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The Triple-Filter Test 

Author Unknown  


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 you talk to me about my friend, it might be good idea to take a moment and filter what youíre going to say. Thatís 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?"

"Well, no," the man said, "actually I just heard about it andÖ"

"All right," said Socrates. "So you donít really know if itís true or not. Now, letís try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?"

"Umm, no, on the contraryÖ"

"So," Socrates continued, "you want to tell me something bad about my friend, but youíre not certain itís true. You may still pass the test though, because thereís one filter leftóthe 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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