Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Socrates - Such A Know It All

In ancient Greece Socrates (469 - 399 BC) was widely lauded for his wisdom.  One day an acquaintance ran up to him excitedly and said, "Socrates, do you know what I just heard about Diogenes?"  

"Wait a moment," Socrates replied, "Before you tell me I'd like you to pass a little test.  It's called the Triple Filter Test."  

“Triple filter?" asked the acquaintance.

"That's right," Socrates continued, "Before you talk to me about Diogenes let's take a moment to 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."

"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're about to tell me about Diogenes something good?"
"No, on the contrary...." 

"So," Socrates interrupted, "You want to tell me something about Diogenes that may be bad, even though you're not certain it's true?"

The man shrugged, a little embarrassed.

Socrates continued, "You may still pass the third test though, because there is a third filter, the filter of Usefulness.  Is what you want to tell me about Diogenes going to be useful"?

"I'm not sure really."  

"Well," concluded Socrates, "If what you want to tell me is neither True nor Good nor even Useful, why tell it to me or anyone at all?"

The man shrugged and walked of bewildered and ashamed.  

This is an example of why Socrates was a great philosopher and held in such high esteem.  It also explains why Socrates never found out that Diogenes was banging his wife, Xanthippe.


LOLA said...

Oh dear. Poor guy.


Rita said...

Ahh, but the acquaintance is certainly now a main stream journalist.