Great Throughts Treasury

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

Socrates NULL

Greek Athenian Classical Philosopher, credited as one of the founders of Western Philosophy known chiefly through the accounts of his students Plato and Xenophon because Socrates left no writings of his own

"A constant governance of our speech, according to duty and reason, is a high instance and a special argument of a thoroughly sincere and solid goodness."

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

"An envious man waxeth lean with the fatness of his neighbors. Envy is murder and revenge, the beginner of secret sedition and the perpetual tormentor of virtue. Envy is the filthy slime of the soul; a venom, a poison, or quicksilver which consumeth the flesh and drieth up the marrow of bones."

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

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

"A lie never lives to be old."

"A man can no more make a safe use of wealth without reason than he can of a horse without a bridle."

"Employ your time in improving yourselves by other men’s documents: so shall you come easily by what others have labored hard for."

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

"He is not only idle who does nothing, but he is idle who might be better employed."

"He who has the fewest wants is nearest the gods."

"Fame is the perfume of heroic deeds."

"How many things I can do without!"

"On the science of beauty everywhere - Remember how in that communion only, beholding beauty with the eye of the mind, he will be enabled to bring forth, not images of beauty, but realities (for he has hold not of an image but of a reality), and bringing forthe and nourishing true virtue to become the friend of God and be immortal, if mortal man may."

"He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have. Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty."

"The tongue of a fool is the key of his counsel, which, in a wise man, wisdom hath in keeping."

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

"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 and experience of them."

"Such as thy words are, such will thy affections be esteemed; and such will thy deeds as thy affections, and such thy life as thy deeds."

"There is no difference between knowledge and temperance: for he who knows what is good and embraces it, who knows what is bad and avoids it, is learned and temperate."

"Wisdom adorns riches, and shadows poverty."

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

"Virtue is the beauty of the soul."

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

"Children today are tyrants. They contradict their parents, gobble their food, and tyrannize their teachers."

"Get not your friends by bare compliments, but by giving them sensible tokens of your love. It is well worth while to learn how to win the heart of a man the right way... Excite them by your civilities, and show them that you desire nothing more than their satisfaction; oblige with all your soul that friend who has made you a present of his own."

"Leisure is the best of all possessions."

"Look death in the face with joyful hope and consider a lasting truth: the righteous man has nothing to fear, neither in life, nor in death, and the gods will not forsake him."

"I pray the, O God, that I may be beautiful within."

"Living well and beautifully and justly are all one thing."

"Know thyself."

"Slavery is a system of outrage and robbery."

"The best sauce for food is hunger."

"Nobody knows, in fact, what death is, nor whether to man it is not perchance the greatest of all blessings; yet people fear it as if they surely knew it to be the worst of evils."

"The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods."

"The Delphic oracle said I was the wisest of all the Greeks. It is because that I alone, of all the Greeks, know that I know nothing."

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

"The right way to begin is to pay attention to the young, and make them just as good as possible."

"The soul when using the body as an instrument of perception - that is to say, when using the sense of sigh and hearing, or some other sense - for the meaning of perceiving through the body is perceiving through the senses - is dragged by the body through the region of the changeable (the temporal) and wanders about and is confused. The world spins round her. She is like a drunkard when she touches change... But when, returning into herself she reflects, then she passes into the region of Eternity."

"The discovery of the alphabet will create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves... You give your disciples not truth but only the semblance of truth; they will be heroes of many things, and will have learned nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing."

"What is in conformity with justice should also be in conformity to the laws."

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

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

"And I say let a man be of good cheer about his soul. When the soul has been arrayed in her own proper jewels - temperance and justice, and courage, and nobility and truth - she is ready to go on her journey when the hour comes."

"Whom do I call educated? First, those who manage well the circumstances they encounter day by day. Next, those who are decent and honorable in their intercourse with all men, bearing easily and good naturedly what is offensive in others and being as agreeable and reasonable to their associates as is humanly possible to be... those who hold their pleasures always under control and are not ultimately overcome by their misfortunes... those who are not spoiled by their successes, who do not desert their true selves but hold their ground steadfastly as wise and sober -- minded men."

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

"Grant to me that I may be made beautiful in my soul within, and that all external possessions be in harmony with my inner man. May I consider the wise man rich and may I have such wealth as only the self-restrained man can bear or endure."

"It takes two to make a quarrel."

"I have indeed no business n life than to go about persuading you all, young and old, to care less for your bodies and your possessions and to make the protection of your souls your chief concern."

"I should not say that where fear is there is also reverence… but where reverence is, there is fear."