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Unlocking Socratic Wisdom: A Journey Through Quotes

Explore the greatest wisdom quotes by Socrates.

A free soul ought not to pursue any study slavishly, for nothing that is learned under compulsion stays with the mind.

A system of morality that is based on relative emotional values is a mere illusion, a thoroughly vulgar conception that has nothing sound in it and nothing true.

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.

All that I know is nothing – I’m not even sure of that.

All things in moderation, including moderation.

All wars are fought for the acquisition of wealth.

An education obtained with money is worse than no education at all.

An honest man is always a child.

Are you not ashamed of heaping up the greatest amount of money and honor and reputation, and caring so little about wisdom and truth and the greatest improvement of the soul?

Awareness of ignorance is the beginning of wisdom.

Bad men live that they may eat and drink, whereas good men eat and drink that they may live.

Be as you wish to seem.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

Be nicer than necessary to everyone you meet. Everyone is fighting some kind of battle.

Be slow to fall into friendship; but when thou art in, continue firm and constant.

Be the kind of person that you want people to think you are.

Be true to thine own self.

Beauty is a short-lived tyranny.

Better to do a little well, then a great deal badly.

Beware the barrenness of a busy life.

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.

Call no man unhappy until he is married.

Children nowadays are tyrants. They contradict their parents, gobble their food, and tyrannise their teachers.

Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty.

Death offers mankind a full view of truth.

Do it because it’s in your heart. Not because you want something in return. Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for.

Do not do to others what angers you if done to you by others.

Do not go through life like leaf blown from here to there believing whatever you are told.

Do not grieve over someone who changes all of the sudden. It might be that he has given up acting and returned to his true self.

Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.

Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings so that you shall come easily by what others have labored hard for.

Envy is the ulcer of the soul.

Every action has its pleasures and its price.

Falling down is not a failure. Failure comes when you stay where you have fallen.

False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.

Fame is the perfume of heroic deeds.

Fear of women love more than hate the man.

Get married, in any case. If you happen to get a good mate, you will be happy; if a bad one, you will become philosophical, which is a fine thing in itself.

Get not your friends by bare compliments, but by giving them sensible tokens of your love.

Give me beauty in the inward soul; and may the outward and inward may be one.

Happiness is unrepentant pleasure.

Having the fewest wants, I am nearest to the gods.

He is rich who is content with the least; for contentment is the wealth of nature.

He is the richest who is content with the least.

He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.

How can you call a man free when his pleasures rule over him.

How many are the things I can do without!

I am a Citizen of the World, and my Nationality is Goodwill.

I am a fool, but I know I’m a fool and that makes me smarter than you.

I am not an Athenian, nor a Greek, but a citizen of the world.

I call myself a Peaceful Warrior… because the battles we fight are on the inside.

I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think.

I don’t care what people say about me. I do care about my mistakes.

I have lived long enough to learn how much there is I can really do without…. He is nearest to God who needs the fewest things.

I have not sought during my life to amass wealth and to adorn my body, but I have sought to adorn my soul with the jewels of wisdom, patience, and above all with a love of liberty.

I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance.

I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing.

I know you won’t believe me, but the highest form of Human Excellence is to question oneself and others.

I only wish that ordinary people had an unlimited capacity for doing harm; then they might have an unlimited power for doing good.

I pray Thee, O God, that I may be beautiful within.

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.

I was really too honest a man to be a politician and live.

If a man is proud of his wealth, he should not be praised until it is known how he employs it.

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.

If he who does not know kept silent, discord would cease.

If I tell you that I would be disobeying the god and on that account it is impossible for me to keep quiet, you won’t be persuaded by me, taking it that I am ionizing. And if I tell you that it is the greatest good for a human being to have discussions every day about virtue and the other things you hear me talking about, examining myself and others, and that the unexamined life is not livable for a human being, you will be even less persuaded.

If what you want to tell me is neither True nor Good nor even Useful, why tell it to me at all.

If you can do only a little. Do what you can. What you cannot enforce, do not command.

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.

If you want to be a good saddler, saddle the worst horse; for if you can tame one, you can tame all.

If you want to be wrong then follow the masses.

If you would seek health, look first to the spine.

Improve yourself by other men’s writings thus attaining effortlessly what they acquired through great difficulty.

In childhood be modest, in youth temperate, in adulthood just, and in old age prudent.

In every person there is a sun. Just let them shine.

It is better to make a mistake with full force of your being than to carefully avoid mistakes with a trembling spirit.

It is better to suffer an injustice than to commit one.

It is never right to do wrong or to requite wrong with wrong, or when we suffer evil to defend ourselves by doing evil in return.

It is possible that a man could live twice as long if he didn’t spend the first half of his life acquiring habits that shortens the other half.

Knowing thyself is the height of wisdom.

Let him that would move the world, first move himself.

Let the questions be the curriculum.

Lies are the greatest murder. They kill the Truth.

Life contains but two tragedies. One is not to get your heart’s desire; the other is to get it.

Man’s life is like a drop of dew on a leaf.

Marry a good woman, and be happy the rest of your life. Or, marry a bad, and become a good philosopher.

Marry or marry not, in any either case you’ll regret it.

Most people, including ourselves, live in a world of relative ignorance. We are even comfortable with that ignorance, because it is all we know. When we first start facing truth, the process may be frightening, and many people run back to their old lives. But if you continue to seek truth, you will eventually be able to handle it better. In fact, you want more! It’s true that many people around you now may think you are weird or even a danger to society, but you don’t care. Once you’ve tasted the truth, you won’t ever want to go back to being ignorant.

My friend…care for your psyche…know thyself, for once we know ourselves, we may learn how to care for ourselves.

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.

No citizen has a right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training… what a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.

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.

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.

Nothing is so well learned as that which is discovered.

Nothing is to be preferred before justice.

Once made equal to man, a woman becomes his superior.

One should never do wrong in return, nor mistreat any man, no matter how one has been mistreated by him.

Only the extremely ignorant or the extremely intelligent can resist change.

Only the knowledge that comes from inside is the real Knowledge.

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.

Our lives are but specks of dust falling through the fingers of time. Like sands of the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.

Our prayers should be for blessings in general, for God knows best what is good for us.

People learn more on their own rather than being force fed.

Prefer knowledge to wealth, for the one is transitory, the other perpetual.

Remember that there is nothing stable in human affairs; therefore avoid undue elation in prosperity, or undue depression in adversity.

Remember what is unbecoming to do is also unbecoming to speak of.

Remember, no human condition is ever permanent. Then you will not be overjoyed in good fortune nor too scornful in misfortune.

See one promontory, one mountain, one sea, one river and see all.

She soars on her own wings.

Silence is a profound melody, for those who can hear it above all the noise.

Slanderers do not hurt me because they do not hit me.

Smart people learn from everything and everyone, average people from their experiences, stupid people already have all the answers.

Sometimes you have to let go to see if there was anything worth holding onto.

Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.

Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.

The beginning of wisdom is a definition of terms.

The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.

The comic and the tragic lie inseparably close, like light and shadow.

The easiest and noblest way is not to be crushing others, but to be improving yourselves.

The end of life is to be like God, and the soul following God will be like Him.

The envious person grows lean with the fatness of their neighbor.

The fewer our wants the more we resemble the Gods.

The friend must be like money, that before you need it, the value is known.

The greatest blessing granted to mankind come by way of madness, which is a divine gift.

The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be.

The highest realms of thought are impossible to reach without first attaining an understanding of compassion.

The hour of departure has arrived and we go our ways; I to die, and you to live. Which is better? Only God knows.

The more I learn, the less I realize I know.

The nearest way to glory is to strive to be what you wish to be thought to be.

The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance.

The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.

The real danger in life is not death, but living an evil life.

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.

The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.

The shortest and surest way to live with honor in the world, is to be in reality what we would appear to be; and if we observe, we shall find, that all human virtues increase and strengthen themselves by the practice of them.

The unexamined life is not worth living.

The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.

The wise man seeks death all his life, and for this reason death is not terrifying to him.

The years wrinkle our skin, but lack of enthusiasm wrinkles our soul.

The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they alone knew everything and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with them. As for girls, they are forward, immodest and unwomanly in speech, behaviour and dress.

There are two kinds of disease of the soul, vice and ignorance.

There is but one evil, ignorance.

There is no illness of the body except for the mind.

There is no learning without remembering.

There is no possession more valuable than a good and faithful friend.

There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.

There’s no good answer to a question you didn’t hear.

They are not only idle who do nothing, but they are idle also who might be better employed.

Think not those faithful who praise all thy words and actions, but those who kindly reprove thy faults.

This is a universe that does not favor the timid.

Those who want the fewest things are nearest to the gods.

Through your rags I see your vanity.

To believe without evidence and demonstration is an act of ignorance and folly.

To find yourself, think for yourself.

To know, is to know that you know nothing. That is the meaning of true knowledge.

To move the world we must move ourselves.

True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.

True wisdom lies in one’s confession about the limits of one’s knowledge.

Trust not a woman when she weeps, for it is her nature to weep when she wants her will.

Understanding a question is half an answer.

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.

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.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is a habit.

We can do nothing without the body, let us always take care that it is in the best condition to sustain us.

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.

We cannot live better than in seeking to become better.

Wealth does not bring goodness, but goodness brings wealth and every other blessing, both to the individual and to the state.

What a lot of things there are a man can do without.

When a woman is allowed to become a man’s equal, she becomes his superior.

When desire, having rejected reason and overpowered judgment which leads to 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 violent motion towards the beauty of corporeal forms, it acquires a surname from this very violent motion, and is called love.

When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.

When you want success as badly as you want the air, then you will get it. There is no other secret of success.

When you want wisdom and insight as badly as you want to breathe, it is then you shall have it.

Whenever, therefore, people are deceived and form opinions wide of the truth, it is clear that the error has slid into their minds through the medium of certain resemblances to that truth.

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.

Why should we pay so much attention to what the majority thinks?

Wisdom begins in wonder.

Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.

Worthless people live only to eat and drink; people of worth eat and drink only to live.

You never know a line is crooked unless you have a straight one to put next to it.

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