Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Simple Explanation of Gossip

Here's the wikipedia definition of gossip:

•Gossip is idle talk or rumour, especially about the personal or private affairs of others. It forms one of the oldest and most common means of sharing (unproven) facts and views, but also has a reputation for the introduction of errors and other variations into the information transmitted. ...

Here's the Simple Explanation's definition of gossip:

Sharing, from your point of view, another's personal memes and karmic deeds with the aim of strengthening their consequences.

Here's how it works: You either hear about or witness an event that you emotionally resonate to. Responding to that emotion, your mind quickly gathers up a chord of memes relating to the event. These memes will necessarily reflect your point of view, because that is who and where you are relative to the event. Even if the facts are accurate, i.e. correct retelling of the other's memes and of the karmic event, the meme chord also contains your personal assumptions, judgments, and position. In other words, you have added something to the equation.

Your ego then constructs a story--"the story of the meme chord"--and tells it to you. All of this activity is more or less out of your conscious control. Once you make a conscious decision to tell it to someone else, then it becomes gossip. Spreading gossip is like weaving meme chords and launching them into the air.

Why do people gossip? In order to keep that particular meme chord in play. If the gossip is pleasant and positive, then most people approve of it. If the gossip is slanderous and negative, people disapprove. However, whether positive or negative, the memes and karmic consequences are still being strengthened through repetition and transmission. This is the purpose of gossip--to deepen the karma of praise or concern for the "righteous," and of shame and indignation for the "sinner." And the further the meme chord spreads, the less it reflects the truth of the situation and the more interference it brings to the here and now.

Spiritual Consequences of Gossip

The Bible has many injunctions against gossip. Here's what the book of James has to say about it, in Chapter 4, Verse 11:

Speak not evil one of another, bretheren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?"

In Simple Explanation terms, the verse reads like this:

Fellow UCs, it is not our job to share others' personal memes and shortcomings. Spreading unhelpful information out of egoic judgment does not contribute to the metaversal plan. The metaversal plan transcends ego. Ego is too limited to grasp the causes or the consequences of one's own behavior, let alone another's. Do not interfere with another's karma.

Personally, I think of gossip as keeping a situation alive in time. As the meme chord is strengthened through repetition, the event stays in the present rather than passing into the past. It seems to me that God, or the Metaversal plan, or the Universal UC, is not about shame or praise, but favors moving forward and doing what needs to be done here and now. "Onward and Upward!" I think the game plan is all about forgiving and picking up the pieces, looking around to see what needs doing next, and working in harmony to help one another make the best of things