To Hell with an Aussie Halloween

Inspired by the growing popularity of Halloween in Australia, my latest article at MercatorNet questions the authenticity of…well, everything, including authenticity.

On the one hand, Halloween in Australia is profoundly meaningless, deeply inauthentic, and the kind of culturally vapid, commercially-driven embrace of superficial Americana that our own cultural elites always warned of.

On the other hand, an increasing number of Australians feel like doing it. It’s an authentic expression of their wishes and enjoyment. And what could be more authentically Australian than people doing what they want, because they enjoy it?

https://www.mercatornet.com/features/view/halloween-and-other-nightmares

OCEAN follow-up: disorganised and disagreeable

I did an online test for the Big 5 personality traits just now, and the results were interesting:

As expected, I’m both extremely Introverted and extremely Neurotic.

In my previous post I suggested that I might be high in Conscientiousness and Agreeableness, but I also noted that these qualities felt forced and unnatural.

I subsequently read the actual criteria for the two traits, and concluded that I’m practicing “pseudo-” Conscientiousness and Agreeableness, attempting to mimic traits I don’t actually possess.

In other words, I’m not naturally an organised, disciplined, tidy person, but I put pressure on myself to be organised and disciplined where it counts.

The results of the online test corroborate my suspicions.

Openness to new experiences was surprisingly high, but that could be because the trait is manifested differently between introverts and extroverts. An extrovert might be open to “new experiences”, but an introvert can be open to “new ideas”, ways of thinking and seeing the world.

So I think I’m on the right track: trying too hard to be conscientious and agreeable in certain circumstances is actually a manifestation of neuroticism, and exacerbates those negative emotions.

Being less agreeable and more disorganised might not change my other traits, but it would be more authentic, and, if I’m right, authenticity could be the key to ameliorating neuroticism.

Is Bruce Jenner now a woman?

Most of my regular audience at MercatorNet would have no difficulty answering such a question, so instead of writing something about essentialism and the possible philosophical intricacies of gender, I wrote the following:

If Augustine was objective enough to acknowledge the positive side of pagan Rome, perhaps we should do the same with the transgender movement and indeed to the associated identity issues of the wider LGBT movement. It is important for those of us with profound philosophical, ethical, and religious reservations to recognise that the LGBT narrative nonetheless instantiates or at least mirrors certain virtues, in particular a quality often referred to as “authenticity” in contemporary language and which could perhaps be interpreted as a variation on the virtue of honesty.  The alternative is to fail to understand why these narratives hold such sway among the general public.