Union Baptist Church - North Charleston, SC

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Thoughts and Reflections

The Three Filter Test

Posted by WebMaster on June 26, 2010 at 5:19 PM

Socrates was said to hold knowledge in high esteem.


One day an acquaintance met the great philosopher and said, "Socrates, do

you know what I just heard about your friend?"


"Pause a moment," 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



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 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?"



This is why Socrates was a great philosopher and held in such high esteem.


Categories: A Teacher's Advice

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