I recently hear the phrase “allusions which create illusion” with reference to Bach’s Suites for solo cello …
Ah the power of suggestion …
We went for a walk in Abbey Park Leicester today…
I also have recently pondered the pop acronym THINK…
T (is it True)
H (is it Helpful)
I (is it Inspiring)
N (is it Necessary)
K (is it Kind)
It’s a common pop acronym used to help people be more considerate in their action.
It’s a contemporary take on a bounty of communication filters that have floated about over the years. See further below*
However… as a contemplative creative, I am minded to wonder and wander…
Yes be mindful, but sometimes to burst-forth, to do, create, cry out in pain, frustration or ecstasy is … good.…
Rather than caution, ‘creation’ might be genuine if not obviously true, helpful, inspiring, necessary and kind
To abstract, to experiment, to stamp, mark, create, interact.
One of my favourite quotes, that I attribute to Wallace Stevens: “the interactivity between things is what makes things fecund.”
Yes excess abandonment can be is unhealthy but so might strict sobriety.
Confucius says (to Yen Hui) Zhuangzi, Chapter 4.
“When the words penetrate, sing your native note; when they fail to penetrate, desist.”
Yes caution and mindfulness is indeed wise.
Yes T.H.I.N.K., but also sing your native note, or desist, treat all abodes as one…
*A bounty of communication filters.
True, Good, Useful – Socrates
We understand that Socrates (ancient Greece) had what’s been called a Triple Filter Test:
One day an acquaintance met the great philosopher and said, “Do you know what I just heard about your friend?”
“Hold on a minute,” Socrates replied. “Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be good idea to take a moment and filter what you’re going to say. That’s why I call it the triple filter test. The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?”
“Well, no,” the man said, “actually I just heard about it and…”
“All right,” said Socrates. “So you don’t really know if it’s true or not. Now, let’s try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?”
“Umm, no, on the contrary…”
“So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about my friend, but you’re not certain it’s true. You may still pass the test though, because there’s one filter left—the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my friend 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 Three Sieves – Quaker
This quaker practice is illustrated in a children’s story in The Children’s Story Garden from the Quaker’s Philadelphia Yearly Meeting published in 1920.
THE THREE SIEVES
A little boy one day ran indoors from school and called out eagerly: “Oh, mother, what do you think of Tom Jones? I have just heard that ——”
“Wait a minute, my boy. Have you put what you have heard through the three sieves before you tell it to me?”
“Sieves, mother! What do you mean?”
“Well, the first sieve is called Truth. Is it true?”
“Well, I don’t really know, but Bob Brown said that Charlie told him that Tom ——”
“That’s very roundabout. What about the second sieve — Kindness. Is it kind?”
“Kind! No, I can’t say it is kind.”
“Now the third sieve — Necessity. Will it go through that? Must you tell this tale?”
“No, mother, I need not repeat it.”
“Well, then, my boy, if it is not necessary, not kind, and perhaps not true, let the story die.”
In easter teachings there are four (or five) guidelines for speech, which are that speech should be true, kind, helpful, conducive to harmony, and spoken at the right time.
“Monks, a statement endowed with five factors is well-spoken, not ill-spoken. It is blameless & unfaulted by knowledgeable people. Which five?
“It is spoken at the right time. It is spoken in truth. It is spoken affectionately. It is spoken beneficially. It is spoken with a mind of good-will.
“A statement endowed with these five factors is well-spoken, not ill-spoken. It is blameless & unfaulted by knowledgeable people.”
“Monks, speech endowed with four characteristics is well-spoken, not poorly spoken — faultless & not to be faulted by the wise. Which four? There is the case where a monk says only what it well-spoken, not what is poorly spoken; only what is just, not what is unjust; only what is endearing, not what is unendearing; only what is true, not what is false. Speech endowed with these four characteristics is well-spoken, not poorly spoken — faultless & not to be faulted by the wise.”
“Do I speak at the right time, or not? Do I speak of facts, or not? Do I speak gently or harshly? Do I speak profitable words or not? Do I speak with a kindly heart, or inwardly malicious?”
“Before you speak, ask yourself: is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve on the silence?” Sai Baba (1926 – 2011) – blended many traditional Muslim, Hindu and Sufi elements.
From Rumi (1207 – 1273) a persian mystic
“If you’re not completely naked, wrap your beautiful robe of words around you and sleep.” (Rumi, poem 314)
“There is a tall tower that Love builds Live there in Silence.” (Rumi, poem 824)
“Go up on the roof at night in the city of the Soul. Let everyone climb their roofs and sing their notes! Sing loud!“. (Rumi, poem 532)
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.
Warnings Against Folly
… haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
a false witness who pours out lies
and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.
Yes T.H.I.N.K., but also sing your native note, or desist, treat all abodes as one… 🙂