What is Authentic Inquiry?

Updated: Dec 2, 2020



The Commitment to Adapt our Self to What We Learn


In an Authentic Inquiry, we enter into the process with a commitment to adapt our life to what we discover from an actual inquiry. This process is about discovering something about life from an inquiry.  The question is what makes this authentic?


It seems that to be authentic, in an inquiry, one must be “all in.” The state of authentic inquiry requires the full self-deployment of what we discover.  The emerging realizations are thus generative and  "use us" for their fulfillment.


The Authenticity of Our Inner Life


Authentic Inquiry is not a scientific method, nor third person observation that validates what we already know.  Rather it seems, that being "all-in" is the first-person experience. This is a subjective and virtual personal experience. It occurs in our inner life.  However, it can also happen through conversations with others if we engage in them as an observer-observing. If we are seeing the process, then we are not simply adapting automatically to the influence of others, but rather to what we learn from seeing.


The Value of First Person Observation


A non-scientific first-person approach to transformation is neither right nor wrong. There is much that science cannot observe in its method. We can understand or explain the world through empirical validation. However, in our inner life, this is not possible. The subjective is elusive to empirical validation. It can only be observed.  In science, first-person accounts are disregarded, because it does not fit the method.  There no such disregard for 2nd person observation. In fact, groupthink is second person reasoning run wild, where evidence is discarded when it contradicts consensus. With Authentic Inquiry, there is no peer review.  You must choose based on the first-person experience you have.


Authentic Inquiry as Assessment


The notion of authenticity itself is a matter of interpretation.  It is subjective in the first-person experience, and also in the automatic and reactive listening of another person about forming opinions about what we might be doing or saying. The authenticity might be more related to the sincerity of our inquiry itself.  If a group of people is working together in an authentic inquiry, then then we might ask if the participants as a group are really “all in”? It might be that there is only the possibility of authentic inquiry for individuals, and not for groups, other than by virtue of how its members individually engage.


Integrity and Authentic Inquiry


Lastly, If we search into the nature of something, does authenticity require its expression? So for example, does our interest in the nature of ethical conduct, require the actual practice of ethical conduct in order to be authentic?  But on the other hand, if we explore the nature of pure evil, are we inauthentic if we do not choose to embody pure evil as a first-person experience?   There clearly is a paradoxical duality here.  Perhaps, the willingness to be transformed in the living of life requires an essential assessment of results we find? A definition of integrity would presume that if there is a resulting alignment of Self with the aims of the inquiry.


© Copyright 2014 Robert Fertman, All Rights Reserved

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