In ancient Greece, Socrates was reputed to hold knowledge in high
esteem. One day an acquaintance met the great philosopher 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
you to pass a little test.
It's called the Triple Filter Test."
"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
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?"
I was just going for a cup of coffee to a café on campus when these words struck me. I was thinking about how certain facts I should not have heard, had upset me and that’s when these words struck me.
I thought of the countless people who climbed the stairs for a coffee like me did it touch them all like me? It amazing how we crave for gossip (or grapevine as my organizational behaviour class puts it) . There are times when a whole class discusses about you and you take part in it eventually to realise you are the topic of gossip indeed.
What irks us is when we become the centre of conversation. Though ideally that’s what we all like somehow when it’s a gossip it hurts no one wants to be centre of attraction then. And funniest thing is all who gossip know its an exaggerated fact, if its fact its no gossip but the pain we take to find time to discuss these irrelevant matters is amazing.
I often see people with one foot inside the room and one foot outside telling I got no time giving an ear to finish the juicy bit of gossip. I remember working in a government office 2 years back. The senior official would call up to other regional offices and supply us daily dose of inside news which he called “inside info” and we called “grapevine”. He would be more concerned on who would get into vigilance case, who would be transferred forgetting he himself was on punishment transfer, and each time I moved with a file from R.O to accountant to MC its some gossip they tell me exaggerating out of proportion and the moment I leave I was sure I would be the topic for gossip.
People tell me women gossip and not men, liars, I say and who’s this “so called people” who decide only women gossip? “The – so – called – men” now given a choice women wont admit they gossip so would men? Anyways my previous office had more men and they gossiped all the time from actresses and their hips to their senior officials and their EMA (extra marital affairs).
I remember in my MSW days my supervisor telling me when you go to the community you see people in corners and tea shops discussing issues and politics, join them and you will get a feel of the community, I took it seriously and tried, very often to find them gossiping about some smart guy they could not digest, some women they thought were too smart and then yeah the regular take on politics and who is sleeping with who, which actress is characterless.
Oh back to my coffee and the words of Socrates -What provoked me when I read this triple filter test is “ was any of these gossips useful, good or true” No not even a bit , so if I think of the hours I wasted on this crap( and I still might) , I could do another PhD. Well in an hour I got a meeting again where I will come across more gossips , Hope Socrates helps me
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