Cultural Cannibalism

Cultural Cannibalism

We're infected by a bloodthirsty disease.
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Gossip is defined by Dictionary.com as "idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others." If you Google the word, you can get a sense of just how obsessed our culture is with it. When I searched it, out of the fourteen results that appeared on the first page, nine of them were media sites devoted to spreading rumors and gossip about celebrities. Our society loves gossip. Why? Because, quite frankly, it’s interesting. It’s intriguing. We want to compare our lives to others. And when those others are celebrities we have no personal connection to, the complete destruction of their reputation can be fun to watch.

For some (and by some, I mean most), the gossip doesn’t stop with celebrities. In fact, most gossip is started and spread among friends. Because what’s more fun than sharing the destruction of someone you’ve never met? Spreading the ruin of someone you would call a friend, of course. We are a society of cannibals. Our hunger and thirst may not be for literal blood, but the metaphorical bloodshed that gossip creates is just as bad.

Why do we do it? And I say “we” because we all do. Some of us struggle with it more than others, but everyone has spread gossip of some form or another at some point in their life. And for many, it’s a constant habit. So why do we attack those we pretend are our friends? Our own insecurities and shame. Bitterness and jealousy. The shock. Everyone loves a good scandal, right? We get high on the rush of horror that it must be true. We find shallow fulfillment in that old trick of tearing someone else down to make ourselves feel better. We’re bloodthirsty for pride and self-approval and what better way to feed those things than through the broken reputation of our so-called friends?

Gossip is a disease. It’s a corruption of truth and, quite honestly, morals. It’s selfish. It’s prideful. It’s contagious. One twist of the truth rarely stops after coming out of just one mouth. Rumors are wildfire, spreading and growing rapidly. And it takes a long time to put them out, too. A few small words have incredible destructive power.

I wonder what the world would look like if we all decided to fight that disease. What would the world look like if everyone decided to give up their insecurities and their pride and be honest? What would it look like if we all learned to keep our mouths shut? It would certainly be a quieter world. And more peaceful, too.

So why don’t we? Why don’t we give up something that’s only hurting, you know, everyone? I wish it was as simple as everyone deciding to stop and think before they speak, to consider the implications of their words and the motives of their heart. It’s not. I wish it was. But, it’s not. Gossip is a disease that takes over the mouth by infecting the heart. And the heart is a very hard thing to cleanse. In fact, it’s impossible for anyone to do it of their own power. That power belongs to God and God alone. He created us to love, but sin has corrupted our desires so that our love has become self-centered. But that’s exhausting. Watching others fall beneath the weight of twisted truth may be momentarily entertaining, but there is no lasting strength that comes from it. I want my strength to come from someone far greater than myself, someone far more pure, someone that is not corrupted by selfish ambitions. I’m giving up the cannibal life. I’m giving up my pride. I’m giving up my insecurities and turning to God for a redefining of love and a cleansing of heart so that my words may be few and true.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.punjabigraphics.com

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21 Lies College Students Tell Their Parents

I can almost guarantee that you have used at least five of these.

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Let's be honest. College is the best time of your life for a lot of reasons, and maybe you should not tell your mom all of them when she calls. I can almost guarantee that you have used at least five of these, and the others — maybe you should try next time!

1. "I can't talk now, I'm in the library."

Typically used when the student is too hungover to talk.

2. "Gotta go now, I'm walking into class."

Then hit play on Netflix.

3. "I think it might be food poisoning."

Was it the food, or all of that alcohol? Your symptoms sound more like a hangover to me.

4. "No, I didn't just wake up."

It is 4 p.m. and, yes, you did.

5. "I need more money for laundry and food."

Meaning, "I need more money for things I don't think you will give me money for."

6. "I never skip class!"

When we use this one, it usually does not refer to anything before 11 a.m.

7. "I studied all night for that test!"

If by "studied all night" you mean you watched TV shows in the library, then, yes, all night.

8. "Everyone failed that test."

And by everyone, I mean me and my friend who did not go to sleep until 3 a.m.

9. "I'm walking home from breakfast with my friends."

Yeah, OK. You are just lucky she cannot see last night's outfit and the high heels you are carrying. We know where you have been.

10. "Potbelly's is a restaurant."

I mean, they may sell tacos, but I'm not sure I would call it a restaurant.

11. "I go to Cantina's for the Nachos."

I hope that is not the only reason but, hey, you do you.

12. "The $40 charge on the card from last Saturday? That was for school supplies!"

Yeah, right. It was for a new dress.

13. "Nobody goes out on weeknights, especially not me."

We all know grades come first, right?

14. "I can't remember the last time I went out!"

Literally.

15. "I make my bed regularly"

About as often as I clean the bathroom.

16. "I did not say 'Margarita Monday,' I said I went to 'Margaret's on Monday'!"

Following the use of this lie, do not post any pictures on social media of you with a margarita.

17. "I use my meal plan, and eat in the dining hall all the time."

As you scarf down Chick-fil-A.

18. "I eat healthy!"

For those without a meal plan who have to grocery shop on their own, we all know you spend $2 on a 12-pack of Ramen noodles and the rest on a different kind of 12-pack.

19. "No, I don't have a fake ID."

OK, "John Smith," and where exactly in Wyoming are you from?

20. "I'm doing great in all of my classes."

We use this one because you cannot see our grades online, anymore.

21. "I did not wait until the last minute to start on this."

We all know that if you start a paper before 10 p.m. the night before it is due, you are doing something wrong.

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To Love a Broken Vase — An Ode To Valentine's Day

"To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides." --David Viscott, How to Live with Another Person, 1974

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I remember an anecdote my elementary school teacher told us in the fifth grade. When a mother is pregnant with a child, they feel comfortable in their flesh. Provided with everything they needed to survive, they don't have to worry about anything. It's not until after they are born and the umbilical chord is severed that they realized they were not good enough, and insecurities fester.

I went through a similar process when I was growing up. Contained within my family and books, I felt like I held the world in my hands. It was not until high school where I seriously sought out others for company and wanted to apply myself to the social universe. And I saw myself changing in not only my behaviors, but how I see myself within the world.

With working hard to get good grades, with trying to get my driver's license, and becoming a better person overall, I realized the process involved a lot more effort than I ever had expected. And I found myself unprepared for the slow drudgery of it all. While I once pushed through to get things done, now I find myself giving up on projects while coming up with new ones. I frequently turned to my laptop for solace, as it kept my fantasies alive, but it also stole time away from me.

These behaviors showed in my relationships: I found it hard to meet up with friends, and my parents started worrying about what would my future look like. With the latter, I've had multiple conflicts with them, with me asserting I wanted to be free from everything, including accountability. Of course, that perception was quite unrealistic — to love and be loved, as well as to succeed, there has to a tug to know when you're doing something wrong.

***

A year ago, I wrote an article about how I saw romantic love from somebody who has never been in a relationship. Many things still apply today — I'm better off working towards my educational and career goals than seeking out love, though with Valentine's Day, it still fascinates me on whether or not I could be loved from somebody else.

From what I've heard from others, they would be charmed by my intelligence and kindness, neither fulfilling the stereotype of a nerd nor the perfect angel. However, the naivete would also put someone off, and potentially puts them in danger. I also see myself as the spontaneous type, but to the point where I forget where my priorities are, again making them worse than they really are. I imagine they would be intrigued by me as a friend or a lover, but end up breaking away after a short amount of time.

I don't imagine finding myself loving other people in the short term; however, I find myself open towards others. And that what makes me more afraid about how people view me--will they not be able to see the positives in myself when the time comes? Will they be just as capable of forgiving me the same way my family does?

At the end, I should take my friend's advice for Valentine's Day — love oneself. And take actions to make sure that I can love myself deeper and further.

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