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Dealing With Bullsh*t: Internally, Socially, and Societally
June 26, 2021 at 11:00 pm - 2:00 am SMT
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In his latest Interintellect Salon, Visakan Veerasamy will discuss bullsh*t. Literally.
Life would be relatively simple if we only had to deal with truths and falsehoods. But in reality, effectively everything is incorrect to some degree of error – and worse, lots of people are indifferent to the truthfulness of a thing. Lots of people are only concerned with the truthiness of things – a thing only needs to seem to be true enough. And we all likely do this to varying degrees, because we have limited time and energy.
As Alberto Brandolino put it, “The amount of energy necessary to refute bullsh*t is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it.” It’s cheaper to produce bullsh*t than to refute it, therefore we are all swimming in bullsh*t all the time – from politicians, from teachers, from bosses, colleagues, even friends, and yes, most insidiously, even ourselves.
Richard Feynman: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.”
Stephen Pressfield, The War Of Art: “We don’t tell ourselves, “I’m never going to write my symphony.” Instead we say, “I am going to write my symphony; I’m just going to start tomorrow.”
In this Salon, let’s ask and explore:
- What are the most egregious forms of bullsh*t you’ve dealt with in your life?
- How did you recognize it, and how did you deal with it?
- What are some ways in which you’ve bullsh*tted yourself, and others, intentionally or otherwise?
- How do we navigate the line between manipulative, odious bullsh*t and more playful, creative, artful expression? Is it simply a matter of context and consequence?
- Is it true that we’re more tolerant of bullsh*t than lies? Why is this the case?
- Do we pay a social cost for being “too intolerant” of bullsh*t?
- Frankfurt’s 1986 essay, On Bullsh*t (~7,800 words)
- 11 minute interview with Frankfurt, on bullsh*t
- David Deutsch on truth, and good explanations [10:21]
- Bring along your own favorite examples of BS from your own experience. and let’s discuss!
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