“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

Well pooh-pooh, la-di-da, and phooey on this quote, which shouldn’t even be allowed on a psychology website. Because really, what is psychology if not discussing people? People are endlessly fascinating, they are responsible for ideas and events, and you couldn’t figure them out in a lifetime of study. What’s so small about discussing people?

What about Freud? Didja ever think about him, Eleanor? He couldn’t have gotten to all his ideas if he hadn’t first thought about and discussed  people.

And can you even separate ideas from events and people? Aren’t the three all completely intertwined in this big glorious mess that is life? Ideas don’t exist in a vacuum, they are the product of people’s minds. To fully understand them, you have to understand where they come from. And events are the result of behavior. People again.

But, OK, let’s suppose Eleanor Roosevelt meant gossip. Is gossip really that bad? Some researchers say no, not really. Gossip helps us blow off stress, enhances social bonding, and teaches us the values and mores of our community.

Plus, it’s friggin’ fascinating. I never get tired of thinking and talking about what people do, and I refuse to believe this makes me small minded. Gossip is not necessarily mean-spirited. It can be pro-social too.

As long as we think carefully and deeply about what we discuss, then there’s nothing wrong with talking about whatever turns us on. Beats watching TV. (And I have nothing against TV either. Everything in moderation.)

Eleanor Roosevelt, whom I generally have nothing against, was being all hoity-toity, highbrow, ain’t we grand in this quote. But I’m calling bullcrap on it. Great minds discuss all kinds of things.

Discussion illustration available from Shutterstock.