Socrates, the ancient Greek philosopher, was well known for his wisdom.
One day, he was walking through the streets of Athens when he came upon an acquaintance, who said to him excitedly, “Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of your students?”
“Now wait a moment”, Socrates replied. “Before telling me anything, I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Triple Filter Test”.
“Triple filter test?” his acquaintenance asked.
“That’s right”, Socrates continued. “Before you talk to me about my student, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you’re going to say. The first filter is TRUTH. Have you made absolutely sure that what you
are about to tell me is true?”
“Well no”, the man said, “actually I just heard about it and …”
“All right”, said Socrates. “So you don’t really know if it’s true or not”.
“Now let’s try the second filter, the filter of GOODNESS. Is what you are about to tell me about my student something good?”
“No, on the contrary …”
Socrates stopped him abruptly before he could say anything further.
“So”, Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about him, but you’re not certain it’s true. You may still pass the test though, because there’s one filter left: the filter of USEFULNESS. Is what you want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?”
“No, not really”, the man replied.
“Well”, concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?”
The discussion above demonstrates why Socrates was thought to be a great thinker and was held in such high esteem during his times.
Keep this in mind the next time you either hear or are about to repeat a rumour!
It also explains why Socrates never found out that Plato was banging his wife.
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