Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Plato NULL

Classical Greek Philosopher, Mathematician, Writer of Philosophical Dialogues, Founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world, Student of Socrates

"All the gold on earth and beneath the earth is not worth so much as virtue."

"A young person cannot judge what is allegorical and what is literal; anything that he receives into his 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."

"All which a man has belongs to those who gave him birth and brought him up, and that he must do all that he can to minister to them, first, in his property, secondly, in his person, and thirdly, in his soul, in return for the endless care and travail which they bestowed upon him of old, in the days of his infancy, and which he is now to pay back to them when they are old and in the extremity of their need."

"An envious man is never free of pain, just as the hypocrite is never free from fear."

"And if this is true, the inference clearly is that no man is voluntarily intermperate; but that the whole multitude of men lack temperance in their lives, either from ignorance, or from want of self-control, or both."

"Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity — I mean the true simplicity of a rightly and nobly ordered mind and character, not that other simplicity which is only a euphemism for folly."

"An orator's virtue is to speak the truth."

"Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity - I meant he true simplicity of a rightly and nobly ordered mind and character, not that other simplicity which is only an euphemism for folly?"

"Equality produces friendship."

"Every soul of man has in the way of nature beheld true being; this was the condition of her passing into the form of man. But all souls do not easily recall the things of the other world; they may have seen them for a short time only, or they may have been unfortunate in their earthly lot, and, having had their hearts turned to unrighteousness through some corrupting influence, they may have lost the memory of the holy things which once they saw. Few only retain an adequate remembrance of them; and they, when they behold here any image of that other world, are rapt in amazement; but they are ignorant of what this rapture means, because they do not clearly perceive."

"Convention and nature are generally at variance with one another."

"He who is of a 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."

"No man voluntarily pursues evil, or that which he thinks is evil. To prefer evil to good is not in human nature; and when a man is compelled to choose one of two evils, no one will choose the great when he may have the less."

"Of all the virtues, is not wisdom the one which the mass of mankind are always claiming, and which most arrouses in them a spirit of contention and lying conceit of wisdom?"

"Perfect wisdom hath four parts, vis., wisdom, the principle of doing things aright; justice, the principle of doing things equally in public and private; fortitude, the principle of not flying danger, but meeting it; and temperance, the principle of subduing desires and living moderately."

"He who commits injustice is ever made more wretched than he who suffers it."

"If a man were born so divinely gifted that he could naturally apprehend the truth, he would have no need of laws to rule over him; for there is no law or order which is above knowledge, nor can mind, without impiety, be deemed the subject or slave of any man, but rather the lord of all. I speak of mind, true and free, and in harmony with nature. But then there is no such mind anywhere, or at least not so much and therefore we must choose law and order, which are second best."

"If then virtue is a quality of the soul, and is admitted to be profitable or hurtful in themselves, but they are all made profitable or hurtful by the addition of wisdom or of folly; and therfore if virtue is profitable, virtue must be a sort of wisdom or prudence?"

"If the truth of all things always existed in the soul, then the soul is immortal."

"My opinion is that in the world of knowledge the idea of good appears last of all, and is seen only with an effort; and, when seen, is also inferred to be the universal author of all things beautiful and right, parent of light and of the lord of light in this visible world, and the immediate source of reason and truth in the intellectual; and that this is the power upon which he who would act rationally either in public or private life must have his eye fixed."

"In the friendship of the lover there is no real kindness; he has an appetite and wants to feed upon you. “Just as the wolf loves the lamb, so the lover adores his beloved.”"

"If you are wise, all men will be your friends and kindred, for you will be useful and good; but if you are not wise, neither father, nor mother, nor kindred; nor any one else, will be your friends."

"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."

"Reality is not motion and rest ‘both at once’, but something distinct from them."

"Self-conceit is always the companion of solitude."

"Pleasure deprives a man of the use of his faculties quite as much as pain."

"Self-knowledge is temperance."

"Seeing that all men desire happiness, and happiness, as has been shown, is gained by a use, and a right use, of the things of life, and the right use of them, and good fortune in the use of them, is given by knowledge, the inference is that everybody ought by all means to try and make himself as wise as he can."

"The beginning is the most important part of the work."

"Self-conquest is the greatest of victories."

"Philosophy begins in wonder."

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

"The irrational desire which overcomes the tendency of opinion towards right, and is led away to the enjoyment of beauty, and especially of personal beauty, by the desires which are her own kindred - that supreme desire, I say, which by leading conquers and by the force of passion is reinforced, from this very force, receiving a name, is called love."

"The greatest and highest truths have no outward image of themselves visible to man, which he who wishes to satisfy the soul of the inquirer can adapt to the eye of sense, and therefore we ought to train ourselves to give and accept a rational account of them; for immaterial things, which are the noblest and greatest, are shown only in thought and idea, and in no other way."

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

"The life which is unexamined is not worth living."

"The man who makes everything that leads to happiness depend 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 noblest of all studies is the study of what man is and of what life he should live."

"The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things."

"The spiritual eyesight improves as the physical eyesight declines."

"The soul of the child in his play should be guided to the love of that sort of excellence in which when he grows up to manhood he will have to be perfected."

"The three kinds of vain conceit... the vain conceit of beauty, of wisdom, and of wealth, are ridiculous if they are weak, and detestable when they are powerful."

"The true lover of knowledge naturally strives for truth, and is not content with common opinion, but soars with undimmed and unwearied passion till he grasps the essential nature of things."

"The true life should neither seek for pleasures, nor, on the other hand, entirely avoid pains, but should embrace the middle state."

"The true creator is necessity, who is the mother of our invention."

"The True lover of learning then must from his earliest youth, as far as in him lies, desire all truth."

"The unexamined life is not worth living."

"The virtue of wisdom more than anything else contains a divine element which always remains."

"The worst prison is a closed heart."

"The world is God's epistle to mankind - his thoughts are flashing upon us from every direction."