Saturday, May 19, 2012

Watch who is into the act!

Did you notice that we have plenty of it and yet it keeps coming! Since our attitude towards it is more benign, the television and the internet keeps on serving it endlessly. Without doubt, bullshit has become an essential component of modern culture. Bullshit, according to moral philosopher Harry Frankfurt, is defined as non-sense or some foolish exaggerated talk. Play your memory back by couple of hours or if possible by a few days and you realize how much of it you have voluntarily savored in recent times. 

In the absence of it being clearly defined, we tend to take it for granted although many among us will vouch that 'they have been able to recognize bullshit'. In reality, however, much before its existence gets realized it is already upon us. With philosophical acuity, Frankfurt argues that 'we have no clear understanding of what bullshit is, why there is so much of it, or what functions it serves'. 

From outrageous political debates to dubious cine awards, bullshit is relentlessly served through the day. If this isn't enough, the media-market nexus almost always chooses a glib ignoramus over an expert to further the concept of bullshit. These bullshitters seek to convey a certain impression of themselves without being concerned about whether anything at all is true. By virtue of serving bullshit 24x7,  some of the newspapers and television channels could be respectfully re-named Bullshit Times and Bullshit TV in that order. 

The contemporary proliferation of bullshit may have deeper sources, which not only restrict any reliable access to an objective reality but do reject the possibility of knowing how things truly are. Though most people pretend confidence in their ability to recognize bullshit, they lack collective courage to unmask the bullshitters. No wonder, bullshitters are gaining increased social recognition as a species. Unless, bullshit is put to sustained inquiry it is bound to grow in a society that cares less-and-less about more-and-more. 

Entertaining and outrageous at the same time, this powerful small book makes a big bold statement: bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are....Link    

On Bullshit 
by Harry G. Frankfurt 
Princeton University Press, Oxford 
63 pages, US$ 9.95.

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