Spiritual Life: Careless talk can still cost lives

PUBLISHED: 08:00 04 August 2018


During the Second World War the British government initiated an extensive anti-gossip campaign with the most memorable posters, designed by Fougasse, showing caricature figures of Hitler and Goehring listening in to people giving away secrets whilst chatting in public places.

The campaign, entitled “Careless talk costs lives”, highlighted the potentially damaging results of gossiping and idle chatter at a time when national security was at its highest.

These days the term “fake news” initiated by President Trump, and now gradually creeping into the wider arena, portrays information that could be described as hearsay, unreliable or simply not true. In both cases the focus is on being careful about what we say, whether it can be misused or misinterpreted by others, and whether it is a true representation of the facts.

When we meet up with family, colleagues, acquaintances, we exchange news. And, if we are not careful, it can turn into a full blown gossip! Before we know it we are giving opinions, commenting on other people, revealing confidences.

Idle, but not harmless chatter. It can hurt or destroy someone’s character and wrongly influence other people’s perception of them. And it can cost lives.

With access to social media so commonplace the potential damage of idle chatter has become even more concerning as depression, mental illness and suicide rates are increasing daily.

Think before you speak is advice that has never been so relevant.

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