BY Kaylah Kislan
What happens when people are unable to make sense of an ambiguous situation? How far will people go to further strengthen their social ties by pitting peers against one another? How far is too far? Will the truth have any value in a place where rumors and gossip run rampant?
The past two weeks have been filled with rumors and gossip throughout the halls of our school. This shouldn’t be of surprise to anyone. After all, we are in high school. We all know that once we’re out of here, all of the gossip and rumors will cease, right? Or so we thought. But it turns out, no matter your demographic, you will encounter these things, inevitably. Which made me think, why?
Everyone knows it takes a fool to believe completely unverified statements. So why does it happen? Even when you know those statements haven’t been verified, and even seem preposterous, doubt creeps into the back of your mind like a plant, solidifying its roots. You gather all of the information you can, and just like that, you find a group of people who are trying to do the same thing you are; bring sense to a situation. Surely you’ve seen it before. “I heard” turns into “Well, I heard.” Sooner or later, people are on a witch hunt for the truth, and will burn anyone who stands in the way at the stake.
Psychologically speaking and according to Socialpsychonline.com, people hold on to rumors in order to give them some idea about why things are happening the way they are. Rumors only spread when the information being stated appears to be “instrumentally relevant.” When someone creates answers to questions that are relevant to a large group, for example a high school, people are more willing to believe information that hasn’t been verified.
In my opinion, why we spread rumors is no different than why we study science or mathematics. In the end, we’re trying to make sense of it all. Hopefully, people become more aware of the credibility in statements and less centered around creating something to believe.