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Bullshit Recognition as Survival Tactic

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How far have we come, speaking of the human race? For those that believe in evolution, the answer is pretty far, and not that very far at all. A simple proof: for those that have closely observed me eating lamb chops, it is hard to miss my animal connections.

Considering that case closed, at least to my satisfaction, I’ll advance a proposition that the ancients had something, presuming they were capable of thought, which we still have but that is not yet fully developed, if it is ever going to become fully developed.

From an unscientific, utilitarian description I’ll call it the bullshit recognition factor (BSRF). Since we’ve advanced considerably from our earliest beginnings (speech), and those after (print), and those most recently (internet porn), if someone was to suggest to the modern person that s/he plunge into an active volcano to placate the gods, our BSRF kicks in to save her/him.

So it’s clear we’ve advanced. We don’t do that. Our BSRF is too strong. It’s clear I’m getting to something so here it is. When someone tells us that Iraq, a country of some 24 million people that has been bombed, defeated, sanctioned, surveilled, and monitored for years, when someone tells us that they’re coming to get us, and not just someone, not just someone like George Bush Jr. but people like Colin Powell, George Tenet, Condoleeza Rice, respected people that are still respected, then somehow our BSRF is subsumed is a porridge of patriotic drivel.

It’s still too weak. And it has to be strong because look what it has to contend with. It’s easier to believe a lie than it is to believe a truth. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because there’s more of them. For every truth, there’s an infinite amount of lies. A truth has a rigorous limit.

Lets test our BSRF against these various inputs:

— the American way of life

— the land of the free and the home of the brave

— beacon of democracy around the world

— freedom isn’t free

— equal opportunity and equal rights

— impartial justice

— your vote matters

— support the troops

— leader of the free world

— the international community

— nation of laws

— Russian threat

— Chinese threat

— North Korean threat

— your call is very important to us

— in order to serve you better

— your privacy is a matter of concern to us

— please listen carefully as our phone menu choices have recently changed

— you are a loyal and valued customer so we don’t have to offer you our best price

OK, so I applied the BSRF in finishing #19 because the list grows tiresome. It could go on and on and we’re really going to have to grow with it to keep up, let alone overcome it. So far we’re playing the role of sucker, as in there’s one born every minute.

At this point, given the development of our BSRF, and it has developed, and given the awesome power of the state coercive apparatus, putting our hands up will not save us. What’s left except running and fighting?

 

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James Rothenberg can be reached at:  jrothenberg@taconic.net

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