Hot shower, tea with honey, apple pie with whipped cream – what could be better? Half of the Enemies of Enlightenment read and I am feeling good about myself. A girl in the TV who sounds like me. I have started to like documentaries. I am feeling happy this evening.
I started to think about what I wrote earlier today. About rumours and spreading them. Is it enough to mention that a thing is a rumour, if you pass it on anyway? Especially as publicly (potentially) as here. Is one allowed to trust in the readers and their capability to question and weigh things for themselves? There have always been people who believe that something is true if it is written down. No matter if it is written critically and questioned, they still think that there must be an essence of truth behind it. In this one may safely assume that the human nature is not very quick to change.
Does that mean that the writer must always take responsibility for those of her/his readers who do not read critically? Maybe it is not possible to answer that categorically one way or the other. One has to weigh the reasons behind spreading rumours with the consequences that accepting them uncritically or misunderstanding them can cause. The reasons, the intent can also mean the difference between spreading rumours and discussing them. It is impossible to judge the validity or invalidity of the rumour without investigating the arguments for and against its truthfulness. If you do not do that, then we are closer to just spreading rumours and in order for that to be acceptable, the reasons behind the action have to be acceptable as well.
...The cat IS interested in the animals on TV. There’s a program on about smuggling of dogs or something like that and she is watching it again. How weird. And I’m weird because I feel guilty changing the channel when the cat is watching the dog-program...
Yeah, but back to rumours. Is it enough that one’s intent is not malicious in spreading rumours? That is such an easy excuse: “I didn’t really mean anything bad by it...” No, I suppose that’s not enough. What then constitutes an acceptable reason? It is very difficult to speak of spreading knowledge when passing on rumours, since the accuracy of the facts is questionable in the first place. One may perhaps speak of spreading information, since information does not have to be correct. That is not really an answer though, since what is spreading rumours by that kind of definition other than spreading information. So again it is acceptable only if your intentions are acceptable.
One of the most important reasons for spreading rumours in the sense of gossiping is said to be the strengthening of a group’s solidarity. But what about spreading rumours when there is no social group? Or is there always one, even if it is an imaginary one? Do we create the group in our mind, even when its existence is not apparent?
Does any of this lead anywhere? Except the moral lesson that one ought to be more careful when talking about things, which accuracy one is not sure of.