Two Sides of the Same Coin

My father taught me an expression while working on putting together some Ikea furniture in college: faen, a Norwegian curse word, loosely translate by him to mean “bullshit”. We riffed that “It’s all faen”, with the double meaning of “it’s all fine” and it’s all bullshit. Two sides of the same coin, I believe.

I’ve been assessing illusion lately and how illusion can work for and against us. How a life built on bullshit can also be a life that is just fine, thank you very much. There’s a push towards leading an authentic life, a life of truth. I’m beginning to question the veracity of such a life as we use our illusions to create that sense of an authentic experience. Is an experience any less valuable for being bullshit? Depends on the nature of the experience and the quality of the bullshit.

Illusion, by gandhiji40, on flickr.

My grandfather on my mother’s side used to say that “you slide farther on bullshit than you do on sandpaper.” Bullshit is a good social lubricant and it though ultimately messy, a useful way to get our wants (but not our needs) met. There is a balance to be had between sandpaper (radical honesty) and bullshit (social lubricant) and perhaps that’s where the authentic life resides, in the middle of the pendulum between the two. Between it being all fine and all faen.

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