Triple Filter Test for Gossip

by buildingpharmabrands

Socrates (469  - 399 B.C.)

Socrates (469 – 399 B.C.)

In ancient Greece, Socrates was widely respected for his wisdom. One day an acquaintance ran up to the great philosopher excitedly and said, “Do you know what I just learned about your friend, Diogenes?”

“Hold on a minute,” Socrates replied. “Before telling me anything I would like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Triple Filter Test.”

“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 true?”

“No,” the man said, “Actually I just heard about it.”

“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 Diogenes something good?”

“No, on the contrary…”

“So,” Socrates continued, “You want to tell me something about Diogenes that may be bad, even though you’re not certain 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 Diogenes 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 or anyone at all?”

– Author Unknown

Image Source: Wikipedia