September 18, 2009

Wisdom of Socrates for Today

From Dear Webby's Humor Letter:

In ancient Greece (469 - 399 BC), Socrates was well known for
his wisdom.

One day the great philosopher came upon an acquaintance who
said excitedly, "Socrates, do you know what I just heard about
one of your students?

"Wait a moment," Socrates replied. "Before telling me anything
I would 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, it might be a good idea to take a moment and
filter what you're going to say. 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 and ..."

"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 my student
something good?"

"Well, 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 student
going to be useful to me?"

"No, I suppose it isn't 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?"