While some people think gossip is harmless, Mary Rose explores the power of this “Soul Stripper” to erode reputations, corrupt relationships and destroy lives.
Some people will do anything to get ahead. They will step on others, take advantage, lie, double talk, gossip, use subtle manipulation and even calculate their way into strategic positions in order to gain entry into the unsuspecting space of others.
We’ve all seen it done. With practice and a keen eye, we can see when someone is trying to win us over with carefully assembled words and subversive body language.
But in some cases we are blind to it. Some manipulators are really good at riding people. They are keen bullshit pushers. They know how and when to play the “poor me” card, and then, at the right moment, intersperse it with hints of cool, collected confidence.
The other day, I met a lady at Dark Horse Books who showed me a tarot deck. This deck had lovely artwork and sayings. One of them was “Gossiping: The Stripper of the Soul”. We talked at length about gossiping and this wise lady agreed that gossip is not just a harmless method of communicating information. I said that I thought it to be a convenient method to provide misinformation, which is actually quite harmful. Gossip can, in the worst cases, destroy a person’s reputation. Hearsay might not stand up in court but it sure does in real life.
The phrase “Stripper of the Soul” works on a couple of different levels. First, I believe that idle gossip strips away the integrity of the soul. To speak ill about another if they are in fact an asshole is one thing (warning loved ones about another’s lack of integrity or good character is an understandable action). But to speak ill of someone “just because” is like shitting in your own kitchen.
Gossiping is like making the holes in the Swiss cheese of your deepest being bigger, thereby leaving the chunky, cheesy, yummy, pleasy part less abundant and more susceptible to stinky rot.
The second way I like to take the metaphorical sentence “Stripper of the Soul” is like this: Imagine the mind and body together are like a field of infinite dreams and possibilities. There are any number of options and wonderful opportunities and places to go and people to see inside of oneself.
Inside that all-encompassing wonderland within each of us are some “gross places” that most people tend to stay away from. There’s the place where you dump bad memories and there’s the place where doubt lives. There’s the lack of impulse control place and the place where we keep hidden secrets. Then there’s the back alley in your mind, where you go when you want to do things you wouldn’t normally do, things that are outside your character. This is where I would say the “Stripper of the Soul” lives. It seduces us by appealing to our desire to be immediately gratified and to be in control of what happens outside of itself.
Lurking around in a dark and dirty place in our minds is the vulgar voyeur who likes to watch itself; to indulge itself in its own hedonistic existence. Now, while I don’t think there is anything wrong with watching (living vicariously can be entertaining), I think there is something wrong with taking pleasure from instigating a nefarious process (by gossiping or starting a rumour for instance), just so that one can sit back and enjoy the show they created or, in other words, satisfy their own ego.
The “Stripper of the Soul” is like this — an eroded version of ourselves; the kind that you would not be proud to take home to mom.
In my opinion, if you can’t say anything nice, just don’t talk. To use one’s position as a “friend” or confidante to try and convince others how to think and feel by plugging their minds with hints and ideas about others is called power-tripping. It’s a character-eroding behaviour which assists in nurturing the sociopathic megalomaniac that lurks in another corner of the human mind.
Society does not need more ego-humping power trippers who are potentially out of control; it needs thoughtful consideration, kindness in words and empathy in action.
So, to my readers, be aware of the “Soul Stripper” who lurks in your own mind. It’s like an impatient child with bated breath waiting to slink it’s imposing, self-perceived power between you and the truth.
“Fear – Captured in Old Structures” AlicePopkorn @ Flickr.com. Creative Commons. Some Rights Reserved.
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