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Quotations --- Plato

 

 


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

 

Desires are only the lack of something: and those who have the greatest desires are in a worse condition than those who have none, or very slight ones.

 

Ignorance, the root and the stem of every evil.

 

Laws are partly formed for the sake of good men, in order to instruct them how they may live on friendly terms with one another, and partly for the sake of those who refuse to be instructed, whose spirit cannot be subdued, or softened, or hindered from plunging into evil.

 

Man...is a tame or civilized animal; never the less, he requires proper instruction and a fortunate nature, and then of all animals he becomes the most divine and most civilized; but if he be insufficiently or ill- educated he is the most savage of earthly creatures.

 

Never discourage anyone... who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.

 

Only the dead have seen the end of war.

 

The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.

 

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.

 

Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.

 

You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.

 

No evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death.

 

You cannot conceive the many without the one.

 

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

 

Must not all things at the last be swallowed up in death?

 

The partisan, when he is engaged in a dispute, cares nothing about the rights of the question, but is anxious only to convince his hearers of his own assertions.

 

Friends have all things in common.

 

The greatest penalty of evildoing - namely, to grow into the likeness of bad men.

 

You are young, my son, and, as the years go by, time will change and even reverse many of your present opinions. Refrain therefore awhile from setting yourself up as a judge of the highest matters.

 

Any one who has common sense will remember that the bewilderments of the eyes are of two kinds, and arise from two causes, either from coming out of the light or from going into the light, which is true of the mind's eye, quite as much as of the bodily eye; and he who remembers this when he sees any one whose vision is perplexed and weak, will not be too ready to laugh; he will first ask whether that soul of man has come out of the brighter light, and is unable to see because unaccustomed to the dark, or having turned from darkness to the day is dazzled by excess of light.

 

Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world to another.

 

Bodily exercise, when compulsory, does no harm to the body; but knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.

 

Everything that deceives may be said to enchant.

 

He who is of calm and happy nature will hardly feel the pressure of age, but to him who is of an opposite disposition youth and age are equally a burden.

 

I have hardly ever known a mathematician who was capable of reasoning.

 

Mankind censure injustice fearing that they may be the victims of it, and not because they shrink from committing it.

 

The beginning is the most important part of the work.

 

The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future life.

 

The people have always some champion whom they set over them and nurse into greatness...This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector.

 

The soul of man is immortal and imperishable.

 

There are three arts which are concerned with all things: one which uses, another which makes, and a third which imitates them.

 

Wealth is the parent of luxury and indolence, and poverty of meanness and viciousness, and both of discontent.

 

When there is an income tax, the just man will pay more and the unjust less on the same amount of income.

 

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.

 

Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination
and life to everything.

 

Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.

 

The heaviest penalty for declining to rule is to be ruled by someone inferior to yourself.

 

Love is a serious mental disease.

 

Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.

 

There is truth in wine and children.

 

I know not how I may seem to others, but to myself I am but a small child wandering upon the vast shores of knowledge, every now and then finding a small bright pebble to content myself with.

 

The madness of love is the greatest of heaven's blessings.

 

I'm trying to think, don't confuse me with facts.

 

According to Greek mythology, humans were originally created with 4 arms, 4 legs and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves.

 

Those who tell the stories rule society.

 

Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge.

 

When men speak ill of thee, live so that nobody will believe them.

 

There are three classes of men; lovers of wisdom, lovers of honor, and lovers of gain.

 

The measure of a man is what he does with power.

 

Education is teaching our children to desire the right things.

 

How can you prove whether at this moment we are sleeping, and all our thoughts are a dream; or whether we are awake, and talking to one another in the waking state?

 

In politics we presume that everyone who knows how to get votes knows how to administer a city or a state. When we are ill... we do not ask for the handsomest physician, or the most eloquent one.

 

You should not honor men more than truth.

 

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

 

There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot.

 

Musical innovation is full of danger to the State, for when modes of music change, the laws of the State always change with them.

 

Necessity is the mother of invention.

 

Character is simply habit long continued.

 

“Excellence" is not a gift, but a skill that takes practice.
We do not act "rightly" because we are "excellent",
in fact we achieve "excellence" by acting "rightly".”

 

Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others.

 

The soul takes nothing with her to the next world but her education and her culture. At the beginning of the journey to the next world, one's education and culture can either provide the greatest assistance, or else act as the greatest burden, to the person who has just died.

 

The object of education is to teach us to love what is beautiful.

 

A hero is born among a hundred, a wise man is found among a thousand, but an accomplished one might not be found even among a hundred thousand men.

 

People are like dirt. They can either nourish you and help you grow as a person or they can stunt your growth and make you wilt and die.

 

An empty vessel makes the loudest sound, so they that have the least wit are the greatest babblers.

 

“…if a man can be properly said to love something, it must be clear that he feels affection for it as a whole, and does not love part of it to the exclusion of the rest.”

 

The greatest wealth is to live content with little.

 

No man should bring children into the world who is unwilling to persevere to the end in their nature and education.

 

A house that has a library in it has a soul.

 

Any man may easily do harm, but not every man can do good to another.

 

To be afraid of death is only another form of thinking that one is wise when one is not; it is to think that one knows what one does not know. No one knows with regard to death whether it is not really the greatest blessing that can happen to man; but people dread it as though they were certain it is the greatest evil.

 

For this feeling of wonder shows that you are a philosopher, since wonder is the only beginning of philosophy.

 

Poets utter great and wise things which they do not themselves understand.

 

The soul takes flight to the world that is invisible but there arriving she is sure of bliss and forever dwells in paradise.

 

Of all the animals, the boy is the most unmanageable.

 

At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet.

 

Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.

 

There is in every one of us, even those who seem to be most moderate, a type of desire that is terrible, wild, and lawless.

 

The man who finds that in the course of his life he has done a lot of wrong often wakes up at night in terror, like a child with a nightmare, and his life is full of foreboding: but the man who is conscious of no wrongdoing is filled with cheerfulness and with the comfort of old age.

 

Love is simply the name for the desire and pursuit of the whole.

 

Man is a being in search of meaning.

 

No wealth can ever make a bad man at peace with himself.

 

I would teach children music, physics, and philosophy; but most importantly music, for the patterns in music and all the arts are the keys to learning.

 

The first and best victory is to conquer self.

 

Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history.

 

All is flux, nothing stays still.

 

In practice people who study philosophy too long become very odd birds, not to say thoroughly vicious; while even those who are the best of them are reduced by...[philosophy] to complete uselessness as members of society.

 

Have you ever sensed that our soul is immortal and never dies?

 

All I really know is the extent of my own ignorance.

 

I thought to myself: I am wiser than this man; neither of us probably knows anything that is really good, but he thinks he has knowledge, when he has not, while I, having no knowledge, do not think I have.

 

The society we have described can never grow into a reality or see the light of day, and there will be no end to the troubles of states, or indeed, my dear Glaucon, of humanity itself, till philosophers become rulers in this world, or till those we now call kings and rulers really and truly become philosophers, and political power and philosophy thus come into the same hands.

 

Is there a perfect world?

 

Either we shall find what it is we are seeking or at least we shall free ourselves from the persuasion that we know what we do not know.

 

Knowledge which is acquired under compulsion has no hold on the mind. Therefore do not use compulsion, but let early education be a sort of amusement; you will then be better able to discover the child's natural bent.

 

Philosophy is the highest music.

 

Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being.

 

Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity.

 

Time is the moving image of reality.

 

Those who are able to see beyond the shadows and lies of their culture will never be understood, let alone believed, by the masses.

 

But Above all things truth beareth away the victory.

 

True friendship can exist only between equals.

 

Only a philosopher's mind grows wings, since its memory always keeps it as close as possible to those realities by being close to which the gods are divine.

 

Ideas are the source of all things.

 

A life without investigation is not worth living.

 

What if the man could see Beauty Itself, pure, unalloyed, stripped of mortality, and all its pollution, stains, and vanities, unchanging, divine,...the man becoming in that communion, the friend of God, himself immortal;...would that be a life to disregard?

 

We are like people looking for something they have in their hands all the time; we're looking in all directions except at the thing we want, which is probably why we haven't found it.

 

"Men of Athens, I honor and love you; but I shall obey God rather than you, and while I have life and strength I shall never cease from the practice and teaching of philosophy... Understand that I shall never alter my ways, not even if I have to die many times.”

 

Man is a prisoner who has no right to open the door of his prison and run away... A man should wait, and not take his own life until God summons him.

 

Honesty is for the most part less profitable than dishonesty.

 

Let parents then bequeath to their children not riches but the spirit of reverence.

 

All learning has an emotional base.

 

“…it’s better in fact to be guilty of manslaughter than of fraud about what is fair and just.”

 

Love is born into every human being; it calls back the halves of our original nature together; it tries to make one out of two and heal the wound of human nature.

 

He who approaches the temple of the Muses without inspiration, in the belief that craftsmanship alone suffices, will remain a bungler and his presumptuous poetry will be obscured by the songs of the maniacs.

 

If men learn this, it will implant forgetfulness in their souls; they will cease to exercise memory because they rely on that which is written, calling things to remembrance no longer from within themselves, but by means of external marks. What you have discovered is a recipe not for memory, but for reminder. And it is no true wisdom that you offer your disciples, but only its semblance, for by telling them of many things without teaching them you will make them seem to know much, while for the most part they know nothing, and as men filled, not with wisdom, but with the conceit of wisdom, they will be a burden to their fellows.

 

And isn't it a bad thing to be deceived about the truth, and a good thing to know what the truth is? For I assume that by knowing the truth you mean knowing things as they really are.

 

Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, gaiety and life to everything. It is the essence of order and lends to all that is good and just and beautiful.

 

No thing more excellent nor more valuable than wine was ever granted mankind by God.

 

Knowledge is the food of the soul.

 

Knowledge becomes evil if the aim be not virtuous.

 

For a man to conquer himself is the first and noblest of all victories.

 

He was a wise man who invented beer.

 

You know that the beginning is the most important part of any work, especially in the case of a young and tender thing; for that is the time at which the character is being formed and the desired impression is more readily taken....Shall we just carelessly allow children to hear any casual tales which may be devised by casual persons, and to receive into their minds ideas for the most part the very opposite of those which we should wish them to have when they are grown up? ... We cannot .... Anything received into the mind at that age is likely to become indelible and unalterable; and therefore it is most important that the tales which the young first hear should be models of virtuous thoughts ....

 

The man who makes everything that leads to happiness depends upon himself, and not upon other men, has adopted the very best plan for living happily. This is the man of moderation, the man of manly character and of wisdom.

 

The soul of him who has education is whole and perfect and escapes the worst disease, but, if a man's education be neglected, he walks lamely through life and returns good for nothing to the world below.

 

And whenever any one informs us that he has found a man who knows all the arts, and all things else that anybody knows, and every single thing with a higher degree of accuracy than any other man – whoever tells us this, I think that we can only imagine him to be a simple creature who is likely to have been deceived by some wizard or actor whom he met, and whom he thought all-knowing, because he himself was unable to analyze the nature of knowledge and ignorance and imitation.

 

“the only thing he ought to consider, if he does anything, is whether he does right or wrong, whether it is what a good man does or a bad man”

 

What a strange thing that which men call pleasure seems to be, and how astonishing the relation it has with what is thought to be its opposite, namely pain! A man cannot have both at the same time. Yet if he pursues and catches the one, he is almost always bound to catch the other also, like two creatures with one head.

 

The first and best victory is to conquer self. To be conquered by self is, of all things, the most shameful and vile.

 

They deem him their worst enemy who tells them the truth.

 

He who wishes to serve his country must have not only the power to think, but the will to act.

 

Excess of liberty, whether it lies in state or individuals, seems only to pass into excess of slavery.

 

Musical training is a more potent instrument than any other, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul.

 

Similarly with regard to truth, won't we say that a soul is maimed if it hates a voluntary falsehood, cannot endure to have one in itself, and is greatly angered when it exists in others, but is nonetheless content to accept an involuntary falsehood, isn't angry when it is caught being ignorant, and bears its lack of learning easily, wallowing in it like a pig?

 

Virtue does not spring from riches, but riches and all other human blessings, both private and public, from virtue.

 

“...both wealth and concord decline as possessions become pursued and honored. And virtue perishes with them as well.”

 

It's not at all uncommon to find a person's desires compelling him to go against his reason, and to see him cursing himself and venting his passion on the source of the compulsion within him. It's as if there were two warring factions, with passion fighting on the side of reason. But I'm sure you won't claim that you had ever, in yourself or in anyone else, met a case of passion siding with his desires against the rational mind, when the rational mind prohibits resistance.

“not exact, but: the two most important questions are; who will teach the children? what will they teach them?”

 

Pleasure is the bait of sin.

 

And then, at this stage, every dictator comes up with the notorious and typical demand: he asks the people for bodyguards to protect him, the people's champion.

 

“this is the greatest good to man, to discourse daily on virtue, and other things which you have heard me discussing, examining both myself and others,”

 

A library of wisdom, is more precious than all wealth, and all things that are desirable cannot be compared to it. Whoever therefore claims to be zealous of truth, of happiness, of wisdom or knowledge, must become a lover of books.

 

O youth or young man, who fancy that you are neglected by the Gods, know that if you become worse you shall go with the worse souls, or if better with the better, and in every succession of life and death you will do and suffer as one may fitly suffer in accordance with conduct. This is the justice of heaven.

 

“those who practice philosophy in the right way are in training for dying and they fear death least of all men.”

 

The rhetorician need not know the truth about things; he has only to discover some way of persuading the ignorant that he has more knowledge than those who know.

 

Wars and revolutions and battles, you see, 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.

 

“["F]or it's not possible," [Socrates] said, "for anybody to experience a greater evil than hating arguments. Hatred of arguments and hatred of human beings come about in the same way. For hatred of human beings arises from artlessly trusting somebody to excess, and believing that human being to be in every way true and sound and trustworthy, and then a little later discovering that this person is wicked and untrustworthy - and then having this experience again with another. And whenever somebody experiences this many times, and especially at the hands of just those he might regard as his most intimate friends and comrades, he then ends up taking offense all the time and hates all human beings and believes there's nothing at all sound in anybody.”

 

In order for man to succeed in life, God provided him with two means, education and physical activity. Not separately, one for the soul and the other for the body, but for the two together. With these means, man can attain perfection.”

 

As it is, the lover of inquiry must follow his beloved wherever it may lead him.




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