A parable about what to say and what to leave unsaid

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Someone once asked Socrates:

— ’Do you know what your friend has told me about you?’

— ’Wait a second,’ Socrates stopped him. ’you should filter everything you intend to say through three sieves before you say it.’

— ’Three sieves’?

— ’The first is the sieve of truth. Are you sure that what you’re about to tell me is true?’

— ’No, I just heard it.’

— So you don’t know whether it’s true or not. Then let’s move on to the second sieve — the sieve of good. Are you about to tell me something good?’

— ’No. The opposite, in fact.’

— ’So,’ said Socrates, ’you intend to tell me something unpleasant, but you’re not even sure if it’s true or not. Lets try the third sieve — the sieve of usefulness. Is it really necessary for me to hear what you want to tell me?’

— ’No, it’s not necessary.’

— ’Well then’, concluded Socrates, ’what you’re about to tell me is not true, good or necessary. So why bother telling me it at all?’

We’d love to hear your views on this…

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