Socrates Quotes

The unexamined life is not worth living. Know thyself. Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down. There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance. Be slow to fall into friendship, but when you are in, continue firm and constant. When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser. Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people. Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty. I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think. Death may be the greatest of all human blessings. Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel. Wonder is the beginning of wisdom. Let him who would move the world first move himself. He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have. No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable. The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing. The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less. To find yourself, think for yourself. Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. By all means marry; if you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher. If you don't get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don't want, you suffer; even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can't hold on to it forever. Your mind is your predicament. It wants to be free of change. Free of pain, free of the obligations of life and death. But change is law and no amount of pretending will alter that reality. The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance. Do not do to others what angers you if done to you by others. Prefer knowledge to wealth, for the one is transitory, the other perpetual. We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. Envy is the ulcer of the soul. Life contains but two tragedies. One is not to get your heart’s desire; the other is to get it. The greatest way to live with honour in this world is to be what we pretend to be. Be nicer than necessary to everyone you meet. Everyone is fighting some kind of battle. To fear death, gentlemen, is no other than to think oneself wise when one is not, to think one knows what one does not know. No one knows whether death may not be the greatest of all blessings for a man, yet men fear it as if they knew that it is the greatest of evils. Thou shouldst eat to live; not live to eat. I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing. Be as you wish to seem. The hottest love has the coldest end. Beware the barrenness of a busy life. We cannot live better than in seeking to become better. The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our separate ways, I to die, and you to live. Which of these two is better only God knows. Every action has its pleasures and its price. Employ your time in improving yourself by other men's writings so that you shall come easily by what others have labored hard for. True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us. If a man comes to the door of poetry untouched by the madness of the Muses, believing that technique alone will make him a good poet, he and his sane compositions never reach perfection, but are utterly eclipsed by the performances of the inspired madman. One should never do wrong in return, nor mistreat any man, no matter how one has been mistreated by him. The easiest and noblest way is not to be crushing others, but to be improving yourselves. He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature. Children nowadays are tyrants. They contradict their parents, gobble their food, and tyrannise their teachers. All men's souls are immortal, but the souls of the righteous are immortal and divine. The highest realms of thought are impossible to reach without first attaining an understanding of compassion. To move the world we must move ourselves. My advice to you is get married: if you find a good wife you'll be happy; if not, you'll become a philosopher. Be of good cheer about death, and know this of a truth, that no evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death. The greatest blessing granted to mankind come by way of madness, which is a divine gift. If all our misfortunes were laid in one common heap whence everyone must take an equal portion, most people would be content to take their own and depart. In all of us, even in good men, there is a lawless wild-beast nature, which peers out in sleep. The really important thing is not to live, but to live well. And to live well meant, along with more enjoyable things in life, to live according to your principles. The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms. If you want to be a good saddler, saddle the worst horse; for if you can tame one, you can tame all. Once made equal to man, woman becomes his superior. From the deepest desires often come the deadliest hate.


469 BC - 399 BC