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Jul 1, 2010

SAGE WORDS


Keep this in mind the next time you are about to repeat a rumour or spread gossip.

In ancient Greece (469 - 399 BC), Socrates was widely lauded for his wisdom.

One day an acquaintance ran up to him excitedly and said, "Socrates, do you know what I just heard about Diogenes?"

"Wait a moment," Socrates replied, "Before you tell me I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Triple Filter Test."
'Triple filter?" asked the acquaintance.

"That's right," Socrates continued, "Before you talk to me about Diogenes let's take a moment to 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?"

"No," the man said, "Actually I just heard about it."

"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 Diogenes something good?"

"No, on the contrary..."

"So," Socrates continued, "You want to tell me something about Diogenes that may be bad, even though you're not certain it's true?"

The man shrugged, a little embarrassed. Socrates continued, "You may still pass the test though, because there is a third filter, the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about Diogenes going to be an advantage for me or useful to me?"

"No, not really."

"Well," concluded Socrates, "If what you want to tell me is neither True nor Good nor even Useful, why tell me or anyone at all?"

The man was bewildered and ashamed. This is an example of why Socrates was a great philosopher and held in such high esteem.


It also explains why Socrates never found out that Diogenes was having sex with his wife.

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5 comments:

Ali said...

Bwahahahaha!

Cass @ That Old House said...

I love this... and now have to pass it on to my philosopher daughter. (How many people can say that without banging their heads against the wall in anticipation of having a kid living in a refrigerator box under the George Washington Bridge in the Bronx? Not I.)

I know you won't be celebrating in the same way, but have a happy 4th of July. Hey, have a happy 3rd and 5th as well! I'm in a generous mood.
:-)
Best wishes, Cass

Sue said...

Happy Canada Day, toots!
Too funny about the old philosopher. LOL
hugs, Ethel

Bill said...

Hi Lori,

I very much like this post. Somewhere I read a similar litmus test -- before repeating something or making a comment, ask:

1. Is it kind?
2. Is it necessary?

It's not always easy to do, but I think it's worth remembering.
Hope you have a great weekend!
-bill

vignette design said...

I loved this Lori! A reminder too to stop and think about what you are about to say. My mom said, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."

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