Things Lost and Things Found – Part 2: Critical Faculties

I have never been what you would call a people person. When I was younger I was, but as I grew older, I lost a good deal of my ability to suffer fools, a segment which appears to be growing quickly.

The reason for this was very simple. The older you get, the more life experience you have, the more finely tuned your bullsh#t radar becomes. I don’t know if it was me or the world, but it seemed that the older I got the more I started to come across people who I believed were basically FOS. (Full Of Sh#t)

Now there are some people who have always been FOS and they are easy to recognize. Politicians are mainly FOS. The people who will help you build your social media profile and make big bucks, are mainly FOS, although I know a few who are the real deal.

In today’s world, recognizing the people who are FOS takes a bit of time and exposure. But eventually, almost everyone who is FOS reveals themselves to you, and then it’s up to you to get yourself away from them.

Now there is a reflexive property to all of this FOS detecting in that some people will believe that you, despite all your wonderfulness, are FOS. And most disappointing of all, some of them are people you could actually get to like.

This doesn’t mean you are FOS. It only means that something about you rubs someone the wrong way. Being rubbed the wrong way is actually one of the most common methods of FOS detection.

It’s usually the little things, a bit of phoniness that you spot, then start to look out for and, naturally, end up seeing more of. Some shot from guns comment that they make that bangs up against your sense of logic and sanity. Too many selfies that are kind of all the same. Too many posts that actually say nothing.That sort of stuff.

These days, thanks in great part to social media, people who are FOS are much easier to spot than ever. You don’t even have to go through the arduous process of meeting and getting to know them. You can just check out their profile, and read some of their comments. Your critical faculties will do the rest.

I find this a great help, mainly because I tend to get a lot of link requests on LinkedIn, where I have many more connections than I do on Facebook.

I have become quite proficient at going through someone’s profile and figuring out if they are FOS or not. I have calculated that for every 10 people who ask to link with me, at least 2 to 4 are either FOS or fake profiles, which is kinda the same thing.

Because identifying the FOSers is an inexact science you really have to concentrate hard on listening to your critical brain.

It’s a fact that all of us are going to have at least a few FOS people in our lives. But you really need to work hard to keep that to a minimum. Because these people, even though they would never intend to, can screw you up, simply by catching you with your guard down with some FOS comment that you pass along, and all of a sudden you’re FOS too.

They say it’s a cruel hard world out there. And having too many FOS people in your life dulling your critical faculties won’t make it any easier.

Besides people who are FOS, there are actually whole institutions that are as well.

This is just my opinion but I think the entire bitcoin industry is a FOS cluster of pyramid schemes. I think a good deal of advertising you see on social media is a scam to get your credit card number and sell you something they will never deliver. I think that there are waaaaay too many people out there promising to get you on the front page of Google. And I think that virtually every right-wing media outlet in the world is totally FOS, but that’s actually their business model.

Dealing with FOS people or institutions successfully requires that a lot of attention be paid to your critical faculties. Question everything. Take nothing on face value from anyone who is not already a trusted source. There is probably as much scamming going on in the world today as there is honest business interaction.

Everybody who is not FOS, and I’m assuming that anyone who has read this far is not, has a huge responsibility in the world going forward.

Because you are the voices of reason.The people who make sense in a world half-filled with nonsense. And if your influence helps even one FOS person find enlightenment, it will have been worth the effort.


Jim Murray
Jim Murray
I have been a writer since the age of 14. I started writing short stories and poetry. From there I graduated to writing lyrics for various bands and composers and feature-length screenplays, two of which have been produced. Early on in my writing career, I discovered advertising. While the other media have drifted in and out, communications writing and art direction have been the constant through a 20-year career senior positions in Canadian and multi-national agencies and a second career, which began in 1989, (Onwords & Upwords Inc), as a strategic and creative resource to direct clients, design companies, marketing consultants and boutique agencies. Early in 2020, I closed Onwords & Upwords and opened MurMarketing which is a freelance strategic development/copywriting/art direction service for businesses working to make a positive difference in the world. I currently write long format blogs in 4 different streams, encompassing, entertainment, marketing, and communications, life in general, and the renewable energy and recycling industries. These are currently published on I have, over the years, created more than 1500 blog posts. I live with my wife Heather in the beautiful Niagara Region of southern Ontario, after migrating from Toronto, where I spent most of my adult life. I am currently recovering from spinal surgery and learning to walk again.

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