In ancient Greece , Socrates (469 – 399 BC) was widely lauded for his wisdom.
One day the great philosopher came upon an acquaintance who ran up to him excitedly and said, ” Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of your students? “
” 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 ? “
” That’s right “, Socrates continued, ” Before you talk to me about my student, let’s take a moment to filter what you’re going to say. The first filter is Truth. Are you absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true? “
” No “, the man said, ” Actually I just heard about it and…”
” Alright “, 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 student something good ? “
” No, on the contrary….”
” So “, Socrates continued, ” You want to tell me something bad about him, even though you’re not certain if 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 my student 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 ? “
The man was defeated and ashamed.
This is the reason why Socrates was a great philosopher and held in such high esteem.