Writing my previous post about Alexander’s last three wishes reminded me of a quote attributed to the Greek philosopher, Socrates, about the test of the three sieves.
As the story goes, old and wise Socrates (a guy who allegedly committed suicide, mind you, but that’s another story) was walking down the streets one day, when all of the sudden a man runs up to him:
“Socrates, I have to tell you something about your friend who…”
“Hold up”, Socrates interrupts him, “The story you’re about to tell me, did you put it trough the three sieves?”
“Three sieves?” The man asks, “What three sieves?”
“Let’s try it”, Socrates says. “The first sieve is the one of truth – did you examine what you were about to tell me to see if it is true?”
“Well no, I just overheard it”, the man answers meekly.
“Ah, well then, you must have used the second sieve, the sieve of good?”, Socrates continues – “Is what you’re about to tell me something good?”
“Hum, no, on the contrary”, the man replies.
“Hmm…” The wise man continues, “Let’s use the third sieve then – is it necessary to tell me what you’re so exited about?”
“No, not necessary”, the man says.
“Well”, Socrates says with a smile, “If the story you’re about to tell me isn’t true, good or necessary, just forget it and don’t bother me with it.”
■ Henri Thibodeau
Source: Quote adapted from Good Reads.