Test of the Three Sieves: Is Something True, Good, or Necessary…

https://i0.wp.com/d.gr-assets.com/authors/1390145726p8/275648.jpgWriting my previous post about Alexander’s last three wishes reminded me of a quote attributed to the Greek philosopher, Socrates (469–399 B.C.E.), 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?”

Standard Stainless Steel Seives 3" Diameter“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.

About Henri Thibodeau

Freelance writer and translator based in Quebec, Canada.
This entry was posted in Other Food for Thought and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Test of the Three Sieves: Is Something True, Good, or Necessary…

  1. michel says:

    Whether Alexander’s three wishes are true or not, it leaves us with a great message. To protect ourselves is instinctive and to let go in life could be of spiritual order or pure laziness. Preserving wealth in a small portion, let’s say 10-20% of your daily living, is considered by some as reasonable. Reasonable is the word we must define in our lives as individuals. Leaving wealth to our loved ones when possible is a good deed but some would still argue. I understand the value of work and wealth. Responsibility to help our loved ones is probably a truer message than to broaden their wealth.


Leave a Reply | Laissez un commentaire

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s