It is without a doubt better to be an inauthentic Mother Theresa than to be an authentic Anders Breivik. Indeed, being yourself has no intrinsic value whatsoever.
“On the other hand, what does have intrinsic value is fulfilling your obligations to the people around you, with whom you are connected (i.e. doing your duty). Whether you ‘are yourself’ while doing so is essentially meaningless.
“Often the quest to find the self will lead others to being sacrificed along the way. This makes it impossible to fulfil your duties and obligations to others properly. I would argue that it’s better to be in doubt about whether or not you have found yourself.”
Svend Brinkmann is a Danish Professor of Psychology in the Department of Communication and Psychology at Aalborg University, Denmark. He serves as a co-director of the Centre for Qualitative Studies. He is the author of ‘The Joy of Missing Out’ and ‘Stand Firm.’