I would assume that when a person is gossiping with a group of friends, there is some part of the person's mind that instinctively warns the person that 'gossiping' is wrong. However, ignoring the instinct is as easy as eating potato chips when you are on a diet. You probably ignore it because you have cheated yourself into believing that you aren't as 'gossipy' as some people in your peer-group. And this brain-washed state gives you the latitude for some indulgence ( I have dieted/worked-out so much - a little potato chips can't hurt me) Every time human beings think some other person in their group is a "gossiper" - do they step-back and analyze themselves? Do they know that they are being perceived the same way just because they participated in the conversation without protesting? On the other hand, should you oppose gossip every time you encounter it? As an experiment if we arrange group structures in such a way that one member resists gossip, or says something against the phenomena of gossip, would the person be perceived as odd or weird? Will the oddness be accentuated if the person resists gossip in the context of a nascent friendship? Can that human being consistently resist gossip across different set of friend-groups? Will the person succumb in a more mature friend-group ( a group of best-friends). According to me 100% of humans will or have already succumbed to gossip. But only a minuscule (say around 0.1%) of those actually are actually self-aware because they take that step-back and do a self-analysis. A surprising number of people truly believe that they aren't gossipers. When clearly their actions indicate that they are. Confronting them is as futile as this post on gossip. It provides personal pleasure but no external change. I don't want to be judgemental and I am trying hard to phrase my words so that it doesn't sound judgemental (because by default people assume that anybody who writes about gossip is doing so to condemn it). I am just fascinated by the lure of other people's troubles. Why is another person's misery/handicap/failing so sexy? Other people's (lack of) intelligence, low grades, affairs, love-interest, past, accent, dressing-sense, hand-writing, cooking-skills, nail-cutting skills, dancing skills are such alluring topics to gossip about? It could be extremely insignificant, however, does the fact that gossip could lead to a 15-minute super conversation and a possible friendship (maybe a date or some sack time) make it so irresistible?
I am not so naive to write a post condemning gossip. I am also not stupid enough to believe that people who condemn 'bitching' never really bitch. It is an excellent candidate for being a fundamental instinct. Even the daily News, which is a N-billion dollar industry, is a sophisticated form of gossip. And discussing news is akin to gossiping. Forget the pretense we put out there to satisfy our daily dose of hypocrisy. I am interested in knowing why? Is it semi-involuntary? Like masturbation. What DNA? What aspect of our psyche/biology makes it so appealing? Remember Joey's stable-boy fascination for the princess. Is it so sexy because it is taboo? Lets say you are an outlier, like a gossip-lesbian who is more interested in talking about people who are present (like yourself) - Vs - those who are absent (unlike yourself), and you feel that gossiping is bad, how do you resist the urge to gossip? Will this anti-group behavior be noticed the way homo-sexual behavior is noticed and would it be considered 'not-normal' (which, recursively, is a gossip topic in itself after you have left). Why do humans feel the urge to gossip? Is it like adolescent masturbation, a primitive-biological-pleasure-calling that has been unnecessarily juxtaposed with an opposing 'guilt' DNA instinct?