One of the greatest and most famous Greek philosophers, Socrates is considered the first moral philosopher and one of the founders of Western philosophy. Since he didn’t write down any of his work and teachings, the philosopher remains an enigmatic figure, known only from the writings of his students, particularly Plato and Xenophon.
Socrates wanted to establish an ethical system that would be based on human reason rather than the theological doctrine of the time. He strongly believed that the greatest leaders are the ones who possess knowledge, virtue and a complete understanding of themselves. Socrates stated that an individual’s choice is motivated by the desire for happiness, but the right choices to achieve happiness can only be made when one truly knows himself.
Although admired during his time, many felt that Socrates threatened their way of life – and soon he was sentenced to death and forced to drink a mixture of poison hemlock. He did this without hesitation, as he did not fear death. Here are 25 Socrates quotes that make yourself a better person:
Related post: Motivating Thoughts That will Change Your Life
1. Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings so that you shall come easily by what others have labored hard for.
2. Well, I am certainly wiser than this man. It is only too likely that neither of us has any knowledge to boast of; but he thinks that he knows something which he does not know, whereas I am quite conscious of my ignorance. At any rate, it seems that I am wiser than he is to this small extent, that I do not think that I know what I do not know.
3. The beginning of wisdom is a definition of terms.
4. Wars and revolutions and battles are due simply and solely to the body and its desires. All wars are undertaken for the acquisition of wealth; and the reason why we have to acquire wealth is the body, because we are slaves in its service.
5. I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think.
6. Worthless people love only to eat and drink; people of worth eat and drink only to live.
7. I was afraid that by observing objects with my eyes and trying to comprehend them with each of my other senses I might blind my soul altogether.
8. He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.
9. If a man is proud of his wealth, he should not be praised until it is known how he employs it.
10. Where there is reverence there is fear, but there is not reverence everywhere that there is fear, because fear presumably has a wider extension than reverence.
11. They are not only idle who do nothing, but they are idle also who might be better employed.
12. I only wish that ordinary people had an unlimited capacity for doing harm; then they might have an unlimited power for doing good.
13. No man undertakes a trade he has not learned, even the meanest; yet everyone thinks himself sufficiently qualified for the hardest of all trades, that of government.
14. I was really too honest a man to be a politician and live.
16. Ordinary people seem not to realize that those who really apply themselves in the right way to philosophy are directly and of their own accord preparing themselves for dying and death.
17. See one promontory, one mountain, one sea, one river and see all.
18. A system of morality which is based on relative emotional values is a mere illusion, a thoroughly vulgar conception which has nothing sound in it and nothing true.
19. By all means, marry. If you get a good wife you will become happy, and if you get a bad one you will become a philosopher.
20. When desire, having rejected reason and overpowered judgment which leads to the right, is set in the direction of the pleasure which beauty can inspire, and when again under the influence of its kindred desires it is moved with a violent motion towards the beauty of corporeal forms, it acquires a surname from this very violent motion and is called love.
21. Nature has given us two ears, two eyes, and but one tongue-to the end that we should hear and see more than we speak.
22. In childhood be modest, in youth temperate, in adulthood just, and in old age prudent.
23. The end of life is to be like God, and the soul following God will be like Him.
24. We are in fact convinced that if we are ever to have pure knowledge of anything, we must get rid of the body and contemplate things by themselves with the soul by itself. It seems, to judge from the argument, that the wisdom which we desire and upon which we profess to have set our hearts will be attainable only when we are dead and not in our lifetime.
25. Wars and revolutions and battles are due simply and solely to the body and its desires. All wars are undertaken for the acquisition of wealth; and the reason why we have to acquire wealth is the body, because we are slaves in its service.
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