Two independent and populous states declared war: the State of Drunkenness and the State of Gossip. The two intended to have primacy in disasters caused. They argued hotly and each exhibited evidence of the misfortunes caused. The Ebriety presented an impressive list of evils it had caused throughout history: vilification of countless people; decisions made insane; countless premature deaths; countless homes destroyed; crimes committed in bulk and acts of violence unimaginable.
There was the Very Ufana Ebriety with its repertoire of misfortunes caused, when gossip made it look, not a list, but a shipment of thick books where the damage it had caused over the centuries was recorded: the deaths it had caused were innumerable, like those caused by Drunkenness, with the aggravation of having previously killed the good reputation of those same people. The Gossip boasted that he had broken all records in the destruction of marriages and entire families; ruthless persecution of innocent people; in introducing intrigue to many corporations, until they were ruined; in the dismissal of their legitimate posts applied to benevolent persons; in the overthrow of honest representatives and in preparing mud to throw him at unimpeachable civil and religious leaders. The leaves of those records turned in quick succession showing the infamy that Gossip presumed as feats.
Not content with his arrogant display, gossip called his side, as if to entrench his victory, his main allies. Envy first arrived, in a green dress with black stripes. Calumnia was later introduced, which claimed to be the legitimate daughter of the competitor. Almost stepping on his heels, came the Corrupted Fantasy, with lenses and with a pen in his hand, giving himself a novelist’s air. Looking tired, idleness arrived, claiming recognition for being the one who prepared the ground for the sowing of gossip. With a lady’s garbo on the catwalk, she made the murmuring, which turned out to be the character’s younger sister, an act of presence. Somewhat suffocated by the race, ambition and Insidia, Indiscretion and Hypocrisy, Cowardice and Bribery appeared.
A great toad who played a judge in that contest, opened his excessive mouth to give the ruling: “No further arguments or witnesses are needed. This gentleman’s victory is blunt.”
That’s how gossip was crowned king of disaster.
Drunkenness, meanwhile, had fallen asleep under the influence of alcohol.
It should be added that gossip, bogged down by triumph, established relations with almost every state in the world. In a few where he has no embassy, he also operates, using Insidia and sold journalism.
A wise anti-gossip alert
Several books of the Bible are classified as “sapienciales”, by the wisdom they enclose. One of these books is known as Ecclesiastical; he is also given the name Sirácide, alluding to Ben Sirá, its author. Its wording dates back to the 2nd century before our era, but the ideal of life it proposes has permanent values. This I quote is taught to us in chapter 19:
“Never repeat what you have heard, you will not lose anything with that. / Don’t tell anyone, be a friend or an enemy, and unless you don’t reveal it for shutting up. / They would listen to you, but they would stand guard against you and, when the time comes, they would hate you. / Have you heard anything? Don’t be afraid, that’s not why you’re going to burst. / Only the fool suffers when he keeps a secret […].
“Clear things up with your friend, he may not do anything attributed to him; and if he did, let it serve so he doesn’t do it again. / Clear things up with your neighbor, he may not have said anything that is stated; and if he said it, let it be so he doesn’t repeat it. / Clear things up with your friend, as he often slanders, and you should not trust everything that is said. / You can inadvertently slip a slip, and who hasn’t ever failed with your tongue? / Clear things up with your neighbor before threatening him; then let the Law of the Most High intervene” (Ecclesiastes 19, 7-11, 13-17).
In another of the books of the Bible we read: “The gossip hurts like a sword; instead, the tongue of the wise is medicine” (Proverbs 12:18).
Pope Francis, too,
puts us on guard
On May 12, 2016, during Mass in the chapel of the Holy Martha House in the Vatican, Pope Francis spoke of the unity christ desires for believers. He alluded to the grave guilt of those who, with gossip, sow tares and destroy unity, causing hatred and rivalries. He said that “gossip is like muddying the other. He who gossips muddy, and the way he destroys.” “Language,” he emphasized, “is capable of destroying a family, a community, a society; it is capable of sowing hatred and wars.” “A lot of gossip,” the Pope said, is given “out of envy, jealousy and also by closure.”
A minimal test to detect gossip
You want to know if you’re gossipy? Look at these notes and ask yourself if you have them:
the gossip does not admit to being so; ensures that gossip is the others;
the gossip of ordinary negative things; to the positive ones, when he mentions them, he usually gives them a but that spoils the merit; “Too bad…”;
it is not uncommon for gossip to begin his interventions with words similar to these: “I don’t like gossip, but I knew…”;
the sources of gossip are usually not objective but anonymous and vague; “They say”, “I heard…”, “They told me, but I can’t tell you who…”;
when a gossip finds out something noticeable and verifiable, whether positive or negative, he can’t stand twenty-four hours without looking for someone to tell;
the gossip is deftly introduced into the spaces where it should not enter and into the conversation circles where they do not call it. Ω
Jesus Christ’s counsel is brief and blunt: “Let your word be ‘yes’ when it is yes and ‘no’ when it is no. Everything that is said over comes from the Evil One” (Mt 5:37).