Socrates' Triple Filter
In ancient Greece, One day a person met the great philosopher Socrates 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.”
“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
“No,” the man said, “actually I just heard about it and…”
“All right,” said Socrates.
“So you don’t 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
“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
good nor even
useful, why tell it to me at all?”