Find us on Facebook

Login Form

OF FAITH AND FABLES

By Bob Haynes

The Triple Filter Test

 

The Internet, television and radio, have become major delivery sources of information for us. And they are able to do so with such rapidity, it simply boggles the mind. They have connected us no matter where we live—north, south, east or west. These media sources have combined in such a way that each one of us is bombarded with information and we have become instant receivers of news—both good and bad.

For example, I can watch any TV channel that is provided by my cable service in Northwest Arkansas. The programs and news are live, just as though I am looking at my home TV. I am able to do so over something called “Slingbox.” I can even change channels by clicking on the replica of my “clicker” at home that is shown on my Slingbox program. Don’t ask me how it works, it just does. In Ajijic, I also can watch news from Mexico and can get glimpses of news from all around the world. Data is everywhere.

There are also groups called ‘chat groups” that fill up my e-mail almost to the point of choking me with so called “factual information.” So the problem comes in knowing which articles, stories, reports, chat groups etc. are really telling the truth. In contemplating how to discern truth for both good news and bad news, I found an old children’s tale, which in the age of information bombardment, can teach us to be more discerning.

In ancient Greece, Socrates’s knowledge was held in high esteem. One day a fellow 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?” the man asked. “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 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,” the man replied. “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 is 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,” the man replied.

“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?”

The lesson is clear. While we participate in loose talks to curb our boredom, when it comes to friends it is not worth it. You can relate this ancient tale to the stories we hear over the Internet, talk shows, news analysis shows. That’s true when it concerns events that—if they were true—would materially affect our world, but which may or may not have really happened. We should put them all through the Triple Filter Test. Shalom!

primi sui motori con e-max

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

August 2014 Please select one: Online format Only articles (respond to any article here) Magazine style format Articles and
Editor’s Page By Alejandro Grattan-Dominguez For more editorials, visit: http://thedarksideofthedream.com   (This past July 4th marked the
CHARLIE KLESTADT—Cruz Roja, and Blessings By Margaret Ann Porter   Charlie and Ann Klestadt celebrated their 542nd month of marriage over dinner
Anita’s Animals By Jackie Kellum   This question comes up frequently, asked by both “newbies” and non-newbies to lakeside. Is there a SPCA
HENRY DAVID THOREAU —Prophet of Silence, Simplicity and Solitude By Dr. Lorin Swinehart   Today, 150 years after his passing, Henry David Thoreau