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I learned some years ago and now I'm finding it hard to remember it back. It was something like: If what you have to say is not going to help me with anything and if it's not true, don't say it!

And I know that its not complete but I can't remember anything else and I don't find anything else like that.

I would appreciate if someone could help me to find the philosopher that said this.

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Quoted from:
Jennifer Cook O’Toole, "The Asperkid’s (Secret) Book of Social Rules" (Jessica Kingsley Publications, 2012) page 137


Eager to share some juicy gossip, the man asked if Socrates would like to know the story he’d just heard about a friend of theirs. Socrates replied that before the man spoke, he needed to pass the “Triple-Filter” test.

The first filter, he explained, is Truth. “Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to say is true?” The man shook his head. “No, I actually just heard about it, and …

Socrates cut him off. “You don’t know for certain that it is true, then. Is what you want to say something good or kind?” Again, the man shook his head. “No! Actually, just the opposite. You see …

Socrates lifted his hand to stop the man speaking. “So you are not certain that what you want to say is true, and it isn’t good or kind. One filter still remains, though, so you may yet still tell me. That is Usefulness or Necessity. Is this information useful or necessary to me?” A little defeated, the man replied, “No, not really.”

Well, then,” Socrates said, turning on his heel. “If what you want to say is neither true, nor good or kind, nor useful or necessary, please don’t say anything at all.


Note that any of the three conditions is enough of a reason to share it.

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  • That's it!! Thank you very much. – João Soares Dec 16 '20 at 18:45
  • @JoãoSoares -- feel free to accept my answer, then ;) – Yuri Alexandrovich Dec 22 '20 at 9:28
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This might be the quote you are searching: Before you speak ask yourself if what you are going to say is true, is kind, is necessary, is helpful. If the answer is no, maybe what you are about to say should be left unsaid.

See: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/bernard_meltzer_157511

Know more about Bernard Meltzer

For quotes,see this: https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/bernard-meltzer-quotes

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  • When I was searching for it, I found that quote as well, but it's not that one! The quote that I'm looking for has more lines!! – João Soares Dec 16 '20 at 15:22
  • @JoãoSoares: I have edited my post – SonOfThought Dec 16 '20 at 15:56

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