Socrates was a classical Greek philosopher and a man held in high regard. One day, he came upon an acquaintance. The acquaintance ran up to Socrates and said: “Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of your students?”
Socrates replied: “Wait a moment, before you tell me, I would like you to pass a test. It is called the Test of Three. Before you talk to me about my student, take a moment to test what you are going to say. The first test is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?”
The man replied that he had not, to which Socrates responded: “So, you do not really know if it is true or not? Now let us 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…” the main replied. Socrates then said: “So, you want to tell me something bad about him even though you are not certain it is true?”. The man was a little embarrassed.
Socrates next said to the man: “But there is a third test of Usefulness. Is what you are going to tell me about my student useful to me?”
The man replied that it was not useful to Socrates.
“Well,” concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell me is not True or Good or Useful, then why tell it to me at all?”
The man was ashamed and defeated. He said nothing further.