The truth about bullshit.
Posted by Mitch on 13th January 2017
There’s a difference between a liar and a bullshitter.
A liar has at least a basic regard for the truth insomuch as he wants to conceal it, whereas a bullshitter doesn’t care what the truth is.
The bullshitter only cares about perpetuating something that will help get what he wants and that fits with either his political or economic agenda.
Bullshit is more insidious than lies.
I recently saw a webpage from someone claiming to be an expert in recruitment marketing where they were claiming their service will “double your income and double your time off”.
If you’re an experienced or intelligent recruiter, you’ll instantly recognise this as bullshit because you know that recruitment is a tough business that can only be partially mastered through hard work and having some talent in, or knowledge of, how hiring actually works.
And if you’re an experienced or intelligent recruiter, you’ll have already worked out there are no easy buttons in real recruitment.
Bullshit like “double your income and double your time off” is predominately aimed at the desperate and the stupid. I suspect that particular recruitment marketing douchebag believes that the desperate and the stupid are a sizeable demographic of the recruitment population.
Reading it made me remember my first recruitment boss telling me that I had to write job ads for salespeople in a way that appealed to their greed and their laziness.
So I wrote ads that emphasised jobs that had big salaries or fancy company cars. I suggested that some of these jobs had client bases that regularly spent money and that required very little prospecting or real selling. Nearly all of it was bullshit.
I couldn’t stomach this for long and was one of the reasons why I only spent the first 4 years of my 26 year recruitment career working for agencies.
The video above shows an interview with Princeton philosophy professor Harry G. Frankfurt, who wrote what is today considered the definitive text on this subject – conveniently titled ‘On Bullshit’. It costs around a fiver on Kindle and is only 67 pages long.
It is perhaps more relevant today than when he first wrote an essay on the subject in 1986 before it became a book in 2005.
Be careful, it’s a jungle out there.
A jungle of bullshit.