Saturday, August 29, 2009


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?”


jonno1951 said...


I love this. Must use these triple filters from now on.


Tiger said...

There's supposedly a punchline to this.
So that's why Socrates never found out his best friend was having an affair with his wife!

masterwordsmith said...

Hi Uncle John

Ah - these triple filters are impt :-) but tough to implement in real life...

Take care and have a great day!

masterwordsmith said...

Dear Tiger,

Very sharp of you - at the same time, it is a clear reminder that sometimes, there are those who choose to justify themselves when they live in true of what's happening around us...

Have a great weekend!


jonno1951 said...


You have missed the 3rd filter "Is it useful to me" I am sure the fact that his best friend is sleeping with his wife would have been useful information; well at least I would have thought so. HAHAHAHAHA

Kak Teh said...

paula, i've not heard of this one yet, but it is useful. indeed if one takes time to do the test before passing on any gossip, there will be less ill feelings.

masterwordsmith said...

Hi Uncle John,

Ah - I see you are being naughty today haha..

Take care and have a good weekend.


masterwordsmith said...

Dear Kak Teh,

It is true that one must think careful before passing on frivolous information that is not verified. It would save us from ill feelings, hurts and misunderstandings.

Thanks for dropping by...Take care and Selamat berpuasa.