The Best Quote on Bullshit

Bullshit is not the same thing as a lie. To lie, you need to have some respect for the truth. When you lie, you are trying to cover something up. Liars know they might be found out. They know that there is a truth, and that they are on the wrong side of it. Bullshit is another matter altogether. According to the Princeton philosopher Harry Frankfurt, the bullshitter has ‘a lack of connection or concern for the truth’ and a remarkable ‘indifference to how things really are’. Bullshitters do not lie. They don’t try to cover up the gap between what they are saying and how things really are. Bullshitters are indifferent to how things really are. They don’t care about whether their claims conflict with reality. Bullshitters are not concerned that their grand pronouncements might be illogical, unintelligible and downright baffling. All they care about is whether people will listen. While liars can go to elaborate lengths to cover up, bullshitters unashamedly put it out there for everyone to see. And what’s more, bullshitters consider their handiwork to be an art form. Like any good artist, they long for an appreciative audience. The more accomplished bullshit artists expect applause, awards and significant recompense for their masterpieces.

—André Spicer, Business Bullshit

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