Fake it til you make it. Clive's diagnosis is spot on! It's bullshit. And it infuriates me how many people from my generation live by it ó more so, how well it works for them ó and most of all, the way it denigrates anything bonafide. Maybe it's not just my generation? I am 32.
I also agree with what Brian said about yes-men.
Bullshitters have always been with us only now they have a bigger stage.
Inferiority complexes used to abound but now narcissism seem to be more prevalent. Perhaps its the same affliction with a different response to stimuli.
But there is a definite upswing on " I gotta get mine".
I think the unhappiness gene that comes with advertized unlimited possibility that's rampant in the US has caught on in other countries. A dissatisfaction with what one has and needs more, leads to trampling over other people to get it.
My German friend told me that "experts" in Germany are required to have a certain depth in the subject, a standard which seems to be a lot lower in the US.
I don't think it's all bullshit. There's also a factor of where you're coming from and what your intention is that affects how broad your understanding is (or what kind of understanding you have).
My parents owned a bar when I was a kid. It was attached to the house. That's where I grew up and lived until I went away to school.
In that environment, bullshitting was the normal way of life but it was more than just standing up and making wild unfounded statements. There is a kind of feedback loop that goes on. One person makes a statement. The next guy either agrees or refutes. If the statement stands up to scrutiny, the person succeeds. If not, he goes to the back of the pack. The cycle repeats ad infinitum until the beer money runs out or until closing time, whichever comes first.
There is not a rule book, per se, but a set of expectations. If a person makes a statement, he should expect the next guy to scrutinize him. That's the way it works. There should be no bad feelings if somebody refutes a claim or statement. Neither should the other person who responds do it as a put-down. It is simply a style of group conversation.
Having grown up in that kind of environment, I tend to speak that way, naturally. Do I think I am always right? No. Do I always have the answer. Of course not. However, I tend to speak in an assertive manner. I often try to qualify by saying things like "The way I understand...," or "According to my experience..." I don't mind when somebody else replies and says they think I'm wrong but they shouldn't get offended when I defend my position. As long as it doesn't resort to name calling or put-downs, I'm rarely bothered by it.
It's been more than 25 years since I lived in that place but that style of conversation is still natural to me.
I don't think there are more bullshitters in the world, today, than when I grew up in that saloon. I think that there are more people who get upset when somebody else stands up and counters their argument. I think that the internet has a lot to do with this phenomenon. Removing the face-to-face communication that happens in a bar, pub or saloon diminishes our interpersonal skills.
So, I propose that the solution is for more people to go down to their local tavern, quaff a few pints, raise their glass and say out loud for all to hear, "The world is full of bullshitters!"
Might be slightly off topic, but I am of the belief that young people (that's under 30) have lost or are starting to lose the art of person to person conversation. It would seem that even if it was complete bull$hit, I would be a bit happy to at least see someone from that generation able to speak to someone MAKING FULL EYE CONTACT and without holding a bloody cell phone in the other hand! Keep art alive. That includes speech. Typing is not an art form (unless you are typing art. Then it is...)
Those who think they know everything get in the way of those of us who know we know everything!