Socrates - Appendix - 4

Appendix - 4

Appendix IV

Famous Quotations from Socrates

The unexamined life is not worth living.

 All men's souls are immortal, but the souls of the righteous are immortal and divine.

I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance.

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

I am the wisest man alive; for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.

True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing.

A life unexamined is unworthy of a man.

As for me, all I know is that I know nothing.

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

Not life, but good life, is to be chiefly valued.

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

Death may be the greatest of all human blessings.

I must first know myself, as the Delphic inscription says; to be curious about things not my concern while I am still in ignorance of my own self, would be absurd.

Virtue is knowledge, and the man who knows the right will act rightly.

He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.

An honest man is always a child.

Be as you wish to seem.

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

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Top: The Acropolis at Athens. Every city had an acropolis, or citadel. Destroyed by the Persians, the  Athenian Acropolis was rebuilt in the late 5th century BC.

Bottom: Athena. This Roman version is the only evidence we have of the sumptuous appearance of the gold and ivory image of Athena made by Phidias for the Parthenon.

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These supporting pillars in female form, the Caryatids, form part of the  Erechtheum, a small temple on the Acropolis (see photo pp. 136-37).
"Our city is education for all Hellas."


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

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

"Wisdom begins in wonder.

It is not living that matters, but living rightly.

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

Beware the barrenness of a busy life,

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

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

He is a man of courage who does not run away, but remains at his post and fights against the enemy.

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If thou continuest to take delight in idle argumentation thou mayest be qualified to combat with the sophists, but will never know how to live with men.

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

He is richest who is content with the least.

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

You seem to think that happiness consists of luxury and extravagance; but I think that to want nothing is to resemble the gods, and to want as little as possible is tomake the nearest approach to the gods.

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.

As to marriage or celibacy, let a man take which course he will, he will be sure to repent.

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

Beauty is a short-lived tyranny.

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By-all means marry. If you get a good wife, you'll be happy. If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher and that is a good thing for any man.

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

Employ your time in improving yourself by other men's writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have laboured hard for.

From the deepest desires often comes the deadliest hate.

I decided that it was not wisdom that enabled poets to write their poetry, but a kind of instinct or inspiration, such as you find in seers and prophets who deliver all their sublime messages without knowing in the least what they mean.

The poets are only the interpreters of the Gods.

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 misfortunes were laid in one common heap whence everyone must take an equal portion, most people would

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be contented to take their own and depart.

One who is injured ought not to return the injury, for .on no account can it be right to do an injustice; and it is not right to return an injury, or to do evil to any man, however much we have suffered from him.

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.

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.

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

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