Brandon Dillon's Blog

A place for discussion on all areas of life.

Socrates & The Rule of Three

Posted by Brandon Dillon on February 14, 2012

I was listening to a new Life CD today, that Jerry and Polly Hartise did about Socrates and this story stood out and is a very powerful lesson and one I am going to apply in my life diligently.

Socrates was walking and a man comes up to him and says, Socrates do you know what I just  heard about one of your students?

Socrates says, before you tell me what it is you heard, lets see if it passes a little test, a test called the rule of three.

Rule of three the man replied? whats that?

Socrates says, well let me ask you, is what your about to tell me the truth?

The man says, well I don’t know,

Ok says Socrates, is what your about to tell me good?

No says the man.

Ok says Socrates, is what your about to tell me useful?

the man says no not really.

So let me get this right Socrates says, What your about to tell me your not sure even if its true, its not good, and not very useful, then why tell it to me?

 

I think that is powerful words of wisdom there, and I will think before telling anyone something about these three things. Something might be True, and it maybe bad and then still useful and that would be worth presenting to someone, but if it don’t pass the first one, being completely true, and not just true because so and so said it. but true because I did my own due diligence on the matter. If it doesn’t even pass the true aspect then it wouldn’t even make it to rule 2.

This rule I think that Socrates taught was designed to stop and prevent gossip, which is a very evil thing.

if you read Dale Carnegie’s book How to win friends and Influence people, his first 3 rules in there are Don’t Criticize, complain or Condemn. If you think about it  that is very close to what Socrates was trying to accomplish. If we thought about everything we were about to say and asked, is this a Criticism? Is this complaining? Is this Condemning of others? and if it was we were not to say it how much less gossip and negativity would we have in the world?

I hope this has been useful and thought provoking and as always please comment and share your thoughts and feedback

have a great day!

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