Sunday, July 31, 2011

India’s National Anthem World’s Best? Mumbai hit on Kasab’s B’day and Socrates test for Rumors!

Haven’t you got e-mails saying ‘Indian National Anthem declared world’s best by UNESCO!’? Did you even wonder if UNESCO had the powers to carry out a decision like that?

Haven’t you seen some friends’ Facebook walls being flooded by status updates saying ‘Mumbai blasts on Kasab’s B’day!’?? Did you ever wonder that how the hell people came to know it was Kasab’s B’day??

Same things happen in our personal lives. We see someone speak ill about some fellow. And since we don’t have an idea about the concerned person, however, since we do know the speaker, we believe it anyway. Not only that we believe we spread the same thing. And with the advent of Social Networking and growing power of Internet, I see this happen very often. We don’t even use our Brains! We don’t spend a minute to analyse!

Please keep the following in mind the next time you are about to repeat a rumour or spread gossip.

In ancient Greece (469 - 399 BC), Socrates was widely lauded for his wisdom.

One day an acquaintance ran up to him excitedly and said, "Socrates, do you know what I just heard about Diogenes?"

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

'Triple filter?" asked the acquaintance.

"That's right," Socrates continued, "Before you talk to me about Diogenes let's take a moment to 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."

"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 Diogenes something good?"

"No, on the contrary..."

"So," Socrates continued, "You want to tell me something about Diogenes that may be bad, even though you're not certain it's true?"

The man shrugged, a little embarrassed. Socrates continued, "You may still pass the test though, because there is a third filter, the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about Diogenes 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 or anyone at all?"

The man was bewildered and ashamed.

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