Someone sent me an email out of the blue the other day.
It contained a link to an online article posted by someone we both know. The email had only the link, and was preceded by the following word:
That meant I was supposed to find something inappropriate in the article.
So did I find something inappropriate when I read the article?
Well, take a guess.
But here’s a hint…
When your mind is primed to look for something inappropriate it will probably find it.
Either it will find something inappropriate, or it’ll make an interpretation.
The interpretation feels the same as “finding it.” But you never notice the difference.
This is how gossip works to infect your mind.
We thoughtlessly pass around information (gossip) containing judgments of other humans.
And, unless we’re programmed to reject that kind of judgment, we tend to accept it.
Gossip is truly insidious. Because most of us see it as natural, and not that harmful.
The phenomenon of gossip is discussed quite nicely in a book called The Four Agreements (pages 37-46).
The author points out:
Gossiping has become the main form of communication in human society. It has become the way we feel close to each other, because it makes us feel better to see someone else feel as badly as we do.
Gossip is like a computer virus. The only way to combat the virus is to, first, realize that it’s a threat.
Reading The Four Agreements helps you better appreciate the insidious harm of everyday gossip.
But the book will help you understand a lot more than that.
If you like short books chocked full of practical wisdom, check it out.
P.S. If you want a better practice, start using the 80/20 Principle.