ts. As long as there have been human beings, people have been talking to each other. But often also about each other, mostly in the absence of the one who is being talked about. From time immemorial, gossip and malicious talk have been the order of the day, gossip and malicious talk. Hand on heart, who has never ever done this?
Even in ancient Greece, the cradle of our European culture, but also in other cultures, such as ancient Persia, wise men took up this all too human vice and made suggestions on how human relations could be improved with little effort.
One was the famous Athenian philosopher Socrates, and another Rumi, scholar and one of the most important Persian poets of the Middle Ages. Rumi recommended the following, certainly useful today: before a person speaks, they should let their words pass through three gates. At the first gate, they should ask the question, “Is it true?” At the second gate: “Is it necessary?” At the third gate, “Is it kind?”
Socrates does not speak of three gates, but of three sieves, through which one has to filter the utterances. The sieve of truth, the sieve of goodness and the sieve of necessity. To the third sieve Socrates says, “Is it necessary to tell me what you’re so excited about?” To his counterpart’s reply that it was not really necessary, Socrates is supposed to have said with a smile, “Well, if the story you’re about to tell me is neither true, good or necessary, just forget it and don’t bother me with it.”
Couldn’t a lot of discord be avoided, in friendships, in families, at the workplace, but also between peoples, countries and cultures, if we humans took this wisdom to heart again and again? •
If you want to prevent the setting of cookies (for example, Google Analytics), you can set this up by using this browser add-on.