RUMOR – A LIE

19th May 2012 evening, it was raining like cats and dogs with thunderstorm and lightning, more than two feet height water was flooding in almost all the parts of the city. Drainage systems were blocked, people and street dogs were searching to shelter under the flyovers, bus stops and at the vendor shops veranda. In the midst of this chaotic situation, the undeniable challenge before me was to board the train from Bhubaneswar railway station at 19:30 hrs for my monthly staff meeting. Somehow, a known Auto-rickshaw driver was convinced to drop me to the railway station. Half-wet trying to save my laptop bag in one hand and my travel bag in another hand, I managed the roller-coaster ride at the backseat but as I reached the railway station I get to know many trains were canceled and like mine one all the rest of the trains were rescheduled to depart after 3 hr since the railway tracks were underwater. Finally, my search operation for a seat in the crowded platform was successful. After an hour, my phone rang, it was one of my field staff who went to his village somewhere in Bihar and got locked due to flood. Frightened and in a mumbling tone he said, “Sir, there is news everywhere on the city billboards, television, F.M and local newspaper that ‘tomorrow the world is going to destroy’ what will happen to us tomorrow!” In a fraction of second, a bolt of huge lightning falls on the train electric wire above the platform and there was a rain of fire. After a minute of silence, I asked, did God told you that He will destroy the world tomorrow? He replied, ‘No Sir’. I said, Alright! Switch off your phone, have a good dinner and sleep. We will talk the day after tomorrow morning.

Spreading a rumor to a thousand ears is making it believable.

We have turned believers of the majority. We talk, a majority must be granted! I think, often we overlook a simple truth ‘in our world the majority are liars’. It’s profound, the spreading of a rumor is easy and is carried ear-to-ear at a good speed. Alongside, among the thousand voices and ears of rumor mongers, the voice of reasoning will appear a bit or more of less strength and before the brain pauses to reason another voice of rumor monger knocks to repeat what is heard. The Bible says,

For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work, but it will be exposed when the believer of the Truth will hold it back and will continue to do till he is taken out of the way. Then the lawlessness (liar or rumor monger), who had not believed the truth but had delighted in the wickedness will be revealed and condemned. 

Self-isolating from rumor-mongers is breaking the chain of spreading rumors.

Self-isolating from the majority is prior to exposing a rumor. Thinking unlike the rumor monger requires the attitude of reasoning. E.g.: Monger: “He is a corrupt professional.” Reasoner: Just a minute, is it real? What is your reference point? What made him soil his hands in corruption? I haven’t experienced him in any of my transactions with him! Can we take some time to analyze the reality and then counsel him to renew the attitude of his mind?” The God of the Bible says,

Call to me, I will give you wisdom and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.

The reasoning is the timely implementation of knowledge in reference to the Truth resulting in the exposure of rumors. 

Rumors cannot be exposed unless the knowledge to discern the lie in the appearance of truth is done within due time. Timely implementation of knowledge is wisdom and it paints the picture of a wise attitude. The wise attitude to anything that has been presented is reasoning. Reasoning always looks for the reference of the truth. Because it is the truth alone imputes justice. Justice is all that we expect at the end of every statement. In the Bible,

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” 

Image source: tech crunch, trump-twitter

WE LIVE IN TIMES OF FAKE NEWS

Rumour and gossip have been around for as long as mankind existed. Many a thrones have toppled, relationships broken, careers made or destroyed because of rumours. In olden days through word of mouth the rumours were spread from one person to another and like a classic case of Chinese whispers  everyone adding their own twist to it used to spread like wild fire across the town. 

But these days with the advent of technology rumours have got wings i.e. the social media. This Social media takes just hours even minutes for things to go viral. And everyone who reads it or sees the video believe it to be true without applying their mind. 

I have seen live examples of it. People I know who  see some edited video on YouTube and get enraged because so and so person said such and such thing that they took offence to. 

‘Wait a minute Bro! do you know for sure it happened?’

“Yes I saw it on the Internet’

My dear boy understand not everything you read on WhatsApp and watch on YouTube or Face Book or Instagram or Twitter is true. Even articles looking like authentic news website articles are not true at times. Just because there is a picture or a video with the article does not make it the truth.

‘What is it then?’

It is FAKE NEWS. Where deliberately hoaxes, rumours, misinformation is propagated as news. They are presented as factually correct news. And mostly propagated through social media. It is done by satirical news websites or individual websites with an incentive to propagate false information, either as clickbait or to serve a purpose

This kind of rumour mongering is done so professionally that at times it becomes difficult to differentiate between what is real and what is fake. 

The 2016 Presidential Election in the US were marred by so many articles giving fake news and rumours and I am sure must have affected the outcome.

In India if you may have noticed that if there are any chances of communal riots etc the Government first puts curb on Internet services as the rumour mongering and infuriating people with fake news is at its best during those times. 

During these difficult times of COVID Virus attack and lockdown everywhere, we are all feeding on the news we get from WhatsApp. All sorts of precautions and medicines and other means are being propagated. Some are true some don’t make sense at all. I have come across at least 5-6 conspiracy theories on who started the spread of Coronavirus. All of them cannot be true.

Let’s not be the educated illiterate. Let’s not fuel this fake news industry. They want us to fall prey to their designs. Let’s not be the graduates of ‘University of WhatsApp’. We need to be alert. Verify everything before forwarding on social media. If its not possible to verify please do not forward it. 

For latest news and updates follow only the News Channels. Please don’t propagate false information. Maybe we realise that its only a rumour or story going around but someone somewhere  out there is believing this to be true. And irreversibly changing his/her mindset.

PSSST…!

lolo

Authenticity has always been an issue in a country like India, simply because with over a billion people – you’re always gonna get ‘different versions’ of the original – be it a message, product or simply a service rendered.

What to believe? How much to believe? Even if we see something in-front of our very own eyes, at times one can’t trust them either.

The topic today is about ‘Spreading Rumors’, something that we are all very well versed with. Starts as early as in our schooling days and well…goes on, doesn’t it? 

“We think we have it under control, but we never do – do we?”

Have we at any time spread a rumor? – an innocent one surely, a time when we didn’t even know what the word meant. Yes! we all have, but the idea is to stop the spread of rumor and teach it to our children too because it could (in most cases) only end up damaging someone’s career/life all together.

In the year 2020, we’re definitely wiser – not all of us fall into the ‘I-believe-everything’ category – that would be plain foolish to believe everything we see, hear and also feel. “Feel” – yes, emotions are right up there too.

There are of-course reasons why people indulge in such trivial activities. It could be.. to be part of a certain group, feel superior/or to be in control to others (now don’t people love doing that?) jealousy, revenge or simply to gain attention from people.

Is it a healthy practice? No way. Nothing good can ever be achieved by doing so.

38 years of existence in this world and I’ve never found another’s life as exciting as to talk about it, like/dislike or even have anything to do with it. So technically, if there’s nothing to talk about, the question of rumors don’t even remotely apply. Then, there are people who I meet, whose sole motive in life is to talk about other people and in the process may/maybe spread false news about them.

People lead their lives their way, do things as they wish, see people they want to, indulge in activities they feel right. Some get away with a lot of luck, others don’t.

How does it affect another person to pass a judgement and to say how right or how wrong they’re living their lives. Please! AVOID!

Recently I met a colleague I had worked with a few years ago, and as two people meeting after a long time – it is expected that they need to share information about life, common friends, colleagues etc. Only this time…she had me on the other side and I don’t normally feed on such kind of talk. She went ahead to tell me about her personal life stories, stories about the boss we once worked under, the colleagues we worked with etc. I’m sure 90% of all that was BULL. After some time she realized that she wasn’t getting any kind of reaction from me, she said she was getting late, shook hands and said goodbye. 

So you see… that wasn’t too hard now, was it? If I can do it, so can you. But, WILL YOU?

Doesn’t the word “PRIVATE” mean something to you? If it does – you would know best that keeping to yourself is sometimes the best gift we can give ourselves..and to others to an extent.

Rumors especially, spread faster than any other authentic information – simply on the principal of: what goes into a rumor is interestingly parceled and told to another person using different tone variations, specifically picked out chosen verbs and the right mix of adjectives, which of course when heard sounds so much nicer – obviously and short enough to evoke a curiosity of a ‘tell-me-more’ kind of situation.

Facts/authentic information on the other hand sound very normal and drab.

The next time you find yourself in the middle of an exchanging information session (a fancy label for what we locally call gossip)Think! are you being a part of spreading a rumor? or just part of a healthy conversation. That said, we all know there isn’t nothing called as a healthy conversation.. we’re always including people’s stories and sorry to say, but most of them aren’t healthy at all!

STOP the Rumors! Discuss recipes, apps on your phone or even about the last novel you read. Educate others.