Language warning! In this post I will be taking a deeper look at the word bullshit, so if that bothers you then please feel free to seek life elsewhere. Or read it and respond with your thoughts…
In a recent conversation my friend referred to himself as a “bullshitter.” He meant it in a negative way, so this prompted a perspective: what constitutes “bullshit” and how is it an element of our pattern?
Bullshit can be judged as either good or bad; it is either entertaining, or at its worst, manipulative and dishonest. And most of us have been both (alcohol or other substances tend to bring out the best and worst of the ability.)
What occurred to me was that there is a distinction between the good and bad bullshit; the good is our innate self flowing freely (and thereby unfairly labeled as bullshit) while the bad is infectious and expressive of an attempt to cover up real or perceived inadequacy. Both tend to be mindless, but is mindlessness necessarily a bad thing? Let’s take a look…
In terms of our old pattern we have learned to say whatever we have deemed necessary to get through the moment, but it is not a thoughtful exercise. It’s just the old pattern rolling right along and whatever kernels of truth are there get covered over and rendered bullshit by the lies, manipulated facts and obfuscation we feather our bed with. This mindlessness is accrued and has roots throughout our pattern; it is deceitful to its core and we have only a passing awareness of it. The end result is a gnawing sense of falseness about ourselves that over time undermines any sense of self. This is arrogance at its worst.
The other side of the equation is our intuition, our sense of rightness that in the light of the above pattern is rendered impotent. The bullshit has become intertwined with actual understanding – it is in fact infectious! Our innate capabilities are disrespected and never allowed to grow through failure. This came up just today: a coaching client was chosen to direct a play and was entirely capable of doing so. Unfortunately he did not do the work that was required to deeply understand the scope of the responsibility and so his capability was demolished. Phrases like “oh, that’s not a big deal” or “that’s not all that important” are evidence of the lack of respect for the job at hand and also the mindless perspective regarding his limits. The unconscious incompetence overshadows both the conscious and unconscious competence (Burch).
The lesson learned was deeply painful (as they can be) and will only have value when accepted and understood. But when this happens the learning becomes priceless and part of our character.