Monday, 19 October 2009

Happy Monday - The Socrates Test

In ancient Greece (469 - 399 BC), Socrates was widely
lauded for his wisdom. One day the great philosopher came
upon an acquaintance who ran up to him excitedly and said,
"Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of your

"Wait a moment," Socrates replied. "Before you tell me I'd
like you to pass a little test. It's called the Test of Three."

"Test of Three?"

"That's right," Socrates continued "Before you talk to me
about my student let's take a moment to test what you're
going to say. The first test 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 test, the test of
Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my
student something good?"

"No, on the contrary..."

"So," Socrates continued, "you want to tell me something
bad about him even though you're not certain it's true?"

The man shrugged, a little embarrassed.

Socrates continued. "You may still pass though, because
there is a third test - the filter of Usefulness. Is what you
want to tell me about my student 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

The man was defeated and ashamed. This is the reason
Socrates was a great philosopher and held in such high
esteem. It also explains why he never found out what
Plato and his wife were up to every Thursday night.



  1. Ha! But I think I'd rather be like Socrates than his student, wouldn't you?

  2. Just packing the van for a move down the road. Hate the job but that cheered me up, Ta.

  3. Now you see, Adrian, Socrates would have found a way to convince himself that he loved the job and then life would have been so much better. Frankly he was probably better off not knowing what his wife was up to anyway.

  4. Good story and a good ending. You made me laugh out loud. (What were they doing on Thursday nights?)

  5. So THAT'S where Thumper's mother (On the Bambi Disney movie) got her wisdom! She imparted it to Thumper and this is his interpretation: "If you can't say nuffin' nice...don't say nuffin' at all!" ;^) I taught this exact line to my girls growing up...always turned it into a laugh or two!
    Wonderful! Love the funny twist at the end of your story. ;^)

  6. Mum's have a lot of wisdom, Cynthia. Didn't realise that Bambi's Mum was one of them though!


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