Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Filters of Truth, Goodness and Usefulness

In ancient Greece, Socrates was reputed to hold knowledge in high esteem. One day an acquaintance met the great philosopher and said, "Do you know what I just heard about your friend?"

"Hold on a minute," Socrates replied. "Before telling me anything I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Triple Filter Test."

"Triple filter?"

"That's right," Socrates continued. "Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you're going to say. That's why I call it the triple filter test. 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 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 friend something good?"

"No, on the contrary..."

"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 friend going to be 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 it to me at all!"

Rumour-mongering is one heck of a temptation. It is too easy to talk about someone behind his/her back. Why not stay positive, focus on the positive and only talk about what's positive in a person? It reflects positively on the person who talks as well as the one who is talked about. What a world of wonderful and beautiful communication it becomes when we lift people and ourselves UP.


Louis Travel+Lifestyle said...

Interesting, but it may not be that easy to apply in real life, this demand a lot of self-awareness, we are so used to gossip , it so easy.

Nelson Tan said...

Perhaps that's why self-development is still a multi-million dollar industry :) The time is always NOW for us to polish ourselves up.

Phil Stolle said...

I think it's a great tool to remember when we are in situations, which are very common at work, where we choose whether to speak well of folks are not. I thought those three points are great filters to run through our minds.