A belief must be held with deep conviction and it must have some relevance to action, that is, to what the believer does or how he behaves.
You can always spot someone who has no interest in considering an issue on the merits. No matter what the context, bullshitters have a bond in how they cling to the same patterns in issuing the patently absurd. As if using a Response Form template governed by the International Bunk Speak Organization (IBSO), he or she just spews out formulaic nonsense to fill in the blanks.
Not an ounce of effort will be exerted in a quest for the truth — and in so doing the accuracy in one’s perception will be butchered beyond belief.
Whatever energy is applied will be in the form of incoherent claims. The party in question will whitewash any actions on their part as they paint the accuser as the problem. Far and away, the most common pattern of all offenders is that they are hell-bent on heading down the path of least resistance.
Much to our detriment we have fashioned a society in which “I say tomayto, you say tomahto” is all the authority required to have a “point of view” — illustrated by the all-too-common inanity below:
Well as I told you when you were up here I pretty much disagree with you in all of your thoughts on President Bush and the war but that’s the beauty of it we can disagree!
Clearly you think my line of thinking is incorrect and I think yours is wrong also so I would have to say this is one of the spots where agreeing to disagree is appropriate. I know you don’t believe in that but I’m sure it’s safe to say that you aren’t going to change your mind on the President and neither am I, BUT THAT IS Ok!
By that standard we could “agree to disagree” about the existence of gravity.
The minimum standard for a “line of thinking” is that . . . you actually do some thinking
I was curious to see if I could find a good definition of “line of thinking” and I think audioenglish.org does a nice job:
The process of using your mind to consider something carefully.
But that would necessitate another old-fashioned idea of mine: That in debating our views we should have some inkling of understanding of what we are talking about — and if not, at least have a modicum of curiosity to listen and learn from those who do.
We’re not talkin’ tax policy here. What it takes to separate uranium isotopes doesn’t care who’s president
I’ve spent a lifetime with the willingness to be wrong — showing genuine respect for all forms of intelligence in order to foster my own. I can’t say that the process has always been pretty, but Einstein himself said, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”
Unfortunately, I have seen far more of the exact opposite attitude, which is summed up in the blurb for philosopher Harry G. Frankfurt’s book On Bullshit:
[B]ullshitters seek to convey a certain impression of themselves without being concerned about whether anything at all is true. They quietly change the rules governing their end of the conversation so that claims about truth and falsity are irrelevant.
The prime-directive ploy of the apologist is to keep everything at the absolute highest level:
There’s a mutual responsibility in communication — and that “deal” is to hold up your end of the bargain (and it’s in your interests to do so). After all, you want others to consider your concerns — so shouldn’t you do the same in return? Wouldn’t some good ol’ give-and-take be refreshing for a change?
Wouldn’t it be cool if we sharpened each other’s minds instead of dulling them?
From where I sit, we owe it to all those who came before us — who had to fight in ways we’ll never have to. They handed us so much to build on — and this is how we honor their sacrifice:
- Rather than read and digest, people scan and dismiss — frantically seeking any fragment they can frame in their favor.
- Sensible arguments are snubbed with meaningless replies that are utterly absent of original thought — mercilessly torturing reason with trite talking points.
- Even against overwhelming evidence served on a silver platter, they will swat it away in disdain without so much as glancing at the goods.
- Any sound bite that can be manipulated to their liking will be repeated in endless cycles of certitude.
- Always at the ready — they’ll gleefully “inform” you with 60 seconds of “research” — compiled by copying & pasting material disseminated by the equally uninformed.
- They’ll look away from a mountain of evidence against their side — while nitpicking over pebbles to pounce on the other.
- Their civility is a charade in their immovable contempt for correction — playing childish games that fit a formula designed to infuriate you (at which point they’ll pull the innocence card and haughtily condemn your tone).
- They want a presence without having to exert any effort to legitimately participate
- They peddle their opinions while shirking any responsibility to validate them
- They launch volleys of vitriol as fireworks for freedom
- They see themselves as conveyors of truth while dripping in duplicity
- They want respect without having to earn it
- Their hypocrisy knows no bounds