Saturday, 11 September 2010

Just Before You Tell Me.

There is always something nice about a little story .We all love a little story, and if it is about somebody else then that is even better. There are always some people who just love to tell you little stories they heard, and thought you might like to know. Yes my blog is called partly, the barstool philosopher so I could so easily be one of those very people.

I do tell lots of little stories, because I love to hear them. I hope though that my little stories are seen for what they are. They are stories to inspire us to think a bit more . To maybe even make us turn to action.

Yesterday I was walking home deep in thought, putting one foot in front of the other. The next thing I knew a “friend “ was walking next to me and speaking to me. I laughed and apologised I had not heard him coming up at the back of me. We walked together and passed the time of day. At first we were only talking about gardens and vegetables, things we have in common. Then he said to me, “Have you heard about,” and he mentioned a name. I knew immediately he was about to tell me a little story. It was a little story about a friend of mine and yes I had heard it before. What is more I knew the little story was not true, and that it was wrong to repeat it and just as bad of me to consider listening to it again. So instead I told him of Socrates. Yes I do that, not just on blogs do I tell my little stories.

I am sure some of you have heard of Socrates, and some of you may even have heard this little tale.

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?”

Strangely enough after I told him that little story he went back to talking about his garden. We enjoyed the rest of the walk up the road.

So I give you the triple filter test. It may or it may not be useful.

Now having said that  I have never heard anything bad said on blogging about others. In fact it is a world full of good words. I just wish today though I could get past the words and find a way to help a fellow blogger in need. Then blogging would have taken me beyond words.

This blog is linked to my other.Words


  1. I've never heard the Socrates tale before but it's a really good story. I think next time I'm enclined to gossip I'll try to remember it!

  2. I wish we could all be strong enough to discourage those gossip-mongers... who love nothing better than to draw an audience and get a big reaction from their story, at the expense of somebody else. I think I'm guilty of spreading a few rumors, myself, when I think about it... Good advice, Ralph, I'll think of it as the TGUF test: (Truth,Goodness,Usefulness,Forget it).

  3. Hey Katherine I like that idea the only thing I worry about is that whenever you use letters some smart person moves them round and makes them say something else.

  4. Gossip indeed; rampant in suburbia Canada! I'm afraid I was guilty of saying "Please don't tell me, I don't like tall tales!.

    I was taught if you had nothing good to say....then say nothing!

  5. Yes, Sherry's on all our minds... We wish her well on her difficult journey.

    I agree. Nice things is what I continue to find in the art blogging world. Artists are a wonderful bunch of people. Like the story.

  6. A good filtering system leaves behind what is good and pure. A+ on this one!

  7. Good Morning Ralph, I am perhaps too well today!
    I dreamt last night of all the places that I have slept: cars, for sure and telephone booths, the occasional train station bench when was wealthy enough to afford the train, and many other uncomfortable places. One always wakes up a bit stiff and groggy from a restless sleep and knowing that you won't find a hot shower, you wonder if you can find clean underwear! I never could afford hot food, frequented very few restaurants, and mostly ate from grocery stores:
    rolls and peanut butter and the occasional lunch meat on the better days. Life quickly becomes about survival. There is no jolly talk with friends, you actually learn to avoid them in embarrassment. It becomes easier to get help from strangers and you don't have to explain the horrible circumstances that got you here. Books became friends, I could get lost in a mystery novel, huddled with blankets in my car, my home.
    Mostly you pass time, eager for the night and sleep. that comforter of all. Art becomes a dream
    sequestered with other memories of childhood and food and a warm bed. I did all this when I was young, 17 and 18 and voluntarily "ran away" from home. It was all a luxury, an adventure, a wanderyear and I look back on it with a sense of amazement: how in the heck did I survive that?
    Now I am an old man, stuck in my ways, and having the luxury of a hot bath every morning, a bubble bath at that! and then I go about my day doing whatever I feel like doing, never giving a thought to survival. It has all become so incredibly easy and I sometimes wonder if it should be that way? My dreams last night.

    My blog is the one on ArtWanted, not connected to this system.

  8. I'm thinking of Sherry too--! I hope she is sketching and getting together lots of material that she will share with us when she can. You story reminds me of how the Buddhists teach about "right-talk" --it has to do with always speaking with good (and not bad) intentions. You do that very naturally--I try not to gossip--(I try!)

  9. Yes, this is a wonderful post! It is like write an email to someone and read again before you hit the send button.. most of the time when you read, you may want to delete certain things that you need not have written.. once you hit the send button, you have done the damage.. I keep this in mind while talking to any one.. hold back for a second and then talk!As a result, my talking has reduced a lot and I have become more silent than ever before, is another story!