It was Gaelikaa who came up with the topic for our LBC group this week.


Did you hear the one about…….?

No?  Well I didn’t either, so I am depending on this little beauty that flew through the airwaves to land in my in-box about three weeks ago.  It came from our fellow member Ramana who is resting as the Actors say.  I think we can count it as a joint effort.  Don’t you?

Keep this in mind the next time you are about to repeat a rumour or spread gossip.

In ancient Greece (469 – 399 BC), Socrates 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 are about to tell me about Diogenes something good?”

“No, on the contrary…”

“So,” Socrates continued, “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 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 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 or anyone at all?”

The man was 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 sha**ing his wife.

13 thoughts on “Gossip

  1. nick

    If we paused to pass every bit of gossip through the three filters, we’d never tell anyone anything. And as the story says, gossip can be worth hearing even if doesn’t pass the three tests. Of course even if it’s not useful to the speaker it may be useful to the listener….

    I must admit to passing on juicy bits of gossip even if I haven’t the slightest idea whether they’re true or not. Well, it’s not as if I’m a newspaper columnist. And if they turn out to be wrong, I can always retract them.

  2. Conrad

    Well, old Diogenes couldn’t spend ALL his time out with that lantern. As quoted from Wikipedia on Diogenes:

    “Many anecdotes of Diogenes refer to his dog-like behavior”

    which lets us know more about Socrates’ Wife’s preferences!

  3. cardi

    Just in from a stressful day’s shopping in Cardiff with my better half – I needed something to accompany a glass of red – slante !

  4. Grannymar Post author

    Nick – I need to hear some gossip before I can pass it on!

    Conrad – Is that gossip?

    Cardi – Did you leave anything in the shops?

  5. bikehikebabe

    “And if they turn out to be wrong, I can always retract them.”

    No nick, you can’t un-ring that bell.

  6. nick

    Okay, I’d better clarify. I never pass on malicious bits of gossip that could do someone serious harm (unless I know for certain they’re true). I’m talking about stuff that’s interesting but not damaging.

  7. bikehikebabe

    I’m sorry nick. I meant to put Haha, Tehe, LOL, 🙂 after my comment. I know you aren’t a bad guy.

    Teen gossip can be malicious. But our adult gossip is usually unfortunately TRUE.

  8. Alice

    A most excellent story! I must remember it. Fortunately I’m no longer privy to much gossip–the stuff we hear first hand on tv news is quite enough, and much of it is probably gossip. Perhaps you should send your story to Fox News, USA plus some of the others. Couldn’t hurt!

  9. Grannymar Post author

    Alice – My father had a saying “Don’t believe all you hear or half you see!” I am inclined to agree with that one!


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