Tuesday, 8 March 2016

The Triple Test.

An Abstract.

How often do overhear people talking about others? I am sure it has always happened, and in fact my little tale will confirm just that, but I am sure it is getting more and more frequent. I wonder if that is because we now have more places where we can gather information about other people? 

Social media means that even if we do not see our, "friends," we always can easily see what they are up to. Yesterday was mothers day and I spent the day with my family. I was sitting happily in the corner my feet up relaxing, I had after all been out cycling and then I had had a walk. So there I was relaxing and trying to find the email my daughter had sent to my email address with an voucher for my wife. Sadly sh had missed out the L in my email address so had to get the company to resend it. 

As I was sitting there listening to the conversations and banter I was happily aware that I had not heard one bit of bad talk about other people, other than the comments about my need of a haircut, or my cycling up hill too fast and then not waiting for my wife on one of the very few occasions she has cycled with me.

So different from the bus journey I took las week where for a whole journey of 40 minutes or so the two ladies sitting in the seat in front of me spoke about their family , neighbours and friends. So sad that they seemed to have so many people around them with so many faults. Even sadder they were taking great delight in bringing others down, leaving them with hardly a single good thing to say about them.  So much of the information gathered from social media.

So to my little tale of wisdom.

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 telling me anything 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 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 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 friend something good?"

"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 true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?"

Or to put it simply in the well known Scottish saying, "If you canny say anything good dinae say  anything at all."   Translation,  I you cannot say something good do not say anything at all.

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