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Blah,blah,blah or getting real

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 10 months ago

No more time for blah, blah, blah

It's time to get real



Blah, blah, blah is known by other names.

The most commonly used word to describe the same activity is bullshit.


Important philosophical work has been done on the word - bullshit. Harry G. Frankfurt, Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Princeton University has written an interesting analysis in On Bullshit.

From the description at Princetion University Press,

"...bullshitters seek to convey a certain impression of themselves without being concerned about whether anything at all is true. They quietly change the rules governing their end of the conversation so that claims about truth and falsity are irrelevant. Frankfurt concludes that although bullshit can take many innocent forms, excessive indulgence in it can eventually undermine the practitioner's capacity to tell the truth in a way that lying does not. Liars at least acknowledge that it matters what is true. By virtue of this, Frankfurt writes, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are."


From a Communication Ecology point of view, bullshit is an activity that is not a personal characteristic of an individual. Rather it is an activity that is a rational response to an actor's space/time, activity space, with activated time and information horizons.


Everyone has a capacity for blah,blah, blah. We all will do it, when it is "rational" to do it, in the interest of minimizing their proximate stress. A system that encourages blah, blah, blah results in the emergence of a blah, blah, blah discussion. A blah, blah, blah conversation makes it easier for people to act stupid. A real conversation makes it easier for people to act smart. When smart people are incented to do stupid things, they usually do. And civil society squanders its ability to create wealth in the form of creating new knowledge. (Also described as a part of social capital).


When framed this way, it might suggest strategies to move space/time, activity space from more one that incents blah, blah, blah to one that incents getting real.


Activity space/times that are visible to the effects of their output decisions have less incentive for blah, blah, blah. These include, but are not limited to, clinical practioners in medicine, classroom teachers - at any level of education, small business people, most working and poor people any where in the world.


Activity space/times where the earned rewards of activity are primarily symbolic have a more difficult situation. They have mediated connections to observable events in the real world. It can be said that they often live in a blah, blah, blah communication ecology. These space/times can include, but are not limited to, politicians, knowledge workers that have ill defined job descriptions or indicators of success, students in many educational space/times and many of those that work in formal ogranizations where rewards are controlled by politics, instead of performance.


The engine of change may be the technological infrastructure that is making it easier and easier to connect individual decisions to observable events, commonly referred to as the drive to transparency.


In business and to some extent in government, information technology continues to make it possible that decisions by symbolic analysts - knowledge workers - have effects that can be measured faster and faster. In some financial markets outputs are immediately visible.


As this functionality continues it's drive through the society, a possible consequence is that public and instrumental conversation will get real... and thus lead to an increase in the wisdom and knowledge of civil society and eventually the political systems that are rooted in civil societies.


Some blah blah blah


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