"Try to be a filter, not a sponge"

This is a line of dialogue from the movie Perks of Being a Wallflower. I am confused. Either it means that one shouldn't absorb the opinions of others wholly but only partially and not let all the negative words/criticisms get to you, as in to hear with one ear and purge it out from the other one, or to save only the solid (real part or positive concerns) and let the liquid (redundant non-concrete negative part) pass through, if I may put it in a self-created metaphorical sense. I saw the movie long back, so I don't remember the context in which dialogue was delivered. Which one is it?


The context in the book The Perks of Being a Wallflower is that the narrator is given a gift of Ayn Rand's nonsense book The Fountainhead and told

Be skeptical about this one. It's a great book. Try to be a filter, not a sponge.

In other words, don't just soak up the book uncritically the way a sponge soaks up water. Filter out the bad ideas and keep the remaining good ideas.

  • Thanks, but who writes bad ideas in his/her book? :-) – Jony Agarwal Oct 10 '15 at 5:21
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    @JonyAgarwal Ayn Rand certainly did, you emoticon notwithstanding. – deadrat Oct 10 '15 at 5:46
  • pardon me but I didn't get "you emoticon notwithstanding". – Jony Agarwal Oct 10 '15 at 6:55
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    @JonyAgarwal I realize that your emoticon meant that you were being at least half facetious with your comment. But I replied in all seriousness about Ayn Rand. And I just didn't want you to think I'm a humorless grouch who can't tell when someone is making a light-hearted comment. – deadrat Oct 10 '15 at 7:30
  • Well, I actually wanted to be polite and not come off as an attacker trying to ask for more such instances and I am used to type ':P' if I make a light comment (I hope I am not missing out on any rules on using emoticons). But I appreciate your clarification. Cheers. – Jony Agarwal Oct 10 '15 at 8:58

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