforming with current norms. Fromm thus considers authenticity to be a positive outcome of enlightened and informed motivation rather than a negative outcome of rejection of the expectations of others. He described the latter condition – the drive primarily to escape external restraints typified by the "absolute freedom" of Sartre – as "the illusion of individuality", as opposed to the genuine individuality that results from authentic living.
Those who advocate social reform value the study of authenticity since it can provide a radical manifesto and an overview of the shortcomings of social structures. Michael Kernis and Brian Goldman defined authenticity as "the unimpeded operation of one's true or core self in one's daily enterprise."
While authenticity may be a goal intrinsic to "the good life," it is often a difficult state to actually achieve, due in part to social pressures to live inauthentically and in part to a person's own character. It is also described as a revelatory state, where one perceives oneself, other people, and sometimes even things, in a radically new way. Some writers argue that authenticity also requires self-knowledge, and that it alters a person's relationships with other people. Authenticity also carries with it its own set of moral obligations, which often exist regardless of race, gender and class. The notion of authenticity also fits into utopian ideology, which requires authenticity among its citizens to exist, or which claims that such a condition would remove physical and economic barriers to pursuing authenticity.
Secular and religious notions of authenticity have coexisted for centuries under different guises; perhaps the earliest account of authenticity that remains popular is Socrates' admonition that "the unexamined life is not worth living". In aesthetics, "authenticity" describes the perception of art as faithful to the artist's self, rather than conforming to external values such as historical tradition, or commercial worth. A common definition of "authenticity" in psychology refers to the attempt to live one's life according to the needs of one's inner being, rather than the demands of society or one's early conditioning.
The search for authenticity is a hallmark of romantic modernity. Romanticists since the late 18th century prescribed intuition, emotion and a return to nature as a necessary corrective, even an antidote, to Enlightenment's “cold” reason. In the twentieth century, Anglo-American discussions of authenticity often center around the writings of a few key figures associated with existentialist philosophy, where the term originated; because most of these writers wrote in languages other than English, the process of translating and anthologizing has had a strong impact on the debate. Walter Kaufmann might be credited with creating a "canon" of existentialist writers which include Søren Kierkegaard, Martin Heidegger, and Jean-Paul Sartre. For these writers, the conscious self is seen as coming to terms with being in a material world and with encountering external forces and influences which are very different from itself; authenticity is one way in which the self acts and changes in response to these pressures.
The call of, and for, authenticity - "be theyself!" - has pervaded modern thought and culture. A Google ngram (1800-2008) indicates the dramatic rise, since the 1960s, in relative frequency of this modern command: "in books, Hollywood films, commercials, and daily conversations, we advise, even order: be yourself!"
Due to different groups' and individual's different experiences, views of authenticity regarding cultural activities vary widely and often differ between groups and individuals. For Sartre, jazz music was a representation of freedom; this may have been in part because jazz was associated with African American culture, and was thus in opposition to Western culture generally, which Sartre considered hopelessly inauthentic. Theodor Adorno, however, another writer and philosopher concerned with the notion of authenticity, despised jazz music because he saw it as a false representation that could give the appearance of authenticity but that was as much bound up in concerns with appearance and audience as many other forms of art. Heidegger in his later life associated authenticity with non-technological modes of existence, seeing technology as distorting a more "authentic" relationship with the natural world.
Some writers on authenticity in the twentieth century considered the predominant cultural norms to be inauthentic; not only because they were seen as forced on people, but also because, in themselves, they required people to behave inauthentically towards their own desires, obscuring true reasons for acting. Advertising, in as much as it attempted to give people a reason for doing something that they did not already possess, was a "textbook" example of how Western culture distorted the individual for external reasons. Race relations are seen as another limit on authenticity, as they demand that the self engage with others on the basis of external attributes. An early example of the connection between inauthenticity and capitalism was made by Karl Marx, whose notion of "alienation" can be linked to the later discourse on the nature of inauthenticity.
Individuals concerned with living authentically have often led unusual lives that opposed cultural norms; the rise of the counter-culture in the 1960s in Europe and America was seen by many as a new opportunity to live an authentic existence. Many, however, have pointed out that anti-authoritarianism and eccentricity does not necessarily constitute an authentic state of being. The connection of the violation of cultural norms to authenticity, however, is strong and real, and continues today: among artists who explicitly violate the conventions of their profession, for example. The connection of inauthenticity to capitalism is contained in the notion of "selling out," used to describe an artist whose work has become inauthentic after achieving commercial success and thus becoming to an extent integrated into an inauthentic system.
Australian author Helen Demidenko's novel The Hand that Signed the Paper promoted much debate on the nature of identity, ethnicity, and authenticity in Australian literature. The novel is about a Ukrainian family trying to survive a decade of Stalinist purges and state-imposed poverty and famine. When the media discovered Helen Dale's identity and legal name, this created debate in Australia's literary community.
The concept of authenticity is often raised in the punk rock and heavy metal musical subcultures, in which people or bands are criticized for their purported lack of authenticity by being labeled with the epithet "poseur". "Poseur" is used to refer to a person (or band) who copies the dress, speech, and/or mannerisms of a group or subculture, generally for attaining acceptability within the group, yet who is deemed not to share or understand the values or philosophy of the subculture. "The code of authenticity, which is central to the heavy metal subculture, is demonstrated in many ways", such as through clothing, the use of an emotional singing voice and having serious themes in the songs. In metal, one study of how fans sought out authenticity within the metal scene noted three elements to authenticity: long-term dedication to the scene; knowing key events of metal culture; and making the right choices based on one's authentic inner voice. In Black metal, an extreme metal genre, sincerity, authenticity and extremity are valued above all else." In the metal and hardcore punk subcultures, a band that began from a working class milieu that later signs to a major record label for a lucrative recording contract may be deemed to have "sold out" and lost their authenticity. In addition to the focus on authenticity in "...punk, house, grunge, garage, and hip-hop," ideas of authenticity have seeped into many other genres, including those considered by some to be less "authentic" than the aforementioned.
In marketing brand authenticity is defined as the degree to which brand identity is causally linked to brand behaviour. Authenticity is perceived, if a brand fulfills its brand promise in a unique, consistent and continuous way.
Authenticity or authentic may refer to:
Authentication, the act of confirming the truth of an attributeAuthenticity in art
Authenticity in art is the different ways in which a work of art or an artistic performance may be considered authentic.Denis Dutton distinguishes between nominal authenticity and expressive authenticity.
The first refers to the correct identification of the author of a work of art, to how closely a performance of a play or piece of music conforms to the author's intention, or to how closely a work of art conforms to an artistic tradition.
The second sense refers to how much the work possesses original or inherent authority, how much sincerity, genuineness of expression, and moral passion the artist or performer puts into the work.A quite different concern is the authenticity of the experience, which may be impossible to achieve. A modern visitor to a museum may not only see an object in a very different context from that which the artist intended, but may be unable to understand important aspects of the work. The authentic experience may be impossible to recapture.Authenticity is a requirement for inscription upon the UNESCO World Heritage List. According to the Nara Document on Authenticity, it can be expressed through 'form and design; materials and substance; use and function; traditions and techniques; location and setting; spirit and feeling; and other internal and external factors.'Bad faith
Bad faith (Latin: mala fides) is double mindedness or double heartedness in duplicity, fraud, or deception. It may involve intentional deceit of others, or self-deception.
The expression "bad faith" is associated with "double heartedness", which is also translated as "double mindedness". A bad faith belief may be formed through self-deception, being double minded, or "of two minds", which is associated with faith, belief, attitude, and loyalty. In the 1913 Webster's Dictionary, bad faith was equated with being double hearted, "of two hearts", or "a sustained form of deception which consists in entertaining or pretending to entertain one set of feelings, and acting as if influenced by another". The concept is similar to perfidy, or being "without faith", in which deception is achieved when one side in a conflict promises to act in good faith (e.g. by raising a flag of surrender) with the intention of breaking that promise once the enemy has exposed himself. After Jean-Paul Sartre's analysis of the concepts of self-deception and bad faith, bad faith has been examined in specialized fields as it pertains to self-deception as two semi-independently acting minds within one mind, with one deceiving the other.
Some examples of bad faith include: a company representative who negotiates with union workers while having no intent of compromising; a prosecutor who argues a legal position that he knows to be false; an insurer who uses language and reasoning which are deliberately misleading in order to deny a claim.Bad faith may be viewed in some cases to not involve deception, as in some kinds of hypochondria with actual physical manifestations. There is a question about the truth or falsity of statements made in bad faith self-deception; for example, if a hypochondriac makes a complaint about their psychosomatic condition, is it true or false?Bad faith has been used as a term of art in diverse areas involving feminism, racial supremacism, political negotiation, insurance claims processing, intentionality, ethics, existentialism, climate change denial, and the law.Charles Guignon
Charles B. Guignon (born 1944) is an American philosopher and Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of South Florida. He is known for his expertise on Heidegger's philosophy and existentialism. He became a member of the Florida Philosophical Association in the early 2000s.Honesty
Honesty is a facet of moral character that connotes positive and virtuous attributes such as integrity, truthfulness, straightforwardness, including straightforwardness of conduct, along with the absence of lying, cheating, theft, etc. Honesty also involves being trustworthy, loyal, fair, and sincere.
Honesty is valued in many ethnic and religious cultures.
"Honesty is the best policy" is a proverb of Benjamin Franklin, while the quote "Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom" is attributed to Thomas Jefferson, as used in a letter to Nathaniel Macon. April 30 is national Honesty Day in the United States.
William Shakespeare famously describes honesty as an attribute people leave behind when he wrote that "no legacy is so rich as honesty" in act 3 scene 5 of "All's Well that Ends Well."Others have noted, however, that "[t]oo much honesty might be seen as undisciplined openness". For example, individuals may be perceived as being "too honest" if they honestly express the negative opinions of others, either without having been asked their opinion, or having been asked in a circumstance where the response would be trivial.Hyperreality
Hyperreality, in semiotics and postmodernism, is an inability of consciousness to distinguish reality from a simulation of reality, especially in technologically advanced postmodern societies. Hyperreality is seen as a condition in which what is real and what is fiction are seamlessly blended together so that there is no clear distinction between where one ends and the other begins. It allows the co-mingling of physical reality with virtual reality (VR) and human intelligence with artificial intelligence (AI). Individuals may find themselves, for different reasons, more in tune or involved with the hyperreal world and less with the physical real world. Some famous theorists of hyperreality/hyperrealism include Jean Baudrillard, Albert Borgmann, Daniel J. Boorstin, Neil Postman and Umberto Eco.Index of aesthetics articles
This is an alphabetical index of articles about aesthetics.Index of continental philosophy articles
This is a list of articles in continental philosophy.
Achieving Our Country
Anarchism and Friedrich Nietzsche
André Malet (philosopher)
Answering the Question: What Is Enlightenment?
Anti-Semite and Jew
Antonio Caso Andrade
Bad faith (existentialism)
Barbara Herrnstein Smith
Being and Nothingness
Being and Time
Being in itself
Beyond Good and Evil
Cahiers pour l'Analyse
Charles Sanders Peirce
Christopher Norris (critic)
Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments
Contributions to Philosophy (From Enowning)
Course in General Linguistics
Critical discourse analysis
Criticism of postmodernism
Critique of Cynical Reason
Critique of Dialectical Reason
Critique of Pure Reason
Critiques of Slavoj Žižek
Cultural materialism (anthropology)
David Farrell Krell
Duality of structure
Ecce Homo (book)
Edifying Discourses in Diverse Spirits
Epic and Novel
Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick
Exile and the Kingdom
Fear and Trembling
Ferdinand de Saussure
Frederick C. Beiser
French structuralist feminism
Friedrich Nietzsche bibliography
Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Helene von Druskowitz
History of Consciousness
Human, All Too Human
Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose
Influence and reception of Søren Kierkegaard
Influence and reception of Friedrich Nietzsche
International Journal of Žižek Studies
Irrational Man: A Study in Existential Philosophy
Irrealism (the arts)
James E. Faulconer
James M. Edie
Johann Gottlieb Fichte
John D. Caputo
Judge for Yourselves!
Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel
L'existentialisme est un humanisme
Lacan at the Scene
Les jeux sont faits
Les Temps modernes
Lewis White Beck
List of critical theorists
List of postmodern critics
List of works in critical theory
Logos: A Journal of Modern Society and Culture
Louis H. Mackey
Mary Louise Pratt
Metaphor in philosophy
Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science
Metaphysics of Morals
Metaphysics of presence
Michel Foucault bibliography
Néstor García Canclini
Nietzsche's views on women
Nietzsche and free will
Nietzsche and Philosophy
Nietzsche contra Wagner
Objet petit a
Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime
On the Concept of Irony with Continual Reference to Socrates
On the Genealogy of Morality
On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense
Outline of critical theory
Paul de Man
Paul R. Patton
Phenomenology of essences
Phenomenology of Perception
Philosophical Inquiries into the Essence of Human Freedom
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks
Philosophy of dialogue
Philosophy of Existence
Philosophy of Max Stirner
Philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard
Philosophy of technology
Postmodern social construction of nature
Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism
Practice in Christianity
Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics
Relationship between Friedrich Nietzsche and Max Stirner
Richard A. Macksey
Robert C. Solomon
Robert Rowland Smith
Scheler's Stratification of Emotional Life
Schopenhauer's criticism of the proofs of the parallel postulate
Search for a Method
Sketch for a Theory of the Emotions
Slavoj Žižek bibliography
Socialisme ou Barbarie
Søren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche
Stages on Life's Way
Stirrings Still: The International Journal of Existential Literature
Sturm und Drang
Teresa de Lauretis
The Absence of the Book
The Adulterous Woman
The Antichrist (book)
The Art of Being Right
The Birth of the Clinic
The Birth of Tragedy
The Blood of Others
The Book on Adler
The Case of Wagner
The Concept of Anxiety
The Crisis and a Crisis in the Life of an Actress
The Existential Negation Campaign
The False Subtlety of the Four Syllogistic Figures
The Gay Science
The Imaginary (Sartre)
The Myth of Sisyphus
The Only Possible Argument in Support of a Demonstration of the Existence of God
The Origin of the Work of Art
The Pigeon (novella)
The Point of View of My Work as an Author
The Possessed (play)
The Postmodern Condition
The Question Concerning Technology
The Renegade (Camus short story)
The Royal Way
The Seminars of Jacques Lacan
The Sickness Unto Death
The Silent Men
The Society of the Spectacle
The Stranger (Camus novel)
The Sublime Object of Ideology
The Transcendence of the Ego
The Will to Power (manuscript)
Theatre of the Absurd
Theodor W. Adorno
Thoughts on the True Estimation of Living Forces
Thus Spoke Zarathustra
Time and Free Will
Twilight of the Idols
Two Ages: A Literary Review
Universal Natural History and Theory of Heaven
Untimely Meditations (Nietzsche)
Waiting for Godot
What Is Literature?
William McNeill (philosopher)
Wolfgang Fritz Haug
Works of Love
Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles, or moral uprightness. It is a personal choice to hold one's self to consistent standards.
In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one's actions. Integrity can stand in opposition to hypocrisy, in that judging with the standards of integrity involves regarding internal consistency as a virtue, and suggests that parties holding within themselves apparently conflicting values should account for the discrepancy or alter their beliefs. The word integrity evolved from the Latin adjective integer, meaning whole or complete. In this context, integrity is the inner sense of "wholeness" deriving from qualities such as honesty and consistency of character. As such, one may judge that others "have integrity" to the extent that they act according to the values, beliefs and principles they claim to hold.True self and false self
True self (also known as real self, authentic self, original self and vulnerable self) and false self (also known as fake self, idealized self, superficial self and pseudo self) are psychological concepts often used in connection with narcissism.
The concepts were introduced into psychoanalysis in 1960 by Donald Winnicott. Winnicott used true self to describe a sense of self based on spontaneous authentic experience, and a feeling of being alive, having a real self. The false self, by contrast, Winnicott saw as a defensive façade – one which in extreme cases could leave its holders lacking spontaneity and feeling dead and empty, behind a mere appearance of being real.To maintain their self-esteem, and protect their vulnerable true selves, narcissists need to control others' behavior – particularly that of their children, seen as extensions of themselves.