All of us are probably guilty at one time or another of participating in idle gossip and hearsay. How many times have we been a part of a conversation that begins something like the following: “I don’t know if it is true or not, but I heard that ____”? And we can each fill in the blank. How many times have we been found guilty of being the starters of such conversations?
Hearsay is like loose cannon fodder that strikes whatever happens to be in its path. It is like a rattle snake lurking in the weeds and bushes waiting to inject its deadly venom into its next innocent victim. It is the cog that turns the perpetual wheel of contention and strife. It is of no intrinsic value or worth unless there can be found a meager thread of evidence that substantiates that what is being said bears any resemblance to the real truth.
Oftentimes when the person that started the proverbial ball of confusion rolling is questioned about where they got their information, the response is usually that they heard it from ____, who heard it from ____, and it could go on ad infinitum.
Perhaps it all started with the victim of the hearsay sharing a matter in confidence with a “friend”, and that “friend” in turn told a “friend” who told a “friend”, and so forth and so on. What started out as a private conversation between two confidants ends up becoming the headline story on the front page of the local town gossip newspaper or, nowadays going viral on Facebook, or on Twitter or the Worldwide Web. Even the news media thrives on such material, typically with disclaimers such as, “It was reported in the ____ Times that ____”, or “Reliable government sources indicate that ____”. When all is said and done what may even have started as an absolute truth becomes a distorted web and hodgepodge of fabrications and lies with maybe a miniscule of truth mixed in for flavor.
Instead of continuing to drink from the dregs of a bottle of deadly poison, would it not prove to be of greater worth to go to the subject of the hearsay (or some nominally independent source like, “Snopes”) and get the facts and ultimately the truth? The least we can do is not pass it on unverified. This is just some food for thought.