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The Triple Filter Test
Mid Week Musings #242
Socrates was a Greek philosopher known for his great knowledge and wisdom. One day an acquaintance of his met the wise man and said, “ I just heard something about your friend. Do you want to know about it?”
To which Socrates replied calmly, “Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be a good idea to test the importance of what you’re going to say. Let it pass through the triple filter test. The first filter of your information is “truth”.
Are you absolutely sure that whatever you are about to tell me about my friend is true?”
“Well, no,” the man said, “I just heard about it from somewhere.”
“All right, so you are unsure about the truthfulness of the statement you are about to make.
Now, let’s try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me a good thing?” said Socrates.
“Umm, No,” answered the man softly.
“So, you want to tell me something bad about my friend that you’re not certain it’s true. You failed the first two tests but you may still pass the test if you pass the final filter, the filter of usefulness. Is what you want to tell me going to be useful to me?”
“No, not really.” replied the man shamefully.
“Well, if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good or even useful, why waste your time to tell it to me at all,” concluded Socrates.
Although there is nothing wrong with talking about other people, it is what we talk about them that matters. It is so easy to fall into a pattern of unconscious criticism, doubt and misunderstanding while involving oneself in a conversation about a third person.
This short story of the great Greek philosopher Socrates could help us make a better judgment about the information that we consume every day. The triple filter test can act as a very useful tool for blocking all the information that is not important to our lives.
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