Confucius Analects – Hearsay Information
17.4 Exercise caution against hearsay information
The Master said, ‘To tell, as we go along, what we have heard on the way, is to cast away our virtue.’
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When we hear about something that we do not directly experience, and spread the information without verifying the validity of it, we are spreading hearsay information.
What is wrong about spreading hearsay information? When we spread the words about something that we are not sure is true or not, we are potentially spreading rumor that does not exist in the first place, and easily become vehicle for unknown interest and propaganda. Look at the celebrity news, before we get all stirred up in the stories, how accurate are they representing reality if we look at their track record?
For seekers of truth, we need to establish ourselves and our practices on a firm ground of verified truth, like those shared my authentic teachers and masters, and to keep a cautious mind against unverified information. This is why Confucius suggested us to be cautious against hearsay information.