The most important sense of “bullshit”

I regard the use of the word “bullshit” as a ubiquitous term of rejection or condemnation.   And I regard the most important type of rejection, the rejection of the trivial and irrelevant — that which is not important or valuable.   I know that what is valuable or important is relative to what one is trying to achieve.  But to achieve anything, one has to be alive — and hopefully, healthy.  In other words, the necessary condition of doing anything is being alive.   So, even if you are willing to sacrifice your life for some cause such as the well being of your loved ones or your country, you must be alive.   So, as I see it, sustaining your life (for whatever cause), is most important, at least as a precondition for anything else.   And to talk of what is necessary for life is to talk about human needs (as contrasted with desires).

What everyone needs is air, water, food, shelter and anything which will maintain necessary body temperatures (e.g., clothes, fire, air conditioning).   We who live in cities, in houses, condominiums, or apartments know that necessities are bought with money, and so we invariably will think of the necessity of a job to get an income.  But is it true that a job is necessary?  And if you lose your job or can’t find one, you picture yourself in the plight of the homeless.  You imagine getting some kind of welfare, soup kitchen, begging, scrounging through garbage, and sleeping in some tunnel or make-shift shelter.

But for millennia,  people have lived off the land — either as hunter/gatherers or as farmers and herders.  And many still do.  So, the alternative to working for a wage is to live off the land.  And to do so one must have free access to land on which to hunt, fish, gather, farm or herd.  Does anyone have such free, legal access to land?

Thomas Skidmore, The Rights of Man to Property! Being a proposition to make it equal among the adults of the present generation: and to provide for its equal transmission to every individual of each succeeding generation, on arriving at the age of maturity, 1829.