Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Triple Filter Test

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?”

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Two Wolves

A young boy came to his Grandfather, filled with anger at another boy who had done him an injustice.  The old Grandfather said to his grandson, "Let me tell you a story. I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do.  But hate wears you down, and hate does not hurt your enemy.  Hate is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die.  I have struggled with these feelings many times."

"It is as if there are two wolves inside me; one wolf is good and does no harm.  He lives in harmony with all around him and does not take offense when no offense was intended.  He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.  But the other wolf, is bad and full of anger.  The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper."  "He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason.  He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger, because his anger will change nothing.  Sometimes it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, because both of the wolves try to dominate my spirit."

The boy looked intently into his Grandfather's eyes and asked, "Which wolf will win, Grandfather?"  The Grandfather smiled and said, "The one I feed."