The dangers of rumours and gossip and how the art of slow and being well informed can save the day

The dangers of rumours and gossip and how the art of slow and being well informed can save the day

By Gary Moore, Principal, Rutherford College
First published in the Rutherford College newsletter March 22, 2017

The purpose of this article is to reinforce the value of checking information/ gossip using the triple filter test as a process.

So much negativity can be avoided if firstly we verify the facts and whether the information is true, and then whether it is either good or useful before passing it on verbally or digitally. I also believe this includes taking the time to pause and reflect before liking something on Facebook. The desire for a speedy response can start a negative chain reaction.

What’s Important Now is for us to learn the art of slow, an ability to calm down and check things out properly before maybe wrongly assuming you have all the information. At Rutherford we don’t ‘assume’, we slow down and apply the triple filter test.

Please keep the philosophy of the triple filter test in mind the next time you either hear, or are about to repeat a rumour.

Socrates. (469 – 399BC) the great Greek philosopher came upon an acquaintance who ran up to him excitedly and said, “Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of your students? “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?” “That’s right,” Socrates continued. “Before you talk to me about my student 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 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 ofGoodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my student something good?”
“No, on the contrary…” “So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about him, even though you’re not certain it’s true?”
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 my student 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 at all?”

We can all develop this type of wisdom.