Wednesday, August 12, 2015

On Bullshit by Harry G. Frankfurt

Isabel very kindly censored the title of this book but Ullshit is just not as interesting a title as On Bullshit, is it? So, the post is not censored, although you have to appreciate the pretty view.

On Bullshit by Harry G. Frankfurt is a tiny book (undersized and only 67 pages long) that explores the way we deceive other people and, sometimes in the process, ourselves.

My husband handed me his copy of On Bullshit when I was having a particularly frustrating day. Friends who are aligned with the political party I consider to be the more deceptive of the two were repeating misinformation and they absolutely, utterly believed everything they were saying, even though a few quick searches online easily proved all of that information false. I said, "I don't understand how they can fall for the spin," and my husband said, "Here, read this. It'll explain everything."

Sure enough, there is one particularly telling passage that fit the concept of baloney in politics. Unfortunately, it was about 8 - 10 pages' worth and you need to read the entire passage in order to grasp the concept of how even those who are doing the "bullshitting" are able to convince themselves that they are telling the truth. So, I'm not going to pull a quote out of this particular book. But, I do think it's worth reading if you're feeling overwhelmed by the fact that people around you are not only spouting nonsense but believe what they're saying.

Recommended with a note of caution - I found this particular book very helpful during a day of angst but it should be noted that if there's a large word available, Frankfurt has found it. So, the book is a little on the ponderous side. As I was reading, I realized it's a book that you need to read repeatedly in order to fully understand it. But, I enjoyed it and it eased my mind a bit. And, then I deactivated my Facebook account a few weeks later, anyway, because it really doesn't help knowing why people believe the bullshit. It still gets on your nerves.

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  1. I love the picture. Who knew Isabel felt so strongly about censorship? ;) This book sounds interesting for sure.

    1. LOL Isabel has a strong morality and is all about the love. She is so sweet . . . unless she doesn't like you (poor Kiddo just can't convince her of his love for kitties). It's a difficult read but a good one. I will probably reread it several times.

  2. Election time is my least favorite time to be on Facebook. If I didn't have family I wouldn't be in touch with without Facebook (who I want to stay in touch with), I would deactivate my account too. I know though those political posts come even outside of election time--and they tend to be annoying. I don't care what side a person is on--there's bullshit on all of them.

    I love the picture. :-)

    1. Yep, same here on both counts. I have friends and family I'm only in touch with on Facebook or I'd leave it completely. And, I do miss them, right now. I'm guilty of posting political articles, myself. Unfortunately, the friends driving me crazy were adding comments like, "People in the opposing party just don't get it," or other things that were, though not to me personally, really offensive. I think it's important not to get personal because, like religion, politics involves more than one belief system; it's not just about factual accuracies and inaccuracies. Having said that, if and when I go back to FB, I will remove myself from all the political groups I was following (and hide the few people who were getting out of hand) because the constant barrage -- even from groups I deliberately followed -- was unbearable. Yes, absolutely, there's bullshit on both sides.


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