(Bautista, personal photograph taken in Toronto, 01-24-2015)
… you feel superior in that moment because you know more. Many people are addicted to gossiping partly for this reason. In addition, gossiping often carries an element of malicious criticism and judgement of others, and so it also strengthens the ego through the implied but imagined moral superiority that is there whenever you apply a negative judgment to anyone. (from A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, 2005, p.82)
In The Art of Worldly Wisdom, Balthasar Gracian (1637/1993 translation) writes:
177. AVOID BEING TOO FAMILIAR WITH OTHERS. Nor should you permit others to be too familiar with you. He that is too familiar loses any superiority his influence gives him and so loses respect. The stars keep their brilliance by not making themselves common. The divine demands decorum. Every familiarity breeds contempt. In human affairs, the more a person shows the less he has, for in open communication you communicate the failings that reserve might keep under cover. Familiarity is never desirable: with superiors because it is dangerous, with inferiors because it is unbecoming, least of all with the common herd, who become insolent from sheer folly – they mistake favor shown them for need felt of them. Familiarity verges on vulgarity.
It is said that all deserve love but I believe some people can be loved from a distance.
Whenever I meet someone new and they tell me everything they know about this person or that person, I never engage in the conversation beyond a feigned “Interesting”. Within seconds of such exchange, I know that continued conversation would render me just as ego-bound and prattling – I abandon thoughts of “kindness to manifest more kindness”. So, I’ve learned to offer my short retort and then move along.
When you prattle on about someone in a way that deems them abnormal or peculiar then you know very little about the human condition. You move closer to jealousy, envy or hate and farther away from human connectivity.
You betray self-knowledge, peace and love at least that’s what I’m sensing.
I think people gossip as a means of controlling a situation – to give rise to their “keen” insights (though mostly false), to make others envy their prowess for gathering information, to make them feel powerful.
I also think they do so to avoid their stark reality, to mask their pain, to fuel their ego, to feel alive –
As I travel, live and learn, I’ve come to engage with many people from all walks of life – I know just enough about people – people tell you and show you who they are – why would people want to create stories about someone that s/he hasn’t told? – perhaps because their life story seems dull and un-lived in comparison. Ego-bound.
I don’t look for idle chit-chat.
Rather, I look for peace and love within so I can manifest meeting people who build peace and love within themselves and others.
That kind of human connectivity is worthy of my approach.