Already last month, I was writing about Socrates – the wisest man in Greece (interestingly enough, the Oracle did not mention women).

Socrates is also seen as the source for an approach to conversations – and to silence -, which is very useful if regularly applied (actually, I could do better in this respect).

The story goes as follows:

Plato, the student of Socrates, came running towards him, quite out of breath:

“Master, I have to tell you what I heard about your wife.“

Socrates interrupted him immediately: ”Did you run it by the three filters?“

Plato looked quite stunned: ”What filters?“

”Well, dear friend, the first filter is the question: ’Is what I want to tell this person true?’. The second filter is the question: ’Is it coming from my heart?‘. And the third filter is the question: ‘Is it really helpful to the person to whom I am talking?‘.

Plato thought about it for a moment, seemingly filled with consternation, nodded, turned around and walked away without a further word.

Leonhard Lenz, Juli 2020,

I am telling this story, because we are confronted every day with the question of how we are handling the things that we think, read, see.

1. Is it true?

2. If I pass it on, does this action originate from my heart – or do I have another motive?

3. Does it help the person with whom I am talking?

These days, we are all flooded with all kind of fake news, right now of course specifically concerning the vaccination against the corona virus. If each one of us would spend some time with the question, whether what we intend to forward to somebody else is true, we could all save loads of time and emotions.

Very often, we are unable to decide whether something is true. It may coincide with my opinion, but I still might feel that it may not be correct, not honest. Should I forward it anyway?

Well, what would be the answer to question no. 2? What is it about deep down? Do I want to contribute to reduce fear – or am I adding to the feelings of fear, helplessness and being at the mercy of the situation? Or do I just want to feel part of a community of equal-minded people? We love those people who share our prejudices.

The question ”Is it helpful for the person to whom I am talking?“ is often the most difficult one to answer. Let me refer to my blog on the subject “The will cannot go beyond what the space is prepared to carry.”.

Of course it is difficult to be certain. Still, each and everyone of us can contribute to peace and healing in these chaotic times by asking us again and again, if what we are sharing is


from the heart

and helpful.

The saying “Speech is silver, silence is golden.“ is not from Socrates, but it is also quite fitting.