Great Youtube channels

I thought I’d talk about some Youtube channels I think are rather good. In keeping with my site’s theme, they’re a bit of a mixed bunch, so I hope readers find something of interest in the following. I’ve added links to the channels and an example of each. They’re not listed in any order of preference.

The Great War

If you’re a history buff, this is a fantastic channel. The concept is that, starting back in 2014, the creators posted a video every week talking about what happened during the war, week by week on the hundredth anniversary of these events. They also post specials where they go into more depth on various topics, do presentations onsite at places such as Gallipoli, and answer questions from the viewers. The presenter Indy Naidell is knowledgeable and entertaining, and the supporting producers and researchers make this channel very worthwhile. I’ve never previously known more than the basics about World War One, as my history interests tend to be further back, but I have found this endlessly fascinating.

Click on the link below to check it out.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUcyEsEjhPEDf69RRVhRh4A

 

Simon’s Cat

As a long-time cat person (you can see a picture of my two fur kids on my ‘About’ page), I love this channel. If you have a cat, you will enjoy this. Even if you don’t, it’s still a lot of fun. It’s an animated series about a white cat and his human, Simon, and it’s hilarious! The animator owns four cats and bases his stories on the way they behave and the things they do. It’s funny and sweet, it’s beautifully drawn and presented, and it’s guaranteed to make you smile. I urge you to go and watch this.

https://www.youtube.com/user/simonscat/featured

 

One hundred years of cinema

This features another great love of mine – film. The channel works through the history of cinema one year at a time, usually referencing a movie the makers feel illustrates the development of film as an art. The channel is currently up to 1939, and it is a great walk through some fantastic old film that will give the dedicated film buff a trip down memory lane. It has the added advantage of introducing films that the younger viewer may not know. If you love cinema and cinematic history, this is worth watching.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbM9iT_PqBCUOQdaREDAP3g/featured

 

The Honest Guys

If you are under stress, under pressure, needing to find a way to relax, meditation may be helpful. If you are anything like me (easily distracted) guided meditation is the way to go. You’ll find a million channels on Youtube offering this, so I’ll tell you why I like this one. I think their meditations are more imaginative than most. The word pictures they paint are very evocative and make it easy to immerse yourself in the visualisation. Also, they do fantasy meditations! For lovers of fantasy, you can find yourself in Middle Earth meeting elves or hobbits, you can visit with fairies or meet a unicorn, enter ancient temples or fly between worlds. I have been following their channel for some years now and I’ve received endless benefit from it. Go watch this channel for a good dose of peace.

https://www.youtube.com/user/TheHonestGuys/featured

 

Welcome to Night Vale

How can I describe this? It’s a comic podcast that tells the story of a fictitious town called Night Vale where every conspiracy theory and urban legend you can possibly think of is true. Each episode is formatted as a broadcast from the town’s radio station. It is funny, creepy, nonsensical, surreal … completely bonkers. I suspect it’s not for everyone, but hey, try it out. You might hate it, or not get it, but if you like it, it becomes quite addictive.

https://www.youtube.com/user/WelcometoNightVale/feed

The plan

Once upon a time there was a country where a group of people had been selected by the rest of the people to be in charge. (The rest of the people may have made a big mistake doing this, but that’s another story.) Anyway, this group could be identified in various ways. They all dressed the same, spoke in the same way (usually no more than three words at a time, repeated incessantly, that would bear little relevance to anything in the real world), earned the same astronomical amounts of money and had accounts in the same offshore tax havens. Sometimes they would try to pretend they were different from each other by disagreeing, but they always did things the same way in the end.

Now these people had two aims: to get even more money than they currently had, and to enable all the people they knew (other people with lots of money) to get more money as well. They needed to hang onto their power to make this happen, and they discovered that their power might be in danger of being taken away. They tried to control how much information the rest of the people had about what they were getting up to, and they pretended that bad things meant good things when they had to tell people something. But the problem was that the rest of the people had other ways of talking to each other, and the ones who found out about the bad things would go around and tell everybody.

So the group in charge concocted a plan. They passed a law to make it illegal for anyone to say bad things about them. They said that if bad things were said then this put the country in danger, and it destroyed the country’s reputation. They said anyone who said bad things was bad themselves, and they should be put in jail.

The law was passed. And the bad things got worse. And anyone who said anything about it was sent to jail. Bad things got more bad, and everyone was too scared to say.

 

This is not long ago and far away. This is now, and it is closer than you think.  What is your government up to? Do you know?

 

References

https://www.crikey.com.au/2018/06/12/list-of-evidence-that-australia-is-becoming-a-police-state/

 

http://thebigsmoke.com.au/2018/06/30/silencing-dissent-government-moves-ban-gatherings/

 

https://theaimn.com/lesson-one-dont-dob-on-the-government/

 

 

 

 

 

The Law of Attraction – the narcissist’s handbook

We’ve all heard about the law of attraction. What you put out, you get back. You attract what you are inside of you. If you are positive the world will be positive. We are told things like ‘this is a universal law’. There will be a lot of talk about energy, and karma, and so on.

I believe this notion to be, of all the pop psychology ideas being bandied about these days, the most pernicious. There are many ways in which it is wrong, some of which I will list.

  • This idea is based on the notion that like attracts like. This and similar statements are meant to make you believe that this is all very scientific. It has, however, been widely debunked and has absolutely no basis in scientific fact.
  • Apparently if you believe as if you already have something, it will happen. No work is required. Some proponents will even tell you that effort is not necessary. Why would anyone believe this? I am not sure.
  • Because you need to avoid everything negative (only positive vibes allowed) this includes challenges. You must avoid challenge because challenge is stress and stress is negative.
  • To show faith in the universe and live as if you have achieved your goal, you are essentially living in a fake future that does not exist. Lose your belief in this reality and you will lose your goal. Does this not sound like a delusion?

 

 

Of course, this is all very extreme. Many people do not take this to the extremes that are mentioned here. They will tell you that this is not what it’s all about. But what they will tell you, what you will find all over the internet, is this – you must guard yourself against the negative. Disassociate yourself from negative people, and surround yourself only with positive people. Where this runs into danger is what is being defined as negativity.

Negativity is being defined as anything bad. If you know someone who is ill, avoid them. They have attracted the illness due to their negative thoughts and apparently you can catch the negativity and get ill yourself that way. If the person is mentally ill, avoid them. Negativity has resulted in their condition and you must avoid them to protect yourself. Has someone in your life had an accident, lost their job, had a failed relationship? Negativity strikes again. They are immediately labelled a negative person and you don’t need that in your life. The only way anything negative happens if the person who experienced this attracted it via mysterious and unverifiable negative energy. The people who think this way have apparently failed to notice that they are blaming the victim. If something bad happens to you, it’s your fault. You attracted it by not being positive enough. In a world full of suffering, where so many people are in poverty, in need, in war zones, displaced, sick, and so on, do we really need a philosophy that encourages people to live in a ‘positive’ bubble that ignores any pain beyond the end of their own nose? Do we really want to be discouraging empathy, to be encouraging narcissism?

 

Another issue of this, is of course, that this nonsense takes people into self-hatred. According to this, positivity always attracts more positivity, with no exceptions. That means that if you do not miraculously achieve your goals, or if something bad happens to you, then you aren’t positive enough. You face the sole responsibility for everything that happens to you. And you are going to fail, of course, leaving anyone silly enough to believe this nonsense in a state of self-blame and self-loathing.

 

There will be a million statements insisting this is all true. The placebo effect and confirmation bias can account for them. In my opinion, such notions encourage disconnection, disillusion, delusion, lack of empathy, and mental distress. Live presently, not in some fantasy future. Attend to what is going on now. We should all strive for betterment, but the key word here is strive. Don’t make believe, don’t fantasize, work for what you want, and take pleasure in what is real. It’s an imperfect world, but there is much to take pleasure in.

 

 

Reference

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_attraction_(New_Thought)

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-blame-game/201609/the-truth-about-the-law-attraction

Beauty on the wall

My local art gallery is currently hosting the most wonderful exhibition, of Impressionist art on loan from the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. Last week I went to see it, and i spent a couple of hours lost in appreciation of over 65 works of exquisite beauty.

 

Impressionism is a 19th-century art movement characterised by relatively small, thin, yet visible brush strokes, open composition, emphasis on accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities (often accentuating the effects of the passage of time), ordinary subject matter, inclusion of movement as a crucial element of human perception and experience, and unusual visual angles. Impressionism originated with a group of Paris-based artists whose independent exhibitions brought them to prominence during the 1870s and 1880s.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impressionism

 

When I see an Impressionist painting I see a depiction of a moment rather than a scene, where the emotion of the artist is as important as what is being depicted. in a sense we are not seeing what they saw, but what they were thinking or feeling when they saw it, a depiction of a mental landscape as much as a physical one. These depictions of light and colour were truly breathtaking,  I’ve selected a few of the pictures to give a cross-section of the exhibition.

imp 1 la neige Charles-Francois Daubigny

(La Neige, Charles-Francois Daubigny)

Daubigny was not an Impressionist, but his work has been considered a precursor to Impressionism. He was acquainted with both Monet and Cezanne, and he was considered to have had an influence on their work This painting, ‘Snow’, I find to be beautifully bleak. The bare trees in the middle of the snowy field, the birds, the grey sky, all give an air of silence, and cold. You can imagine that you would hear only the wind and the calling of the birds, and even this would be muffled in the snow. It is the dead of winter, and warmth is a distant memory. The eye is drawn to the central tree and its bare branches. Are the birds arriving or leaving? They will find no shelter there. Other than a slight tinge of red in the clouds the picture is virtually monochrome. It is stark and it is bare. I love this.

imp 2 un coin d'appartement Claude Monet

(Un coin d’appartement, Claude Monet)

Oscar-Claude Monet was one of the founders of the Impressionism movement. He was committed to the idea of the artist painting their perceptions of nature rather than merely the image. This painting, ‘A corner of the apartment’, is a marvellous depiction of light and shade. Look at the reflection of light off the floor, interrupted by the shadow cast by the boy. The expertise of this rendered me quite speechless when I saw it. ‘Wow’ (the only word my brain supplied me with at the time) seems hardly adequate. Note the adult figure to the left of the child, barely visible in the shadows. The chandelier at the top is unlit. Is it late afternoon, nearly time to light the lamps? The curtains and plants that frame the picture make the scene almost like a stage set, as if the curtain has just opened on a play, or maybe just about to close. This picture is endlessly interesting.

 

imp 3 le chateau des papes paul signac

(Le Chateau des Papes, Paul Signac)

Paul Signac was a neo-Impressionist. Influenced by Georges Seurat, he began to use the technique known as Pointilism, using dots of pure colour which blend in the viewer’s perception rather than on the canvas. It was the colour that first drew my eyes to ‘Palace of the Popes’. The pinks, purples and blues do blend in the eye to indicate sunset. Flecks of pink at the lower part of the painting hint at a watery reflection. Like a photo that’s been blown up too far, this kind of art pixellates on too close observation. But step back and view it as a whole, and you will find beauty.

imp 4 route d'ennery Camille Pissarro

(Route d’Ennery, Camille Pissarro)

Camille Pissarro was both an Impressionist and neo-Impressionist painter, and he is noted for being the only artist to show his work at all eight of the Paris Impressionist exhibitions. He was a pivotal figure in the movement and something of a father figure to post-Impressionist such as Cezanne and Van Gogh. I like ‘The Road to Ennery’ because it’s nice. That’s probably not the most exciting description, but I think there’s a lot to be said for peaceful art. Pissarro made a point of painting regular people in their day to day lives, and here you see exactly that, a peaceful country lane with people going about their business. Which way is Ennery, I wonder? Is the man with the sack heading that way, or is it the couple in the cart? Are the women travelling to Ennery, or maybe they’re just on a shorter journey between one farm and the next? It looks like a fine day to be out and about, anyway, and a beautiful country to walk through. Do the people notice the beauty, or are they, like so many of us, too wrapped up in their business to look around them? It’s a soothing picture.

imp 5 clair de lune sur le port de boulogne edouard manet

(Clair de Lune sur la Porte du Boulogne, Edouard Manet)

Edouard Manet was not an Impressionist, but he was pivotal in the transition from realism to impressionism by his painting of modern, ‘ordinary’ life. ‘Moonlight over Boulogne Harbour’ is a beautiful work in its depiction of moonlight, clear without it feeling artificial. The boats are merely shadows, an almost ghostly backdrop for the women in the foreground. A few men stand in the shadows, possibly observing the women. It is unclear what the women are doing (working? Waiting for a boat to arrive?) but they do seem to be the main focus of the picture as they are in the best light. i like this because it feels a bit mysterious. The moonlight playing over the women and the water contrasts severely with the shadowy boats and men. What are they waiting for? So many questions.

 

The exhibition is called ‘Colours of Impressionism’ and will be at the Art Gallery of South Australia until 29 July 2018. If you’re in the vicinity do see it, because it’s wonderful.

Thank God He doesn’t always say yes to prayer.

Can you imagine what it would be like if all your prayers were answered? For those who don’t pray, how about if all your wishes came true? Sounds good, doesn’t it? however, if you stop and really think about everything you’ve ever wished for, yearned for, prayed for, would that really be a good thing?

I was mulling over the various things I’d prayed long and hard for over the years. On the bright side, answered prayers would mean I’d be completely healthy, wealthy, and wise. I would have energy, and I would be able to cope with anything, and get things done. So far so good.

However, I would be in a relationship with a narcissistic jerk (but I thought I was in looovvve!!!) Two members of my immediate family would be dead, not to mention sundry acquaintances (it’s amazing how fervently you can wish for that kind of thing when you’re angry.) Not to mention I’d be famous (is that so bad? I’ll get back to that.)

What we pray for at one stage of our life we won’t want later. Human beings are ruled by our emotions, and we want all sorts of stuff based on emotion and immaturity. The child you wants to play, so please God I don’t want to go to school. The teenage you is so sure that you will love certain people forever! Please God bring him/her back! The adult you may realise that education was necessary and the love interest was an idiot, but injury and anger can still have you wishing ill on those who hurt you. When your anger wanes, you understand that you might be furious, but you don’t really want any person to come to harm. However, we continue to long for validation at any and every age.

On the third point, I think we are very influenced by our environment regarding the need for approval. When you’re young you think the only people worth anything are the popular people, the outgoing people, the ‘life of the party’ people. That’s what you aspire to. It took me years to work out that my introversion was not a crime, or an aberration, but a perfectly normal and acceptable part of me.

I wanted to be a famous actress when I was young. I enjoyed acting, and I did some amateur theatre. Now I think of what famous people go through, with all the scrutiny and fickle cruelty of the media and the fans, and I shudder. It must be hideous to feel that you can’t go out in public without being perfect, and to be fearful that even in private someone may be peeking, looking. Can you imagine eyes always on you? Some people seem to thrive on attention, but I have never been one of those people.

I suppose if there’s a moral to all this, it is that what you think you want is not always what you need. You need to trust God (or the universe, or chance) that those desires that don’t turn out for the best will not be fulfilled. This can be confusing when you are longing for something that you can’t see would be a bad thing (better health, in my case). I try to trust (and I struggle with this) that there is a reason for everything and God knows what He is doing.

 

 

 

Review “Jurassic World”

By the time I had finished wading through this mess, ‘dear god what did I just watch’ was my conclusion.

Fans of the original “Jurassic Park” will be forgiven for a feeling of déjà vu when watching this, and I don’t mean this in a good way. The plot is virtually identical to the original, except with more monsters, more extras to run away screaming, and more gore to line up with current audience expectations. There are two children, an adult who doesn’t much like children, the obligatory baddy who wants to exploit the dinosaurs and ended up being munched on by one, and the stupid rich guy with more money than brains.

The allegedly military bad guy was painfully cliché, and Vincent D’Onofrio, the actor who portrayed him, is worthy of much better material than he was provided with here. The colossal and obvious short-sightedness of the character is something of a standard in action movies, and while I haven’t met any military types myself I would question whether they are really this dumb, as surely such foolishness would get you killed quickly in a war zone. The rich owner of the park is equally cliché, demanding bigger and better dinosaurs to increase his audience and then scratching his head about why it all goes wrong.

This leads to the (unintentionally) funniest moment in the movie. Why, demands rich guy of (equally cliché) scientist, did you make such an unstoppable monster? I didn’t authorise this!

Yes, you did, responds the scientist. You wanted something larger, scarier, more teeth, to bring in the public.

Either this movie was being surprisingly self-referential or (more probably) unintentionally ironic. Because that statement is this movie in a nutshell. Even if it was deliberate, alluding to your own repetitiveness with a wink at your audience does not save your movie. It just leaves the audience rolling its collective eyes going ‘yes, we know!’

The greatest tragedy of this movie is the subplot, because the subplot of the velociraptors’ relationship with their human trainer should have been the main plot. This was interesting. This I wanted to see.  Instead it was given little attention and was left in the shadow of the big nasty (dull)  mega-monster. Velociraptor language and society was hinted at but not explored. This was the movie we should have been watching, and instead we saw a mere shadow of what might have been.

I would have to give this a big thumbs down. A lot of flash and special effects, but not much substance.

 

 

 

 

 

Why I like craft

This is not going to turn into a craft expert blog, basically because I’m no expert. But that’s not important, because that’s not why I do it.

Making something with your own hands is extremely therapeutic. We live in a world where everything is pre-made, pre-packaged, and just handed to us. While I am as much a lover of technology as the next person (can’t live without my internet), there’s something very soothing in putting together an item with your own hands, whether it be baking, carpentry, crochet (my personal favourite), drawing, or writing (my other favourite).

When you are planning, you use your imagination. You picture your ideal product, and what it should look like. With something like crochet, you choose the colours you want, and the yarn. What texture are you after? I think how a crocheted item feels will be as important as how it is going to look.

Are you creating for yourself or as a gift for someone? What do they need? What would they want? What colour suits them? I love giving gifts anyway, and there’s something about designing the gift that is very exciting.

The act of creation can be soothing, sometimes challenging, but always fun. For example, my current project included a (crochet) stitch that I had not previously heard of and did not know how to do. Google gave me a website with the appropriate instructions, and I was able to proceed. This also means I have learned something new to add to my knowledge on the subject, which is always fun. Once I have what I need to proceed, then it’s time to do the work. As the project grows, you start to get more of a picture of how it’s going to be, and you can start to anticipate how the recipient is going to respond. I am making a shawl for my mother who is constantly complaining about being cold, and I am already very excited about how much she is going to like it.  The act of making in itself can be very healthy, especially if (like me) you are prone to stress and anxiety. While I am working, I am focused on the project, and there is no room for other concerns. Mindfulness has become a bit of a catch-phrase these days, but it is very true of this kind of exercise. While I work, I am in the moment. Nothing else matters.

But maybe, what you have made has not worked out. You might see a picture of the proposed end product, and what you have done doesn’t look anything like it. Isn’t this a recipe for stress and unhappiness? Well, only if you allow it to be. It can be disappointing, but really, it can also be good for a laugh. And as we are always being told, a failure can be a stepping stone to success.

When you have finished, you have something that has come from you, your heart, your soul, your hands. You have taken raw materials and moulded them into something new, something useful, or beautiful, or both. If it is a gift, it is a gift that is given with work and with love. You have nothing to lose by trying, and the benefits are enormous.

 

Late bloomers

A late bloomer is a person whose talents or capabilities are not visible to others until later than usual. The term is used metaphorically to describe a child or adolescent who develops slower than others in their age group, but eventually catches up and in some cases overtakes their peers, or an adult whose talent or genius in a particular field only appears later in life than is normal – in some cases only in old age.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Late_bloomer

 

Have you been called a late bloomer? I have. It’s usually a euphemism for ‘she’s a bit slow, isn’t she?’ Late learners or bloomers are those who are not doing the expected things in life by the expected times. We have such expectations of ourselves and each other. Everything seems to have a time limit on it, including personal development. Children have their ‘developmental milestones’, leaving parents stressed and worried if the child takes a bit longer to do something. After puberty, adolescents are supposed to act in a certain way and want certain things (to conform, to want sex, to experiment), and those who don’t act in this way are mercilessly teased by their peers as being ‘weird’ or ‘losers’. Adults are supposed to follow certain rules and want certain things, marriage, children, careers, money and so on. If they don’t follow this process again they are seen as odd, and are told they need to ‘grow up’.

We are obsessed with time. We live our lives by the clock, calculating our expectations by the years we’ve lived. Why? Does it matter if we work at 20 and study at 60? Does it matter if we marry at 20 or 90? Does it matter if we have kids early or late? Travel when we’re young or when we’re old? Do we have to get told we’re having a ‘mid-life crisis’ if we decide to do something at 50 that you’re ‘supposed’ to do at 25?

Maybe what we need to do is redefine this a bit. Maybe a late bloomer should be defined as a person who is not in a hurry, who does not feel the need to experience everything too soon, who takes their time and savors every moment of his or her life. Living in the moment has become something of a cliché in recent times, but I believe that cliches often become so because they are true. We need to be in less of a hurry, and we need to understand that we can order our life in whatever way works for us. We need to remember that we are all individuals, each with our own values and goals, and we can do what we like when we’re ready, not when someone else says we’re supposed to be ready.

I am a late bloomer, and proud of it. (Maybe I should put this on a t-shirt?)

 

 

Bullying – why does it happen?

As long as people have been around, there have been bullies, and their victims. We like to think that we are becoming more civilized, but some things never seem to change, in spite of laws and rules of conduct. I believe that there are certain aspects of human behaviour that are so deeply ingrained that we may never be free of them.

A worker is moved into a new team, and is told constantly by her new supervisor that her work is not up to scratch. No examples are given. One day the supervisor insists that everything she did the previous day is wrong. She goes over everything with a fine tooth comb and can prove in black and white that this is not the case. She presents her findings to her supervisor, who rejects the evidence  and continues to insist that the work is wrong. So the worker reports her to the manager for bullying. The manager moves her back to her old team, but tells her that the supervisor will not be reprimanded. The manager, and the supervisor of the old team, then start to tell the employee that her work is not up to scratch. No examples are given, and they have always been happy with her work before the complaint. Having nowhere to get help and becoming more and more distressed, the employee resigns.

Why do people become bullies? Well, let’s start with culture. Western culture makes an idol out of winning and power. Film, TV, and other media teaches that power through violence is a good thing.  While I don’t think this kind of input can turn a person into a thief or a murderer in itself, I believe it can foster an acceptance of certain attitudes and behaviours, numbing us to things that would normally shock us. Media can also teach that the loud person gets the attention, further encouraging aggressive behaviour. Institutional culture can also affect this. If it is obvious that there would be no consequences for bullying in a workplace or school it is more likely to happen. In work places people promoted into managerial positions without appropriate training and oversight can get excited with the power, and become bullies. An abused child often becomes a bully, learning from the abusive parent that this is the correct way to get what you want.

Why are people bullied? A person can be seen as having a vulnerability to be exploited such as lack of assertiveness, being too tolerant, very forgiving, deferential and wanting approval, and so on. Someone who reports bullying can be targeted further simply for speaking up. A victim can become a target sometimes because they are too good. Their performance and personal demeanour can show up the bully and make them jealous. Then there are also the old reasons for harassment and discrimination – race, gender, disability, religion, and physical appearance.

All the laws in the world are not going to fix this. Bullies can be clever and subtle, and evade any consequences that way. Protections for victims are only as full-proof as the people who are supposed to be doing something about it. When it is your boss who is the bully, and you can’t risk losing your job, where is there to go?

What’s the solution? That’s hard to say. Education would be a good start, and by this I mean education in schools. If children can be taught that this is not the way to resolve problems, if they can be taught in a way that will override the overwhelming messages to the contrary, then maybe as adults they will behave with courtesy and integrity.

The cynic in me believes this to be a pipe dream. The dreamer in me hopes that one day human beings will learn to be nice to each other. I live in hope.

 

 

Why do people gossip?

Gossip is a bad word. We shake our heads and do not approve. So why do we do it?

There are a lot of reasons given for gossip. In some contexts, gossip can be seen as positive. In the work place it can keep lines of communication open, foster a sense of community, and helps with bonding. Some experts claim it can be good for our emotional health. Most people seem to have a fascination in other people’s lives. This is why gossip magazines, reality tv, and even Facebook are so popular.

However, there is the dark side of gossip that creates a problem. Often the people starting these rumours are craving approval, and being the source of gossip feeds their need for attention. A person who has been the victim of some form of nastiness from a colleague and does not have the courage to respond directly, can resort to gossip for revenge. Sometimes it can rise from a lull in conversation. People seem to be scared of silence – it feels awkward, uncomfortable. Something needs to be said to fill the space, so ‘did you hear about …’ can be an easy way to get the conversation ball rolling. It will then be taken up by others who want to belong, to be part of the group. Don’t we all want to belong?

Discussing another person’s shortcomings, however accurately, can create immense problems and are quite divisive in a work setting. I’m sure most people would be able to cite examples of this. I have on a few occasions seen gossip divide a work place into sides, and even cause employees to resign in order to get away from what can easily become bullying. (The topic of bullying opens a whole new can of worms.)

Once I found out that there was a story going around that I was habitually smoking marijuana. Why? Well, because I am a relatively laid-back, calm kind of person. Apparently it is impossible to be so calm and therefore I must have chemical assistance. I found this funny, because it was ridiculous, and I knew if my boss ever heard about it he would know it was ridiculous too. Consider, however, if the boss had been the type to believe things like this. Rumours like this, if believed, could put a person under suspicion or even result in someone losing their job.

How can it be stopped? Well it can’t, not really. People have the right to talk to each other and one person’s gossip is another person’s casual conversation. Let’s face it, people talk, and they will always talk. It really comes down to self-control and self-censorship. Think about what you are saying that might hurt someone, think about what you are saying that might be used against you. Personally, if I hear a ‘juicy rumour’ it stops with me. I’m not sharing.