Augmented authenticity and Kintsugi

This week my Worldschooling took me to Japan, a country that I can’t wait to visit obviously to learn, because this has always been the driver that leads me to travel with my son, even now that I can only do it virtually. I want to learn the art of Kintsugi, an art that led me to this reflection.

Corona Virus Time. Everyone is at home, without a hairdresser, without make-up, without the desire to take off our tracksuit and suddenly even for the most loved Influencers, the hunt for content has begun. When the shape loses importance, the substance remains and those who have something interesting to say continued to do so, those who no longer had brands to advertise through trendy photos suddenly fell into the silence of Dinouart (the abbot who wrote the beautiful book the art  of silence), and thank goodness, I must add.

Augmented reality and augmented authenticity

Words took their revenge on images, as if at a time when a virus questioned everything, there was almost the need to have something true and tangible, and where in the midst of all the fake news, the desire for authenticity made us take a step back. The world we had built up to that moment collapsed and us along with it, and together with a new world we had to re-emerge for who we are, with hair regrowth, with gel-free nails, and without make up. In my opinion, authenticity has taken its revenge and social media have been populated not only with photos of our holidays but also with webinars and tangible messages.

Kintsugi and the beauty of imperfection

We have perhaps discovered that this new authenticity can be our Kintsugi: the Japanese art of putting together the pieces of a broken cup with gold. An ancient art, with a meaning that goes far beyond mere technique, a manual gesture, and that comes precisely from the composition of two words: kin (gold) and tsugi (reunite, repair, put together). Today this art is practiced by many craftsmen in Japan, and it can even take up to a month to repair a cup, but what strikes me is the possible analogy with our authenticity. The blows that life has inflicted on us have become part of us and have certainly left scars, our mistakes have left their mark. Ver well, the Kintsugi would say. Sometimes they even left grooves, even better: they are part of our authenticity and those same scars, those errors, those flaws, make us touch with our hands how precious our life can be, even if imperfect, and it is precisely those cracks that make it our authenticity unique and unrepeatable. If a cup falls and breaks, if it breaks into a thousand pieces, it is not thrown away, it is reassembled: in the same way we could recompose an augmented authenticity in this augmented reality, not an avatar, but ourselves as we are. This will make us, our organization, our unique brand, true and above all credible.

To be honest, we somehow knew even before  that authenticity pays, but perhaps we thought that those who can afford it are only the perfect characters. Kintsugi teaches us that uniqueness and beauty lie in imperfection.

In augmented reality the risk of losing credibility has increased

According to the definition of the Accademia della Crusca, on closer inspection we can understand that on the contrary, not being authentic, all the more so in an augmented reality, means risking being not only exposed, but losing authority and value. Augmented authenticity also implies to rethink the concept of perfection, as the facade of aliases and perfect lives, such as that of green and digital slogans, could collapse and be exposed by the same medium that created that perfection.

The Internet is not a non-place, o rather: for many it has become almost the only place to study, work and find  meet

This does not mean that I am now urging you to publish a photo with the bags under your eyes. When you head to the office, I’m sure you comb your hair and put some make up on, right? Going on social networks is a bit the same thing: you go someplace, you enter a room. The internet is not a non-place as many are led to believe, the internet, like social networks are a place, a room, like the ones you are invited to when you  use Zoom, a room that is just as real, albeit virtual, therefore dress up, put make up if you’d like, and then go, but don’t forget that you are entering an augmented reality with your augmented identity, and an authenticity that requires at this point to be augmented.

Augmented reality, augmented identity and augmented authenticity: a continuous pact

We live in the paradox of a mediated reality, which however needs to find stay authentic, and even the relationships that we build on the internet or we find ourselves having to carry out on the web do not escape the need for trust. The digital world has increased our reality, it has become potentially immense, and as such in this augmented reality, our identity has also increased. Our value and who we are enters this dimension, it is amplified and therefore requires in an amplified way to be true and authentic albeit mediated, it requires a continuous pact between who I am and what others expect of me.

Second life no longer exists: you only have one-life. Fluid between online and offline

On social networks and on the internet we are the same person, we cannot think of becoming someone else, because this could make us victims of our own lies, and the sacrificial lamb would be our credibility. Kintsugi teaches not to mask flaws, but to cover them with gold so that they become something beautiful, since they are unique. Likewise through the internet, we can increase our authenticity and thus our credibility, and the first authenticity pact is with ourselves.