The Triple-Filter Test

The Triple-Filter Test

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 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?” “Well, 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?” “Umm, no, on the contrary…” “So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about my friend, 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

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Building Bridges

Building Bridges

Once upon a time, two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side by side, sharing machinery, and trading labor and goods as needed without a hitch. Then the long collaboration fell apart. It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference, and finally it exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence. One morning there was a knock on John’s door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter’s toolbox. “I’m looking for a few days work” he said. “Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there I could help with? Could I help you?” “Yes,” said the older brother. “I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That’s my neighbor, in fact, it’s my younger brother. Last week there was a meadow between us and he took his bulldozer to the river levee and now there is a creek between us. Well, he may have done this to spite me, but I’ll go him one better. See that pile of lumber by the barn? I want you to build me a fence – an 8-foot fence – so I won’t need to see his place or

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Chain of Love

Chain of Love

This young man was driving home one evening, on a two-lane country road. Work in this small mid-western community was almost as slow as his beat-up Pontiac, but he never quit looking. Ever since the factory closed, he’d been unemployed, and with winter coming on, the chill had finally hit home. It was a lonely road. Not very many people had a reason to be on it unless they were leaving. Most of his friends had already left. They had families to feed and dreams to fulfil, but he stayed on. After all, this was where he buried his mother and father. He was born here and he knew the country. He could go down this road blind and tell you what was on either side and with his headlights not working, this came in handy. It was starting to get dark and light snow flurries were coming down. He’d better get a move on. You know, he almost didn’t see the old lady, stranded on the side of the road. But even in the dim light of day, he could see she needed help. So he pulled up in front of her Mercedes and got out. His Pontiac was still sputtering when he approached her. Even with the smile on his face, she was worried. No one had stopped

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Coffee on the Wall

Coffee on the Wall

I sat with my friend in a well-known coffee shop in a neighbouring town of Venice, Italy, the city of lights and water. As we enjoyed our coffee, a man entered and sat at an empty table beside us. He called the waiter and placed his order saying, “Two cups of coffee, one of them there on the wall.” We heard this order with rather an interest and observed that he was served with one cup of coffee but he paid for two. When he left, the waiter put a piece of paper on the wall saying “A Cup of Coffee”. While we were still there, two other men entered and ordered three cups of coffee, two on the table and one on the wall. They had two cups of coffee but paid for three and left. This time also, the waiter did the same; he put a piece of paper on the wall saying, “A Cup of Coffee”. It was something unique and perplexing for us. We finished our coffee, paid the bill and left. After a few days, we had a chance to go to this coffee shop again. While we were enjoying our coffee, a man poorly dressed entered. As he seated himself, he looked at the wall and said, “One cup of coffee from the wall.”

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How to Love

How to Love

You’d like Jaydee a lot. Most people do. He’s the kind of guy who listens when you talk, who smiles often, and who says things that make the people around him smile. He’s intelligent, but in a way that makes others feel comfortable. It’s the way he expresses himself in simple terms that you can understand – almost like he’s articulating the thoughts you already have in your head but haven’t yet found the right words say aloud. It doesn’t matter who you are either. Jaydee always has a way of relating to you. Because, in a way, he’s been there with you all along. He can think like you, so he understands you. So many of us have limitations in our perceptions. We understand the soldiers but not the politics governing the war. We understand the people who go to the movies but not the ones who attend NASCAR races. But somehow Jaydee gets all of us. It’s his gift. If he hasn’t actually been to the NASCAR race you’re talking about, he’ll be honest about it – but he’ll make you feel as if he was right there with you. And once you return home after spending a night with Jaydee, you’ll catch yourself smiling and thinking that there need to be more people like him in the

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Unconditional Acceptance

Unconditional Acceptance

I am a mother of three (ages 14, 12, 3) and have recently completed my college degree. The last class I had to take was Sociology. The teacher was absolutely inspiring with the qualities that I wish every human being had been graced with. Her last project of the term was called “Smile.” The class was asked to go out and smile at three people and document their reactions.   I am a very friendly person and always smile at everyone and say hello anyway, so, I thought this would be a piece of cake, literally. Soon after we were assigned the project, my husband, youngest son, and I went out to McDonald’s one crisp March morning. It was just our way of sharing special playtime with our son. We were standing in line, waiting to be served, when all of a sudden everyone around us began to back away, and then even my husband did. I did not move an inch…an overwhelming feeling of panic welled up inside of me as I turned to see why they had moved. As I turned around I smelled a horrible “dirty body” smell, and there standing behind me were two poor homeless men. As I looked down at the short gentleman, close to me, he was “smiling.” His beautiful sky blue eyes were

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