Triple filter by Socrates

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?”

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One thought on “Triple filter by Socrates

  1. Danie Musungu - November 22, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    True…..!? Good……..!? Useful….. !? These are three great questions that everyone should be taught and encouraged to practice on a daily basis. This how we shall get rid of all manner of gossiping (“mushene”) in our Society.


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