Andrew Potter On The Desire For Authenticity As Religion

From Andrew Potter’s The Authenticity Hoax:

The search for authenticity is about the search for meaning in a world where all the traditional sources — religion and successor ideals such as aristocracy, community, and nationalism — have been dissolved in the acid of science, technology, capitalism, and liberal democracy. We are looking to replace the God concept with something more acceptable in a world that is not just disenchanted, but also socially flattened, cosmopolitan, individualistic, and egalitarian. It is a complicated and difficult search, one that leads people down a multitude of paths that include the worship of the creative and emotive powers of the self; the fetishization of our premodern past and its contemporary incarnation in exotic cultures; the search for increasingly obscure and rarefied forms of consumption and experience; a preference for local forms of community and economic organization; and, most obviously, an almost violent hostility to the perceived shallowness of Western forms of consumption and entertainment.

The quasi-biblical jargon of authenticity, with its language of separation and distance, of lost unity, wholeness, and harmony, is so much a part of our moral shorthand that we don’t always notice that we’ve slipped into what is essentially a religious way of thinking. The ease with which we talk about our alienation from nature, or the alienating nature of work, or the suburbs, or technology, is part of this language as well, hearkening back to our ongoing sense that we are fallen people. [Kindle Location: 209ff.]

As Potter is not a believer, the fact that he could make these connections to religion stood out pretty starkly to me. But maybe others disagree with his assessment. Thoughts?

(FWIW, I did like The Legend of Bagger Vance.)