56 minutes | May 3, 2021

Episode #8: Gossip?

1:00  The last refuge of the unethical is “it’s not illegal”

The last refuge of the gossiper is “but it’s true” -- if it’s not true, it’s slander

The purpose of speech is to connect with others, and gossip uses speech to divide people and tear them apart

The biblical prohibition against gossip

4:00 Pope Francis: gossip tastes like candy but is poison: it denies the G-dliness in others

6:00 Different types of gossip cause different types of damage

How Aaron the High Priest used speech to bring people together

7:30  When good speech can be used to cause harm

Emo-terrorists and saboteurs

10:00 Guard Your Tongue by Rabbi Israel Meir Kagan

How much damage seemingly benign comments may cause

Negative speech must have some wider benefit

13:00 Complaining vs constructive criticism

Avoid the sense of entitlement that leads to complaining and gossip

15:00 The Hebrew for “gratitude” translates literally as “recognize the good” -- the key to happiness

16:00 Say what you need to say in a way that opens hearts, minds, and conversations

17:30 We try to make ourselves feel better about myself by tearing others down

Better to build myself up, but it’s easier to destroy than to build

If you feel unworthy, maybe you are: now what will you do about it?

20:00 Our “origin stories” make us who we are, but don’t exempt us from responsibility for our actions

23:00 Compassion is responding to a need: refined kindness, which is unfiltered giving

We all take turns between being amazing and awful

25:00 Reacting is easier than thinking

The sages teach: don’t speak ill of inanimate objects -- avoid behaviors that promote bad habits

27:00 We set higher standards for others than for ourselves, when we should do the opposite; but if we set standards too high then we set ourselves up for failure

Ethics requires grappling with contradictions

Often we don’t believe in our own value

29:00 The qualities of ETHICS

Empathy, Trustworthiness, Humility, Inquisitiveness, Courage, Self-discipline

32:00 The contrast between highs and lows allows for the experience of happiness

33:00 The four steps to avoid gossip

  1. Realize in the moment you are gossiping (would I want someone to be saying this about me?)
  2. Don’t ask leading questions (don’t cause trouble)
  3. Address the issue: turn the conversation in a constructive direction
  4. Offer a silent prayer

35:00 Make a cost-benefit analysis before you speak

37:00 The tongue and the lips: not everything that can be said should be said

38:00 Remembering Rabbi Abraham Twerski

Drugs are poison and should be thrown in the garbage.  Why do you think you are a proper receptacle for them?

40:00 We don’t have to like ourselves; we have to know that we were created the way we are for a reason and a purpose.

42:00 A change of environment can help us transform ourselves; a new sense of self-image can help us reidentify as better versions of ourselves

45:00 Gossip is a form of bullying

“The tyranny of the majority" and the fallacy of utilitarianism.

The platinum rule

48:00 Word of the day: petulant

Don’t indulge the impulse to complain and whine; an ethical mindset is a positive outlook

51:00 The head of the high court said he grew up among the sages and never found anything better for a person than silence

Don’t be afraid of silence

Think ahead to ask people about themselves


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