Harry G. Frankfurt, a Princeton philosophy professor, wrote a cool little book entitled "On Bullshit" a few years ago. In it he analyzes the difference between lying, and bullshitting. A liar cares about the truth, and doesn't want you to know the truth. A bullshitter, on the other hand, isn't really concerned with the truth. A bullshitter will say whatever is necessary, lies, truth, half-truth, whatever... because what the bullshitter is really hiding is their real agenda. Frankfurt felt this was an important distinction to make because there is so much bullshit in our society, in the media and in politics for example.

Today I was sitting in a coffee shop, pondering Zen stuff, and I realized that the biggest bullshitter of all is what we normally call our "self". That voice in our head that tells us we're a loser, or a champion, or that we're bored, or angry. Do you think if you were more attractive you'd be happy? Bullshit. Maybe if you find that right person they will "complete" you and make you feel secure? Bullshit! Wait, maybe if you meditate daily you will become enlightened and THEN you will be happy. Heaps of bullshit.

The hidden agenda of the self is simply to distract you from the only thing that matters: the here and the now. The self doesn't care what it tells you, whether it keeps you focused on what a moron you are, or whether you read some self-help book and tell yourself that you're the smartest person this side of the Atlantic all day long. Either one works for the self, because you're not paying attention to who and what you really are, right now.

"When we experience ourselves as we are, then out of that death of the ego, out of that withering, the flower blooms." (Everyday Zen, by Charlotte Joko Beck)


nick said...

I am not sure if I agree with the distinction between a lie and bullshit, however I agree with you, that the voice inside or head, or whatever it is, keeps us from being happy in the present moment, the way we are

Alice said...

Heck, I thought it was a good thing that I was a bad liar. Now I need to examine what kind of bullshitter I am. Something to think about!

Hey, thanks for blogrolling my bullshit blog. I really like your work, and will return the kindness.

Thank You.

Anonymous said...

lol, "my bullshit blog"... that makes me smile.