maio 14, 2023

Sobre a Treta

"On Bullshit" (Sobre a Treta) é um pequeno livro de Harry G. Frankfurt de 2005 baseado num ensaio de 1986. Em 1986 o presidente dos EUA era Ronald Reagan, em 2005 era George W. Bush, eu ouvi falar do livro pela primeira vez em 2018, quando Trump era presidente dos EUA. Este enquadramento serve para perceber que o livro se foca no estudo da comunicação pública, nomeadamente de figuras com autoridade, apesar de não serem mencionadas no livro.

"Why is there so much bullshit? (...) There is more communication of all kinds in our time than ever before (...) Bullshit is unavoidable whenever circumstances require someone to talk without knowing what he is talking about. Thus the production of bullshit is stimulated whenever a person’s obligations or opportunities to speak about some topic are more excessive than his knowledge of the facts that are relevant to that topic."

Frankfurt procura assim racionalizar e teorizar o modo de comunicar assente na treta, apresentando-o como variação da mentira, segundo Frankfurt bastante mais perniciosa:

“Someone who lies and someone who tells the truth are playing on opposite sides, so to speak, in the same game. Each responds to the facts as he understands them, although the response of the one is guided by the authority of the truth, while the response of the other defies that authority and refuses to meet its demands. The bullshitter ignores these demands altogether. He does not reject the authority of the truth, as the liar does, and oppose himself to it. He pays no attention to it at all. By virtue of this, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.”

Frankfurt qualifica a mentira como uma racionalização da realidade, um trabalho intelectual, enquanto a treta se define a partir da criatividade e invenção como um trabalho artístico. Diria, seguindo este pressuposto, que a diferença contrasta o retórico e o entertainer.

“Telling a lie is an act with a sharp focus. It is designed to insert a particular falsehood at a particular point in a set or system of beliefs, in order to have that point occupied by the truth. This requires a degree of craftsmanship, in which the teller of the lie submits to objective constraints imposed by what he takes to be the truth. The liar is inescapably concerned with truth-values. In order to invent a lie at all, he must think he knows what is true. And in order to invent an effective lie, he must design his falsehood under the guidance of that truth.

On the other hand, a person who takes to bullshit his way through has much more freedom. His focus is panoramic rather than particular. He does not limit himself to inserting a certain falsehood at a specific point, and thus he is not constrained by the truths surrounding that point or intersecting it. He is prepared, so far as is required, to fake the context as well. This freedom from the constraints to which the liar must submit does not necessarily mean, of course, that his task is easier than the task of the liar. But the mode of creativity upon which it relies is less analytical and less deliberative than that which is mobilized in lying. It is more expansive and independent, with more spacious opportunities for improvisation, color and imaginative play. This is less a matter of craft than of art. Hence the familiar notion of the 'bullshit artist'.”

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