How ya’ going? As per yesterday’s post, I have begun reading for a minimum of one hour per day. I started the commitment off easily with a short essay from Harry G. Frankfurt - a moral philosopher from Princeton University.
‘On Bullshit‘ was a well-written essay. Taking into consideration the year it was published (2005), much of the content can still be drawn from and applied to modern times, especially in relation to our digital social environments. Think ‘shitposting’, or even some forms of ‘trolling’. Some instances of these actions can be akin to digital bullshitting. This is something I may expand on in the future.
Anyway, the term ‘bullshit’ isn’t necessarily that of a lie, but more the outright avoidance of all facts, rather than a precise and deliberate action. Why do we see it so much? Well, it may be a result of our democratic systems driving each citizen to have an opinion on topics outside of their knowledge base.
Whether on demand by others or voluntarily, we find ourselves in social situations that are beyond our calibre of expertise. The combat to such is to bullshit your way through. Because it is so prevalent, we tend to dismiss it with annoyance, rather than the personal attack and anger of a lie.
The term bullshit is different to that of ‘humbug’ but like that of ‘hot air’… In that nothing of true essence or value is provided. We see it time and time again in public relations, politics and media. As objectivity is near an impossible virtue to obtain, bullshit is inevitably part of our lives.
Bullshit isn’t always paired with being pretentious but the two are also not mutually exclusive. Bullshit is more like bluffing than outright lying, and one can be quite good at this. Hence the term, ‘bullshit artist’.
I just finished watching an interview with James Poulos on his new book ‘Human, Forever’. He speaks briefly on the cyborg-like lifestyles we have fallen into as digitalization has advanced. For example, our smartphones are now inseparable from us, and our digital persona is growing more prevalent in importance and priority. Such novel lifestyles have seemingly decoupled us from more pure forms of what it is to be human.
Now, Poulos isn’t anti-tech. Far from it, as he just published his book on bitcoin. However, he does believe humanity is facing a spiritual war in the digital world, and that we must harness the technological tools for the benefit of humanity, not the destruction of it.
Additionally, such technological advancements must be placed in the hands of the wider population - not in those seeking to control through nefarious means. We have seen this controlled hijacking of such technology by institutional/banking players strangling the use cases of bitcoin.
Of course, Poulos goes into much more succinct detail! I recommend watching the interview. I’m yet to read his new release. Here is the link to his early release/NFT on Canonic.
Anyway, still got some application testing and board meeting to get through tonight! Hope you are well and enjoying the start of the week.
Here is a tune from La Femme: