From the headmaster’s office


Socrates - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Can you pass the Triple Filter Test, asks Robin Gainher, headmaster of Beeston Hall School in West Runton

In January one of my New Year resolutions was to tell good stories because they help define who we are in the minds of others, for better or worse. I hope you enjoy this little gem.

One day in ancient Greece, an acquaintance met the great philosopher Socrates and said: “Socrates, 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. The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure what you are going to tell me is true?”

“No,” the acquaintance said, “actually I just heard about it and ....”

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“Alright,” 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 are going 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 useful, why tell me at all?”

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