Our “Built-in Bullshit” Detectors


Over the week-end I saw two pieces of contrasting news. Debenhams, a leading retail chain in London, took the decision not to have any photo-shopped images on their floors. Only natural images of models would be allowed. On the other hand, a shop in the economic depressed little town of Enniskillen in Northern Ireland, is having a false façade fitted to con their G8 visitors in to believing that business is thriving. Both reports speak of illusions, the one of dissolving them, the other of creating them.

Don’t you find the older you get the more sensitized your bullshit detector becomes. Hope it doesn’t sound arrogant, but that’s my experience. You’re better able to see through things and are not so easily impressed and taken in. Sadly, it comes with a “negative.” You’re often looked upon as a wet-blanket for not participating in the hype and hoopla and empty ra-ra’s of life. But that’s a small price to pay. I’d rather be closer to the truth than to where ” it’s really happening.”

That said, I suppose a persona has its place in life. It does protect, but to see it as reality itself is to enter the world of illusion, and that’s not good.

Here’s also hoping that the G8 Conference will focus on reality and not illusion.


About Don

I love life. Sometimes it makes sense, other times not. Discerning its underlying patterns and beauty always provides great reward and meaning and is a passion I ineptly follow. I feel deeply attached to nature and love the sea with its distinct moods and colour and find walking along its beaches wonderfully inspiring. Writing, sketching and photography is a sheer joy for me and the blog is one of the places I am able to express these pursuits.
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21 Responses to Our “Built-in Bullshit” Detectors

  1. I’m not so sure our bullshit detector gets better with age or if there’s just so much more bullshit around these days. Think about it. 😉


    • Don says:

      Lol. So, are you saying the more bullshit around the easier it becomes to spot it, Shiela, and that it’s not an age thing. I could possibly live with that. I’m still thinking about it.


  2. Hudson Howl says:

    Agree with your reasoning Don. Though am not so sure about one’s BS detector improving with age. One has to be on the look out for false positives I think. As it could be a case of ‘don’t give a ratz ass’ as is sometimes the case -old and young a like. Obviously you don’t suffer from WGARA though I do think you have a well tuned and refined BS detector; which with experience and time spent reasoning.


  3. I flatter myself that my detector is in perfect working order. Neptune is the planet connected with illusions and it is currently in Pisces, its domicile, which means that collective illusions are very much alive and well. On the other hand Pluto in Capricorn and Saturn in Scorpio are shattering the illusions. I believe we have both of these energies equally strong now and we have to be alert not to fall into any traps.


    • Don says:

      I love what you say about having both those energies and being alert to both. I also find what you say astrologically very interesting. Thank you.


  4. nrhatch says:

    I don’t think it’s just a product of “age” . . . it’s the willingness to really OPEN OUR EYES. To be awake and aware.

    Sometimes that comes with age.
    Sometimes it doesn’t come at all.

    I’m with you . . . I’d rather see the B.S. for what it is even if it means that I can’t drum up enthusiasm for shopping for the next FAD.


    • Don says:

      Thinking about it, I agree with you Nancy. It is all about opening our eyes and being aware and awake and as you say it really has nothing to do with age.


  5. AP says:

    “Don’t you find the older you get the more sensitized your bullshit detector becomes.”

    A great friend of mine would fit this description very well. We used to think it’s cynicism in him, but it’s the process of not tolerating bullshit anymore. Something like “been there, done that, don’t need to hear it anymore”. Sometimes it does come across irreverently towards other people’s opinions, but at least you know where you stand with him.

    Thank you for a thought-provoking post.



    • Don says:

      I really enjoyed what you said about that friend of yours. Makes a lot of sense. You right, sometimes it does look like cynicism. I suppose it could be, but like you say sometimes it’s just not wanting to go down that road because you been there, done that…etc. Really liked what you said. Thank you.


  6. Shweta says:

    Whoa! this nicely penned post tickles my mind again…Thank you Don. Personally, I feel that B.S. detector is already present in people who are even a wee bit aware of their surroundings. So it’s natural for them to react- whether positively or through a critique of pure reasoning. Thank you again to you and to your kind fellow bloggers for sharing such thoughts 🙂
    However, please do help me understand & elaborate what Hudson Howl meant by “false positives”.


    • Don says:

      Thanks Shweta. Yip, as you say, awareness is the thing. Enjoyed your comment. Let’s ask Hudson. Hudson what did you mean by false positives?


  7. katy says:

    I LOVE this post Don, its just so real.,I agree it does come across as being negative when you recognise B.S for what it is. B.S.ers are one of my pet hates and personally I rather be faced with a pile of the real stuff, smell and all than the stink of someone who has the cheek to think they are fooling you.
    By the by, Barry and I spent 3 nights inn Eniskillen in 2005 and it was delightful. What a shame they find a need for sham!!!!!


    • Don says:

      Thanks Katy. I’ve always experienced you as someone whose BS detector is alive, well and very sensitive. That’s what I’ve enjoyed about you.

      Isn’t it wonderful that you and Barry stayed at Eniskillen. Quite a something.


  8. greg says:

    “Be attentive, be intelligent, be reasonable, and be responsible.”
    If one applies these basic maxims to one’s response to anything, including potential b.s. one will be on the right track.


  9. greg says:

    But hey Don if you read “Counterknowledge” by Damian Thompson, he tells how “we surrendered to conspiracy theories, quack medicine, bogus science and fake history” it is literally mind blowing how doff we can be. But usually my gut is the key. And the placebo effect is a proven phenomenon.
    Strange days indeed………..


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