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. Most 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 attempt to deceive us about is his enterprise. His only indispensably distinctive characteristic is that in a certain way he misrepresents what he is up to.
Harry G. Frankfurt, Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Princeton University, wrote the 2005 bestseller, On Bullshit. Frankfurt’s small book packs a powerful awareness punch. There is an element of bullshit incorporated into our truth belief structure, and we use it in everyday communications. It’s one of those hidden belief birds that fly around our belief birdcage. Bullshit helps create our perceptions and experiences. It’s easy to use, and we do an excellent job of camouflaging it, but it’s not hidden in the messages we send to other people. We all pick up bullshit vibrations quickly.
Bullshit remains in our consciousness. We use it to answer questions that we know nothing about, or may only know a little about. That routine continues, and we add more bullshit to those thoughts, which comes from other thoughts, and we develop a healthy form of skepticism. We are skeptical of our physical ego and transfer that skepticism to others and label them. Others may accept that skeptical transfer, or they may send it back in the form of an argument. Skeptical messages vibrate back to us in the form of verbal or non-verbal conflicts. Arguments affect our core beliefs in some way. Bullshit is energy that expresses itself in a cycle that continues to multiply in a variety of forms. 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.
We all are skeptical to a certain degree. We tend not to believe answers from questions that we ask each other, because there is an element of bullshit in those answers. Beliefs as well as truths are flexible, so we pick fragments of truth out of an answer, and believe those fragments, while other elements of the answer are discounted and ignored, but all answers are filed in our body consciousness.
So in one sense, bullshit is really a tool of awareness that helps close a perceived gap in conformity. We want to conform even though consciousness is innately individual in its perceptual organization. Events are not built one upon the other. They are built out of each other in a profusion of creativity, and bullshit can be a main ingredient in that spontaneous expansion. The objective consciousness chooses which aspects of truth to experience as well as how to experience them, and those aspects become aware objective events.
Consciousness mixes and merges in an open-ended exploration of possibilities, and from that action private as well as mass events emerge as truths to experience. These events are packaged in time sequences and only some of them manifest physically. The events that do manifest are earth-toned conscious events filled with emotional, psychic, and psychological qualities. They are accepted or repealed by our beliefs, loves, intents, and purposes. Bullshit is woven in our truth belief structure so it plays a pivotal role in identifying the nature of our awareness as well as our quest to conform. The events that manifest from our awareness and conformity become life experiences.