On the lost art of bullshitting

'I started to live better. I stopped believing there is any type of truth'

There are those who can’t help but be honest and look for facts

There are liars, who stretch or make up facts for personal gain. And there are the bullshitters. Bullshitters don’t care what is a fact and what isn’t. They simply don’t care. They just bombard you with BS for the sake of it.

Of the three, the latter used to be my favourite category.

However, in this post-truth era, bullshitting has lost its glaze.

The exchange with a bullshitter provided me with utterly satisfying insights into the human psyche through reading between the lines of the ephemeral artefact quickly recognizable (by the trained ear) as bullshit. I liked pre-post-truth bullshitters. I loved asking them questions and seeing how their version changed. It’s like surfin’ on a brain. You can see the neurons panicking and poker-facing.

Today, it simply bores me. What a shame.

In the last decade, bullshit found its way to completely disrupt the truth and virtually delete it.

The rise of social networks, the socially networked bullshitters, and the consolidation of bullshitting as part of ruthless political strategies.

When things become established, the fun is over.

When bullshitting was all about bloating about yourself within a personal circle of friends, fine. But when the audience switched to a hell of a lot more people who do not know you on social networks… that’s when you really need to grow your balls.

And bullshitters do not have them. Bullshitting stems from an intimate need for attention to a sense of purposelessness.

Now anyone can express this without risk, by becoming a mouthpiece for some debatable cause. But: no more creativity, improvisation, adaptation. Just an established anti-establishment script. Not the slightest residue of skin in the game. What a pity.

As rogue states and corrupt politicians understood the power of bullshit for their goals, not only facts and truth but the good old bullshit has been disrupted

Troll farms give the line, and bullshitters repeat to simply create confusion: a tide of false, exaggerated, forged claims designed only to counter the ‘official’ narrative, shape perception of events as too complicated to decipher, and push the cognitively vulnerable into accepting simple ‘truths.’ Simple makes sense, becomes true. Seems coherent. When reality becomes too complicated, here is the ‘truth.’

An unbiased pursuit of truth, however, is different from the search for confirmation as an act of self-rescue from the mediocrity of an average life immersed in an unpredictable and hypercomplex (and hyperconnected) reality.

Truth is a struggle. Beauty is a struggle. Life itself is a struggle, however, modernity has done it all to remove the pain from the equation.

I started to live better as I stopped believing there is any type of truth. I believe in facts and in the pursuit of truth as a never-ending journey aided by imagination. For the best approximation of the truth. A journey not through what I know, but through what I don’t. A guarantee of a restless search. Movement keeps you fit and healthy. And, it seems, immune to bullshit.

Featured image: Ema Genatilan / Pexels

Jan Mattassi, Executive Creative Director, Alkemy

Jan Mattassi is Executive Creative Director at independent Italian creative agency Alkemy. With a degree in Industrial Design, he switched to advertising to become a copywriter and make the most out of his passion for languages, thinking and technology. Curious about anything, expert of nothing, he earned over 50 awards for his work. Still not bored of it all, he teaches at the Master in Copywriting at Milan’s Polytechnic University

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