The Central Trend

Knowledge is not the true currency of connection

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We manipulate. We play people as pawns. We play the “he-said-she-said” game, again and again, hoping that our insights will put us forward in a good light.

Time and time again, I hear conversations revolving around people. Unfortunately, it’s never ones about the good parts of people’s lives. I hear the devastating and costly words being spoken at the expense of someone else behind their back. I hear secret after secret slip out of the mouths of their entrusted keepers, while a slight smile curves at the thrill of having people’s full and undivided attention for even a moment.

It’s the “Oh, did you hear about so-and-so?” or the “I can’t believe that this person did this!” It’s the greedy gaze of the speakers as they give the thrilling details of some tragedy to their captivated peers. It’s the overwhelming amount of personal and damaging information people know of each other and how most of the time, that information was meant to be private. How can we break a person’s trust from a long-term relationship for the short-term glory of being “in the know”? Is it really worth it?

Sadly, in this day and age, there’s a reason for this endless deceit and dealing of information. It’s because that is the deceptive currency of connection. It’s the seemingly small cost we must pay (at someone else’s expense, of course) to feel like we belong. By pointing the finger at someone else and picking them apart, we are distracting people from being able to see our own flaws and own shortcomings. The gossiping and knowing the nitty, gritty details of people’s personal lives is all it takes to feel important, special, and elite.

It’s so heartbreaking to me because I’ve definitely been there, and like many people, I was blinded by one minute of excitement. We can see the struggles people are facing whether they be external or internal, but then still manage to unintentionally exploit them for that. Without even realizing the price we pay for those actions and the price others pay for our actions, we do the one thing we ought not to do: break trust and fake love toward others.

Philosopher Saint Augustine says that “evil is nothing but the diminishment of good to the point where nothing at all is left.” In other words, there is no such thing as evil, only a lack of love and feeling of emptiness. The gut-wrenching truth is that using someone’s hardships for furthering social status will only fill an emptiness in us, where love and healthy relationships should flourish. So many of us are deeply rooted in insecurity and the thought that we are only valued for the information we provide or the dirt we can dig up, but that is far from reality.

Something I’ve realized, though, is that the only way to restore what was lost in that betrayal is through love. We have been granted so much grace, and there is no reason that we should not love those around us and show them the same grace that we have been shown. Friendship should not be transactional. In other words, a relationship should not be solely based on what each person can get from the other person, only pursuing the person for their own gain.

There is so much more to life than knowing everything about everyone because we are called to be far greater than that. We are more than the information we can provide to other people, and those are things that feed something raw inside of us. On the flip side, caring and showing grace towards people is a practice of humility and love in a positive way. Although knowledge may feel like power at times, it is not the true currency of connection. At the center of everything is love.

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Knowledge is not the true currency of connection