Socrates, one of the most prominent philosophers of all time gave the world a precious collection of advice, wisdom sayings and concepts that still can be applied in many fields. I was watching a video and the author mentioned the three filters that Socrates used to apply when he used to hear or say something. Let me explain in detail the three filters and I will give you suggestions how to apply them before talking or while hearing about something.
The three filters of Socrates
- The truth filter
Is what you are saying the truth or just an opinion? If someone says something to you, (which in most of cases is an opinion), ask her / him: Is it true what you are saying? And if it is, how do you know this is the truth?
It is believed that Buddha suggested that we should ask about everything we hear and know, because we often take as true everything we hear others say.
- The value filter
Is what you are saying of value or just a small talk? Most of times we are running in an auto-pilot mental process, which means that we do not “sit and think” if something that we say is valuable to the conversation or the person we are discussing with. The same thing happens when we hear information. Ask yourself if what the other is saying is of value for you or for her / him. If not, why do you have to spend your most precious asset, – Time- for an insignificant conversation?
- The “good information” filter
What you can notice in general, or at least what I’ve noticed is that people trend to share with others more negative or “bad” rather than positive or “good” information. -Stop for a moment and reflect: “Is this what I just read a fact or just Anila’s personal opinion?”
When I started to apply the three filters in my communicative processes, I started to become more aware of the types of information I shared with others, and also started to question, “Is what I heard true?”, or “How sure can I be that this is true?” or “How can I know for sure that this is true?”, ect.
In the beginning, the people whom I talked with started to experience difficult situations because it is very hard to know if something you say is totally true or false. We base our opinions and argument on what we hear from others, from the media, social networks, ect., without questioning the source of information.
I always express my opinions by first saying:
- I think that;
- Based on what I heard;
- I did a research and it resulted that;
I was careful in evaluating if the information that I was about to share with others is valuable for them or if it was a “good information”. Some of you might say that often we have to share ‘negative’ information with the others, and that is true. But, in such cases, I use the two other filters to evaluate if the information is true and valuable to share.
The combined use of the filters can help you a lot. After using the filters for some time, I started to feel better with myself and with the others. People need to hear positive, inspiring and motivational information. Our contribution is important! If each one of us would use the three filters, our conversations would be more productive and effective.
How true is this? I am sharing with you my personal experience and I don’t want you to take it for granted. But I suggest you should try to apply the three filters and see how they work for you. if they work for you, continue to use them. If they don’t, I am sure you did not apply them in the right way. Life is a self-discovery process… this is the real meaning of it. That’s why we feel happy when we discover the reason of our existence.