June 16, 2010

Philosophy Corner

Sagacious counsel from my biological brother, via email. He suggests that we all "Keep this in mind the next time you're about to repeat a rumor."

In ancient Greece (469 - 399 BC), Socrates was widely
lauded for his wisdom. One day the great 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 Test of Three."

"Test of Three?"

"That's correct," Socrates continued.

"Before you talk to me about my student let's take a
moment to test what you're going to say. The first
test is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what
you are about to tell me is true?"

"No," the man replied, "actually I just heard about it."

"All right," said Socrates. "So you don't really know
if it's true or not. Now let's try the second test,
the test of Goodness. 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?"

The man shrugged, a little embarrassed.
Socrates continued, "You may still pass though because
there is a third test - 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?"

The man was defeated and ashamed and said no more.

This is the reason Socrates was a great philosopher
and held in such high esteem.

It also explains why Socrates never found out that
Plato was banging his wife.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at June 16, 2010 10:35 AM

Oh sure, let's make fun of Socrates. ;)

If you think about it though, I think this joke is a fantastic illustration of how modern Facebook hipsters can't relate to we "middle-aged white males, balding" and vice versa. We (or at least I) see the first 14 paragraphs as an insightful parable teaching the vile nature of gossip, and the punch line as a vulgar extraneousness. They consider the first 14 paragraphs to be "some shit you gotta say to tell a really funny joke [dude!*]"

*optional

It's a really good object lesson. Please thank your brother for me!

Posted by: johngalt at June 16, 2010 2:48 PM

I keep trying to drag my brother over here. He and I are fighting over immigration today. No doubt you and The Refugee and AlexC and Keith and Terri and SugarChuck would like some help.

Here's my point: the first 14 ppgs perform their full effect even with the punchline. And it will see a far wider distribution thanks to #15.

But your point is taken. I laugh a bit because my brother is older and just as white. But I am certainly "balder." I'll send your regards and tell him you called him a "modern Facebook hipster." I think he'll like that a lot.

Posted by: jk at June 16, 2010 3:51 PM

Yes, you are right. Had it been posted under humor I'd likely not have bristled.

And your brother is certainly a hipster if he's been using Facebook longer than I, and I only signed up this week!

Posted by: johngalt at June 17, 2010 3:11 PM

JG on FB? OMG!

Posted by: jk at June 17, 2010 3:47 PM | What do you think? [4]