The Rule of Three

Discussion in 'Masonic Education' started by iainmason, Nov 2, 2009.

  1. iainmason

    iainmason Registered User

    Ensor Notes June 15, 2005

    The Rule of Three

    I recently received this joke about the Rule of Three, which has to do with rumors and we are or have been guilty of passing rumors. In all rumors good or bad you find a kernel of truth, but it is what surrounds the kernel that you must be so careful about.

    I remember twice when I planted a rumor as a joke and watched it spread like wild fire through my work place. It was like the old parlor trick where you whisper a message into one person’s ear and they in turn whisper it to the next in line and so on. What you get when the message finally gets to the end is usually substantially different from when it started.

    Disinformation about Masonry is exactly the same. The rumors and false stories are based on a kernel of truth, and then they are wrapped in fantasy, falsehoods and complete disinformation. If you apply the Rule of Three you will most likely find the truth of the matter and if some one comes to you and asks about a story or rumor they have heard, put this Rule up against it and show how it fails.

    Ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law and if you are a Mason then this should also apply to you as well. All Masons are exhorted to make advancement in Masonry everyday. You should know and be able to tell the true story of Masonry. The Masonic Service Association Of North America have several very good pamphlets on this subject, all you have to do is have your Lodge Secretary order some or you can order your own directly from them. Your Ldg. Sec. will have their address or you can visit them on the web at; . It is up to us Masons to promote our Order in the most complimentary light. There are some who forget their obligations and forget that their actions reflect on us all. You can use the Rule of Three to gauge your actions as well.

    So here is the Rule of Three. I know that there is a kernel of truth in the philosophy that is at the heart of the joke, just apply the rule to the joke for confirmation that it works.

    Keep this philosophy in mind the next time you either hear or are 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."


    "That's right, "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 said, "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. This is the reason Socrates was a great philosopher and held in such high esteem.

    It also explains why he never found out that Plato was sleeping with his wife.



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