Socrates Motivational Quotes

Socrates Motivational Quotes

“We cannot live better than in seeking to become better.”

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

“Every action has its pleasures and its price.”

“I examined the poets, and I look on them as people whose talent overawes both themselves and others, people who present themselves as wise men and are taken as such, when they are nothing of the sort.

From poets, I moved to artists. No one was more ignorant about the arts than I; no one was more convinced that artists possessed really beautiful secrets. However, I noticed that their condition was no better than that of the poets and that both of them have the same misconceptions. Because the most skillful among them excel in their specialty, they look upon themselves as the wisest of men. In my eyes, this presumption completely tarnished their knowledge. As a result, putting myself in the place of the oracle and asking myself what I would prefer to be — what I was or what they were, to know what they have learned or to know that I know nothing — I replied to myself and to the god: I wish to remain who I am.

We do not know — neither the sophists, nor the orators, nor the artists, nor I— what the True, the Good, and the Beautiful are. But there is this difference between us: although these people know nothing, they all believe they know something; whereas, I, if I know nothing, at least have no doubts about it. As a result, all this superiority in wisdom which the oracle has attributed to me reduces itself to the single point that I am strongly convinced that I am ignorant of what I do not know.”

“I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world.”

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

“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.”

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

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

“Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty.”

“Death may be the greatest of all human blessings.”

“Let him who would move the world first move himself.”

“Know thyself.”

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

“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.”

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

“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”

“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.”

“Be slow to fall into friendship, but when you are in, continue firm and constant.”

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

“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.”

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

“To find yourself, think for yourself.”

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

“Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.”

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

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

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

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”

“A Life without criticism and status is not a worth living.”

“I shall never cease from the practice and teaching of philosophy, exhorting anyone whom I meet after my manner, and convincing him, saying: O my friend, why do you who are a citizen of the great and mighty and wise city of Athens, care so much about laying up the greatest amount of money and honor and reputation, and so little about wisdom and truth and the greatest improvement of the soul, which you never regard or heed at all? Are you not ashamed of this?”

“Would that the majority could inflict the greatest evils, for they would then be capable of the greatest good, and that would be fine, but now they cannot do either. They cannot make a man either wise or foolish, but they inflict things haphazardly.”


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