Gossips: Small Minds And Mob Mentality

Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people: idle gossip was a favorite pastime in ancient Greece, as many historians have attested. People from all walks of life constantly indulged in sharing hearsay, rumors and half-truths. Slaves and low-status women without strong family connections could still use gossip as their only weapon against their enemies. This propensity to gossip in almost every member of society served to open up conduits between the weak and the strong, the rich and the poor, the master and the servant.

Interestingly, much of Western philosophy finds its basis in the thoughts and teachings of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. You can’t begin a study of world philosophy without talking about these guys: the Big Three ancient Greek philosophers. Socrates was a Greek philosopher who’s renowned for his contribution to the field of ethics. He is regarded as one of the most influential philosophers of the ancient era and is credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy. Please, find below the three filter test:-


In ancient Greece, Socrates (the famous philosopher) was visited by an acquaintance of his. Eager to share some juicy gossip, the man asked Socrates would he like to know the story he just heard about a friend of theirs. Socrates replied that before the man spoke, he needed to pass the “Triple Filter Test”.


The first filter, Socrates explained to his acquaintance, is truth.

“Have you made absolutely sure that what you were about to say is true?”

The man shook his head. “No, I actually just heard about it, and…” Socrates cut him off.

“You don’t know for certain that is true, then? Is what you want to say something good or kind?“

Again, the man should his head. “No! Actually. Just the opposite. You see…”

Socrates lifted his hand to stop the man speaking.

“So you are not certain that what do you want to say is true, and it isn’t good or kind. One filter still remains, though, so you may yet still tell me. That is usefulness or necessity. Is this information useful or necessary to me?”

A little defeated, the man replied, “No, not really.”

“Well, then,“ Socrates said, turning on his heel. “If what you want to say is neither true, nor good or kind, nor useful or necessary, please don’t say anything at all.”

Furthermore, gossip is idle talk or rumour, especially about the personal or private affairs of others; the act is also known as dishing or tattling. Gossip is a topic of research in evolutionary psychology, which has found gossip to be an important means for people to monitor cooperative reputations and so maintain widespread indirect reciprocity. Indirect reciprocity is a social interaction in which one actor helps another and is then benefited by a third party. Gossip has also been identified by Robin Dunbar, an evolutionary biologist, as aiding social bonding in large groups.

Permit me to conclude this article which seeks to discourage rumors, gossips and hatred as well as religious intolerance as we approach the 2023 general elections. In the words of Mark Twain “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, (crowd), It is time to pause and reflect.” When the great philosopher Albert Einstein said “I am afraid of idiots because of their numerical strength” and also the crowd that chorus crucify him…I am not in doubt about the true meaning of crowd, mob mentality and unwise majority.

It was the same triple evils of rumors gossips and hatred spread by Ex-US President Donald Trump that nearly burnt the American system, but not for the strong institutions. Trump watched last year’s Capitol riot on TV at the White House, ignoring his children and aides who “begged him” to rebuke the mob, a congressional inquiry has heard. “He chose not to act,” said Adam Kinzinger, one of two Republicans on the Democratic-led committee.

ARISE ‘O Compatriots


Richard Odusanya is a Social Reform Crusader and the convener of AFRICA COVENANT RESCUE INITIATIVE ACRI.

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