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Rumors stop at the wise
by Lily Jade
2013-05-23 10:36:31
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In the world we are living in, people like to talk about all kinds of things including news, truth, lies, gossip_400gossips and rumors.  We all say that we hate people who spread rumors and gossips, but have you ever wondered why people talk. Well, mostly because there are people would love to listen. Communication is a two way process, and in rumor spreading, the listener (or believer) are considered equally guilty as the spreader. Sometimes people tell stories and talk behind others’ back just for fun, but sometimes for their own purposes, and may not always be good ones. There are so many “Gossip Girls” around us, planning all kinds of schemes to get what they need and want. That’s why Blair Waldorf said, “Gossip Girl ruined our lives!”

Personally, I don’t like to talk too much, but I did listen and believed rumors many times, and I paid dearly price for what I shouldn’t have believed. Then I started to think how come people like me could easily be influenced by rumors and being manipulated by “Gossip Girls”.

Our information processing system works exactly like a computer, the brain is the hardware and mind is the software. When information is sent to us, we analyze and evaluate it base on our knowledge, belief and experiences. The standard of “good” and “bad” is programmed in our mind and that’s how we can recognize good news right away. Then, a series of neurological and chemical reactions in our brain allows us to actually feel the emotions. When emotion is positive, we feel happy, joyful, pleasant, amused and excited; you smile, laugh, feeling good and relaxed. But when it comes to the negative ones, you could be angry, sad, depressed, stressed and aggressive; the blood pressure goes up, heart beats faster, and the most important thing is, your emotion decides what you will do next. In most cases, emotions come beyond our control, and it controls us instead. When a man is angry, his rationality could be gone for a while, and during this short period, he could do terrible things that he will regret later. Sometimes, this is exactly what the “Gossip Girls” want, make you mad and cause some serious damage.

Xun Zi (Master Xun), a Chinese Confucian philosopher lived 2,300 years ago, said “Rumors stopxun_zi_400 at the wise”.  After I read this, I can’t blame so many “Gossip Girls” out there but myself being too simple and lack of wisdom. A wise man doesn’t believe and spread rumors, and of course, he won’t be manipulated by anyone.  In ancient Greece, the great philosopher Socrates developed a Triple Filter Test that helps to recognize rumors, and his little story explained exactly how “Rumors stop at the wise”.

                One day, an acquaintance met Socrates and said, “Do you know what I just heard about your friend?” 

“Hold on a minute”, said Socrates, “ Before you tell me anything I’d like you to pass a three-step test to filter what you’re going to say about my friend.”  

“The first filter is TRUTH. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is truth?”

“No,” the man said, “I just heard and …..”  

“Alright”, said Socrates, “So, you don’t really know if it’s true or not, let’s try the second filter, the filter of GOODNESS. Is what you are about to tell me is something good about my friend? “ 

“No, not really good….” 

“Well”, Socrates continued, “You want to tell me something bad about my friend but you are not sure if it’s true or not, let’s go through the third filter, Usefulness. Is what you are about to tell me is going to be useful to me?” 

“No” said that man. 

“So, if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell me at all?”

Truth, Goodness and Usefulness, use these three filter every time when you hear loose talk and be a wise man.







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