“Acid Rain”

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Neuro Semantics, NLP, Personal Development

I will never forget that year, 1996. It began with someone who I knew well being called a “hero” and it ended with him being “crucified”, “hated” and emotionally stoned; labeled a “public sinner” and a religious pariah. He was a nice bloke who served the church, in the full time ministry, as a priest. Enthusiastic, idealistic and motivated, he wore his heart on his sleeves and gave his heart and soul to his ministry. Folks simply loved what he was doing, the “freshness” he brought. And they embraced him with love, respect and admiration.

 

Months later he decided, due to personal reasons to leave the ministry. He informed his “flock”, hoped that they would understand his decision and made his “leaving” as transparent and open as possible. Nonetheless, in an instant, things changed; folks who had been his friends, his “flock”, turned into a frenzied derogating mob; unleashing a barrage of vicious, cruel and malicious accusations about him, his decision and character! Rumors and gossip began spreading, poisoned with lustful anger, condemnation and rage; significantly distorted by their own shadows and dark imagination.     

 

 

“He left the ministry because of a girl. God will punish the bitch.”

“He left because he had an affair.”

“He left because he had a misunderstanding with his superior, his Bishop.”

“He left because he lacked the character to carry on.”

“He is a shame to his family, a traitor to his faith and God!”

“He is a disgrace to the church and to us.”

“He was never that good after all, he was too arrogant and proud.”

“I always knew that he was a fake”, nobody can be “that good”.”

“He is totally wrong and will live to regret his decision.”

“His parents must be destroyed by his decision, God will surely punish him.”

“His is a disgrace, a sinner and a source of scandal.”

“He will be excommunicated by the church and will find no peace.”

 

“Gossip separates close friends.”

-Proverbs 16:28

 

As months moved on, these vicious rumors became the judgment laid upon his name and character. Even today, such rumblings can be heard, 15 years later. The injustice of these rumors and gossip was that they were never true. And how would I know, you may ask? Well, I’ll answer that question at the end of this blog.    

 

The point I’m trying to make is that our words carry tremendous power and we often abuse its power by spreading rumors, creating crippling gossip and ill informed judgments that destroy trust and spoil reputations. We use it with dark “creativity and innovation” to smear others with guilt, shame and ill repute: deliciously salivating between the sheer pleasure of spreading such “juicy poison” and being seen as the “preferred broker” of such information. Like “acid rain”, our words rain down destruction that ruthlessly quenches the human spirit!

 

 

“Gossip is a type of verbal terrorism. To destroy somebody’s good name is to commit a kind of murder.”

- Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, “Words that hurt, words that heal”

 

 Why do words hold such power?

 

Because we a neuro linguistic class of life; the human species uses words and its different symbols as a way to represent reality, the world out there, to itself, making “maps” of it. (But they are never “the” totality of reality or the truth!) Words, language, linguistics and semantics are the very symbols by which we think, reason, imagine, figure things out, communicate, discover, innovate, live, educate, FIND MEANING and pass on information from one person to another, from one generation to another. Being made in the image of God, who used the WORD to create the world, we share in its power to create and give life or destroy and kill, to be fresh rain or “acid rain”!

 

“Sticks and stones may break my bones,
but words will make me go in a corner and cry by myself for hours.”

-Eric Idle, Comedian

 

 The gossip difference: what differentiates rain from “acid rain?”

 

Gossip is distinguished from sharing information at the level of intent. Folks who gossip often have the goal of building themselves up by making others look and exalting themselves as the broker of “insider information”. And the types of information shared by them have to do with the faults and failings of others: including potentially embarrassing or shameful details, hence the term “talebearer” or “scandal-monger”.  

 

 

“Words, so innocent and powerless…when standing in a dictionary, how potent for good or evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.”

-Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)

  

Victims of “acid rain”……

 

We all have been victims of “acid rain”. Need proof? Allow me to ask; don’t some of our deepest pains come from hurtful words? Words that were either directly said to us or that was spread behind our backs and which eventually reached our ears? How did it make you feel? What emotions did it create in you? What memories, thought and beliefs did it burn into your mind and body? How did it effect you spirit? Did it bring inspiration or desolation? Did it unleash you or keep you leashed to the cruelty and hurt it brought?

 

“Words have a longer life than deeds”.

- Pindar, (522 BC – 443 BC)

 

Have you not been a victim of such “attacks” from loved ones, family members and friends which have left your reputation disfigured and maimed?

 

Perhaps this story will make help make this point clear….

 

A man in a small village was a terrible gossiper, always telling stories about his neighbors, even if he didn’t know them. Wanting to change, he visited the Rabbi for advice. The Rabbi instructed him to buy a fresh chicken at the local market and bring it back to him (the Rabbi) as quickly as possible, plucking off every single feather as he ran. Not one feather was to remain.

 

The man did as he was told, plucking as he ran and throwing the feathers every which way until not a feather remained. He handed the bare chicken over to the Rabbi, who then asked the man to go back and gather together all the feathers he had plucked and bring them back.

 

The man protested that this was impossible as the wind must have carried those feathers in every direction and he could never find them all. The Rabbi said, “That’s true. And that’s how it is with gossip. One rumor can fly to many corners, and how could you retrieve it? Better not to speak gossip in the first place!” And the Rabbi sent the man home to apologize to his neighbors, and to repent.

(The Gossip, a midrash as retold by Marcia Lane, found in Spinning Tales, Weaving Hope: Stories, Storytelling, and Activities for Peace, Justice and the Environment.)

 

 “Acid Rain” on global proportions……

 

Today there seems to be a huge and lucrative “Gossip Economy” that thrives on the fabrication, distortion, deletion and generalization of information, professional “acid rain” makers, who sensationalize them in magazines, tabloids, newspapers and a host of other media channels. Folks who mindlessly abuse “the power of the word”, seeding clouds of deceitful and malicious “acid rain” in global proportions; ruining marriages, bring down economies, send share markets reeling, start a revolution or a war that causes millions to suffer.

 

Didn’t the US go to war with Sadam Hussein because of the “rumor” of WMD’s?

Don’t the paparazzi make a living out of “acid rain” making or cloud seeding?

Have you not jumped into your car to race to the nearest petrol pump to top up on fuel because of a rumor?  

 

Rabbis, priests, ministers, mullahs abuse this power: influencing public opinion, causing schism, starting revolutions and religious wars while embedding judgmental filters in the hearts and minds of their believers. Each proclaiming to know the “ultimate truth”, owning the road to salvation and yielding the power of their god; raining toxic “acid rain” that fragments society, divides, segregates and alienate all in the name of the SACRED ONE,  their church, sect or denomination.

 

Have not folks wrapped themselves with explosives and blown themselves up because of a rumor?

Have not religious and sectarian riots been sparked by a rumor?

Have not brother kill brother because of a rumor?

 

“Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain – and most fools do.”

-Dale Carnegie

 

 The “biggest” rumor….

 

Now biggest rumor of all is that we believe these rumors, even though we have been its victim! We all are “acid rain” makers! We buy these tabloids, magazines; indulge in trash talk, and make private information public. We become master editors of information, small talk, hearsay, chitchat and news-mongering about the affairs of others, their weaknesses and shortcomings.

 

We gossip to feel good about ourselves and get an ego stroke from the “down fall”, sins and mistakes of others. We love to hear dirt on others, add on to it and repeat it. It makes us feel superior, drawing others into our own hurt and anger, jealousy and envy….unleashing “acid rain”!

 

Even if we say it’s true or “all in good fun”, it does not justify unnecessarily passing on hurtful information about someone. Gossip has never helped a victim or solved a problem because as it passed on from one person to another much like a vicious mantra; it becomes an “independent entity”, an “urban legend” or “judgment label” that is permanently burned unto the character of the person gossiped about.       

 

 

“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

- Proverbs 12:18

 

“Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul, health to the bones”

- Proverbs 16:24

 

Perhaps it is “fun” to read, listen and to gossip about others…..until of course it is about us. Have you not been on the receiving end of such rumors and gossip? Yet, why do we still do it?

 

Is it because we do not know better, have no direction or “teaching” on the destructive power of malicious talk?

 

Islam considers “back biting” the equivalent of eating the flesh of one’s dead brother. According to Muslims, backbiting harms its victims without offering them any chance of defense, just as dead people cannot defend against their flesh being eaten. Muslims are expected to treat each other like brothers, deriving from Islam’s concept of brotherhood amongst its believers. (Source Wikipedia)

 

Judaism considers gossip spoken without a constructive purpose (known in Hebrew as an evil tongue, “lashon hara”) as a sin. Speaking negatively about people, even if retelling true facts, counts as sinful, as it demeans the dignity of man — both the speaker and the subject of the gossip. (Source Wikipedia)

 

Buddhism speaks of right thought, right speech, right behavior, right livelihood and right action. 

 

Christianity, in the Epistle to the Romans associates gossips or backbiters with a list of sins including sexual immorality and murder.

 

If someone paid us 1 dollar for every kind word we said about people, and collected 50 cents for every unkind word, would we be rich or poor?

 

“Kind words can warm for three winters,

while harsh words can chill even in the heat of summer.”

-Chinese proverb

 

Do our words lift and inspire, or do they destroy?

 

 

Perhaps this story will help us make better use of the power of our words. 

 

In ancient Greece(469 – 399 BC), Socrates was widely lauded for his wisdom. One day the great philosopher came upon an acquaintance who ran up to him excitedly and said, “Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of your students?”

 

Wait a moment,” Socrates replied. “Before you tell me I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Triple Filter Test.”

 

“Triple filter?”

 

“That’s right,” Socrates continued. “Before you talk to me about my student let’s take a moment to filter what you’re going to say. The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?”

 

“No,” the man said, “actually I just heard about it and…”

 

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

 

“No, on the contrary…”

 

“So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about him, even though you’re not certain it’s true?”

 

The man shrugged, a little embarrassed.

 

Socrates continued. “You may still pass the test though, because there is a third filter - the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?”

 

“No, not really…”

 

“Well,” concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell me is neither True nor Good nor even Useful, why tell it to me at all?”

 

 

The man was defeated and ashamed.

 

“By swallowing evil words unsaid, no one has ever harmed his stomach.”

- Sir Winston Churchill

 

Perhaps we all need to take the “Triple Filter Test” before ever thinking of starting or spreading rumors, gossip, belittling talk or derogatory chatter: ever before thinking of creating acid rain”.

 

Now to answer that question, “How did I know that all the accusations and malicious talk made against my friend above was not true?”

 Because that person was me. 

 

“My Name Is Gossip.

 I have no respect for justice.

 I am without killing.

I break hearts and ruin lives.

 I am cunning and malicious and gather strength with age.

 

The more I am quoted the more I am believed.

 I flourish at every level of society.

My victims are helpless.

They cannot protect themselves against me because I have no name and no face.

 

To track me down is impossible.

The harder you try, the more elusive I become. I am nobody’s friend.

Once I tarnish a reputation, it is never the same.

I topple governments and ruin marriages.

 I ruin careers and cause sleepless nights, heartache and indigestion.

I spawn suspicion and generate grief.

 

I make innocent people cry in their pillows.

 Even my name hisses.

 I AM CALLED GOSSIP.”

- Author Unknown

  

Andy Griffith Gossip

 

 

 

Be courageous enough to THINK DIFFERENTLY, to stretch beyond convention!

 

Think RADICALLY and stay committed to transcending, transforming and transferring value back to your world!

 

Catch new blogs fortnightly at let us know what you think below.

 

Conrad Rozario is the founder of Alchemy Resources, a cutting edge human potential and peak performance development company in Malaysia. He has more than 15 years experience in people development from the diverse fields of Sales, Marketing, Customer Engagement and Service, Business Management and Talent Development. He is a Certified & Licensed Neuro Semantics and Neuro-Linguistics Programming (NLP) Trainer from the International Society of Neuro –Semantics, USA, a Master Practitioner in Neuro Semantics and NLP (ISNS,USA) and a Language and Behavior Profiling for Coaching Practitioner. He holds a MBA from Gordon University, Illinois,USA.

 

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