We all have at one point or another 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, 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 and 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, ultimately they are afraid. 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 by their way of thinking or which is not accepted by their peers.
People who are “Awakening” are those who understand that 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/customs which are all part of the old paradigm. These people 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 overcome not 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/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/limitations of someone.
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 life. They tend to be manipulative people who like to control others, denigrate others, verbally assault them, abuse them, accuse them behind their backs and use fear and lies to make others pay attention to them. The rumour diffuses in an unconscious, indiscriminate, frivolous way and although it may cause momentary or permanent damage to another person’s character, the most immediate consequence is the moral damage and loss in health for the person who practices it.
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 do evil. Prejudice, mental labels, envy, hatred, jealousy, unleash rumours that annihilates and transforms the reality of people; usually the person(s) being hurt by the rumours. 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 mindness to seek for the other side of the story. To cause damage to someone’s life because we may feel offended/hurt and then pretend like nothing happened is not conducive to healing/forgiveness.
Keeping all of the above in mind, we should all 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, hurt you, or damage your character by assuming and spreading rumours of who you are. What am trying to say here is one should let go of hatred and shift focus towards more positive/important things in your life, things which are energy producing, not energy depleting. 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 being 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 ego’s way of once more trapping us, turning us into slaves to our own vanity/need for acceptance/recognition.