It’s safe to say that all of us gossip or have gossiped sometime in the past. This tendency is present across age groups, and social classes. We may have found out some juicy information about someone else and just had to pass it on to others. Sometimes we point out faults of other people in order to feel better about ourselves. So why do we do this? Are we so insecure that we have to tell fibs and half-truths about others?
Intellectually, we know that gossip is an unhelpful, even wicked practice. We do not like to befriend gossipers out of fear that they will collect information about us in order to spread half-truths and fabrications about us.
Some people spread misinformation in an effort to obtain power and gain influence over others. I’m thinking specifically of the current political season with all of the accusations spewing forth out of the mouths of the incumbents and some of their challengers. One of the reasons people detest the campaign season is because there is so much gossip coming from speakers’ platforms and campaign committee rooms. I find it tempting to name the politicians and religious leaders who slander people; however for me to do so would be to engage in gossip.
“Gossip is the Devil’s radio.”–George Harrison
A few of my friends have been harmed by gossip, I have also been afflicted many times as the target of gossipers. Reputations and lives can be greatly harmed by easy gossip. The intentional, well-aimed spreading of misinformation is wrong-headed, cruel, and evil. At the end of the day, one wonders how gossipers can look in the mirror and be proud of who they see.
The telling of gossip is a red flag. We should be much more wary of the person telling it than the words they are spreading to us. If someone is spreading dirt about your acquaintance, who’s to say that person isn’t spreading dirt about you behind your back? This is a major reason gossipers find it difficult to have true-blue friends and confidants. Who can truly trust someone who freely puts people down and spreads rumors?
The trigger for today’s rant is the massive build-up of garbage information flooding the data channels lately. Aside from news about disasters, mass shootings, and truly horrible things, we are inundated with sports and celebrity gossip. There are bulk quantities of political pundit trash, countless photos of famous people’s houses, clothing, parties, and food. There is endless slander about women and minorities. The non-stop idle talk and rumor mongering about the personal and private lives of average folks, the rich, and the famous drains the soul.
When will we lovers of peace and tranquility obtain an armistice from those who spread fear and gossip? Although it is futile to expect a full-on truce, it would be great to have less chit-chat, trivia, and misinformation, is it possible to withdraw from the noise without denying the actual serious issues humanity currently faces?
Isn’t gossip simply the red herring in the mystery of living our lives?
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes New Age teacher and writer Don Miguel Ruiz. “Be Impeccable With Your Word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.”