The spiritual definition of gossip is: Sharing our negative opinion of, or making up a lie about, a person or group who has offended us in order to negatively affect others’ opinion of them. It is a form of control because the intention is to make someone else think and feel the same as us, and that we are better than the other guy. We participate in gossip when we watch, listen to or even read negative stories about others. See judgment, criticism, condemnation, manipulation, perfectionism, self-righteousness
What is fake news and why does it work?
Fake news is a form of gossip and it is a form of lying. Fake news starts as an act of malice against a competitor or opponent, in an attempt to win others to our side. It is sneaky, underhanded and cowardly, but it works. Why? Well, we just love to think the worst of someone who appears to be doing better than us (envy, jealousy), and listening to gossip makes us feel as though someone is sharing their secret, insider knowledge with us. Our gullibility makes us very easy to manipulate, and those who spread negativity and hate, know it.
On the internet
We see gossip all the time on the internet, and most especially on social media platforms. Every day there are fake news stories, so-called friendly warnings of what to do or what not to do, short videos making us aware of various dangers, and of course the inevitable “suggested” posts to read (i.e., paid advertisements). These are all growing in number and frequency, because they work! If only we could ignore them and not click on them, we could all help to reduce this mass manipulation of our time, energy and talents.
Check the facts
Before clicking on, forwarding or sharing warnings of dangers or scams, check them for yourself (snopes.com is a great place to start). Before sharing negative stories about others, check the facts. Google can be a help, but we have to be careful. If valid, then by all means, share widely. Just remember to verify the story or threat yourself. Sharing a story or post that someone else verified is pointless, because we have no way to know for sure whether they really did. If the information cannot be verified, then the choice is simple: Don’t share the information.