Friday, October 27, 2023

Bullshit Influences Our Beliefs

One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share. But we tend to take the situation for granted.

People are rather confident of their ability to recognize bullshit and to avoid being taken in by it. So the phenomenon has not aroused much deliberate concern, nor attracted must sustained inquiry.

Since bullshit need not be false, it differs from lies in its misrepresentational intent. The bullshitter may not deceive us, or even intend to do so, either about the facts or about what he takes the facts to be.

What he does necessarily is attempt to deceive us about his enterprise. His only indispensably distinctive characteristic is that in a certain way he misrepresents what he is up to.

Princeton Professor Harry G. Frankfurt wrote the 2005 bestseller, On Bullshit. The professor's small book packs a powerful awareness punch. There is an element of Professor Frankfurt's topic incorporated into our belief structure. And we use it in everyday communications. It is one of those hidden belief birds. Hidden belief birds are the unverifiable thoughts that fly around our belief birdcage.

Bullshit helps create choices, perceptions, and experiences. It’s easy to use, and we do an excellent job of camouflaging it. But it’s not hidden in the inner messages we send to other people. We all subjectively pick up elements of bullshit in conversations.

Bullshit influences our consciousness. It is a vibrational disruptor. We use it to answer questions. Questions we know nothing about—Or may only know a little about. When that strategy appears to work, the routine continues. Then we add more bullshit to those thoughts.

Those disruptive thoughts come from fear. And from the fear, we develop an unhealthy form of accomplishment. Then we internally celebrate our disrupting victory by continuing to add more bullshit to the mix. Bullshit may not be false, as Frankfurt points out. But it is an exaggeration of an impulse or a group of impulses. Bullshit paints an attractive perception where none exists.

So, in one sense, Bullshit is a tool of awareness that helps close a perceived gap in conformity. We try conforming, but our type of consciousness has innate individuality in its perceptual organization. Events rise out of each other in a profusion of creativity. Bullshit can be a main ingredient in that spontaneous expansion of awareness.

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