At one point or another we have all been exposed to rumours, whether about ourselves or someone else. Today I would like to take a deeper look at what rumours are, what they are use for, their content and function. Are rumours reasons and emotions conjure up and conspire to produce harm? Do rumours build or destroy? More importantly I would like us to recognize that through rumours; to an extent; one can affect the reality of another human being. Keeping this last statement in mind, one should be careful when gossiping about another human being.
The origin of the word rumour comes from the Latin “rumor”, which means “confuse noise of voices”. Rumours are defined as propositions or beliefs which are transmitted orally as certain even though they carry no safe evidence to prove them. Much of the day to day conversation is based on the transmissions of rumours; therefore rumours are the typical form of communication of collective behavior. They are improvised news resulting from the process of collective deliberation based usually on ambiguous facts. Rumours are a collective action which try to give meaning to confused facts; although rumours are in themselves confused facts or create confused facts.
The content of rumours are generally based on negativity, cultural/religious tradition, lack of open-mindness, ignorance and/or fear. It is rare to find positive rumours being circulated, most times only the negative ones obtain a high level of attention and are accepted as true. The explanation to this fact lies in the asymmetry of the short term impact of the negative in relation to the positive. In general negative stimuli have a greater weight in social perception. This is partly attributed to a society which is being conditioned more and more too look outside and encouraged to find fault in others vs looking in and discovering, owning and taking responsibility for their own weaknesses, hurts and issues. More and more we can see a distinct line being drawn in society between those who are “sleep” and those who are “awakening”.
People who are sleep use rumours as venues to hurt others without having to confront the real issues at hand. They would like to have the perfect life as such they try to achieve this by avoiding themselves and blaming others for every misfortune in their life. This way they get to maintain the delusional image of being perfect, which ultimately works against them as it puts them in the victim seat. Although they may exude outer confidence by portraying themselves as always cheerful and willing to help, ultimately they are afraid and don’t have clear boundaries set, as such their so called “values” often seem to shift depending on what they are trying to obtain or whom they are trying to impress. They are afraid of others and of confronting their own wounds and feelings. They hide their weaknesses, anger and every natural emotion which is considered negative in hopes to seem peaceful and positive; but real positivity eludes them, as in order to obtain it one has to be willing to confront the hurts and secrets hidden within.
People who are “Awakening” are those who understand being “perfect” is a false illusion being sold by a troubled society/fake media/limited cultural/religious settings, which ultimately bonds you to being a slave to old beliefs and customs which are all part of the old paradigm. Those who are awakening choose to face their demons and accept that being real means accepting one’s duality (light/dark). They accept “negative emotions” as part of growth and every day life; something to feel and integrate therefore overcoming it; not something to deny.
Rumours circulate based on three factors; general uncertainty, credibility of the rumour and anxiety.
General uncertainty is synonymous of socially distributed ambiguity around a theme; rumours then emerge from an atmosphere of uncertainty as a way of resolving tension associated with cognitive ambiguity.
The credibility or certainty when presented with a rumour lies in having confidence on its veracity. This usually requires a certain level of trust on the person spreading the rumour, as well as having our own preconceived judgments about a situation or a person. This way the rumor is not looked at as false but rather it cements and validates our own thinking/insecurities/desires. The rebroadcasting of a rumour would be a way to validate our own thinking on a subject/person while avoiding any responsibility. Accepting a negative rumour as true may not make us the perpetrator but it certainly does not qualify us as “innocent”. Although some rumours do contain a grain of truth, the majority of the “story” is fictional, yet a rumour relies solely in the listener accepting and believing the story as true–it truly exposes our own preconceived thinking patterns.
Anxiety is an effective state associated with apprehension in the face of a possible negative or threatening event. Rumours are relayed not only by the lack of cognitive clarity but also because they express anxiety type emotional tensions. People with high anxiety and low self esteem retransmit more rumours; therefore it is imperative to shift our focus from the exterior and pay more attention to our own troubles.
Rumours also fulfill limited functions such as: It allows for the release of emotion (through the transmitting of a rumour, anger and anxiety are released). The justification of emotion (social emotion is expressed and validated; even if its an erroneous one). It takes off the effort require to search for actual meaning/facts (avoidance of responsibility). Aesthetic excitement ( rumours break the routine and produce in a sociably acceptable way new information that produces a dramatic event). For people who like rumours, it feels pleasurable from a distance to know the suffering caused as they rejoice on any limitations they may see on others.
The psychological functions of rumours can extend socially. By circulating a negative rumour about someone one may hate, that person releases emotion. These emotions are usually a reflection of their own lacks. People who like to spread rumours or accept them as true without knowing the event/person are people who are usually incoherent and irresponsible. They have low self esteem and they do not like their lives. They tend to be manipulative people who like to control others, denigrate others, verbally assault and abuse others; accusing people behind their backs and using fear and lies to make others pay attention to them.
When the person who has spread a rumor feels threatened by the truth and fears everyone else will find out all that which has been hidden, more often than not that person will become quiet and retreat hoping no one notices or if they do they quickly take on the role of victim by acting as if they are ignorant of what is being brought to light. Unfortunately in our society many malicious rumours are spread and no one is held responsible simply because the person who spread the rumor holds onto the old false paradigm that remaining silent is a sign of strength. It is true that to remain still when the storms of life are rushing in is a sign of strength but that should never be confused with those who choose to use silence as a way to escape the responsibility of their actions.
Although it may feel good to spread a rumour under the guise of sharing a secret (fake trust)–doing so reveals the immature, frivolous way the person spreading the rumour sees the world. It is a testament to all that is lacking within his or her own life. Those who like to spread rumours while playing roles of sainthood fail to understand that although the rumour may cause momentary or permanent damage to another person, the most immediate consequence is the moral damage and loss of mental health for the person who practices the carrying of rumours back and forth.
When we are unable to see our own shortcomings, when we are not able to withstand the destructive critical charge we carry within us, we shift our attention to others, drawing conclusions from ourselves and projecting them onto others. We do not know how to treat with “respect” the destructive capacity that only we human beings have to create evil. Prejudice, mental labels, envy, hatred, real jealousy; unleash rumours that annihilates and transforms the reality of people. Rumours can create resentments within the party affected, these type of resentments may last a life time depending on the damage caused.
The easiest way to avoid rumours from spreading is not to give foot to malicious gossip without all parties being present or to have the intelligence and open mindedness to seek for the other side of the story. To cause damage to someone’s life because we may feel offended, hurt or rejected and then pretend like nothing happened is not conducive to growth of any kind; no matter how many “nice” words that person may repeat; for all actions, thoughts and feelings have to be congruent– on the other hand spreading malicious gossip or listening to it will never be conducive to closure, the healing of something or for obtaining forgiveness.
Keeping all of the above in mind, we should try to be more compassionate towards those who are still trapped in the old paradigm. Being compassionate does not equal allowing others to abuse you or to hurt you, it simply means speaking openly and standing your ground but doing so without the desire to hurt the one who attacked you; it all comes down to motivation. On the other hand it also means recognizing when you are wasting your time on effort on people who do not want to stop their corrupted way of living because it would require revealing secrets and confronting their own shadows; in those cases it is best to simply cut off all ties and communication until the other person is ready to openly hear and be heard.
It is important to stand up for one self, as it is important to remember your own journey towards self awakening; it did not happen overnight and at one point you too were sleep. Maintaining this simple thought in mind can help us stand up when needed, helps us not to buy into the delusions offered by the old paradigm, while at the same time not be seduced by the false belief that we have “arrived”. To believe one has “arrived” really is not better than to be “sleep”. It is the false ego’s way of once more trapping us, turning us into slaves to our own vanity and need for false acceptance and false recognition.
Ultimately we could shift our focus towards more important things in life, things which are energy producing, not energy depleting….we can do this by focusing on our own growth, our own talents and on those who do love us and accept us knowing the light and darkness we carry within.