Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Plato Πλάτων

428 – 348 BCE

Founder of the Western world’s first and longest-lived university, one of the most influential philosophers in all history; Plato used the influence of his teacher Socrates, the skill of his student Aristotle, and his own personal genius to establish the foundation of Western science. Founder of process philosophy, Alfred North Whitehead described all of European philosophy as “footnotes to Plato.” Nietzsche described Christianity as "Platonism for the people" and Christianity is indeed infused with Platonic thought that also profoundly influenced Saint Augustine, one of the most respected Christian philosophers. Platonic thought has continually revived through the ages dominating the Middle Ages, inspiring th Renaissance, and continues as a profound influence today.

Eras

Sources

Republic Πολιτεία

Unlisted Sources

Athenian prosecutors

Dialogs

Symposium

Quotes by Plato (37 quotes)

“Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.”

Chapters: 12. This Over That

Themes: Beauty

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

Chapters: 16. Returning to the Root, Meditation

Themes: Anger

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

from Republic Πολιτεία

Chapters: 25. The Mother of All Things

Themes: Family

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“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.”

from Republic Πολιτεία

Chapters: 27. No Trace

Themes: Education Music

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“‘Love' is the name for our pursuit of wholeness, for our desire to be complete.”

Chapters: 39. Oneness

Themes: Enlightenment

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“He was a wise man who invented God.”

Chapters: 39. Oneness

Themes: God

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

from Republic Πολιτεία

Chapters: 41. Distilled Life

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“According to Greek mythology, humans were originally created with four arms, four 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.”

Chapters: 42. Children of the Way

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

Chapters: 44. Fame and Fortune

Themes: Integrity

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“He hewed the humans in two just as one cuts fruit for preservation… After that, with their natures hewn in two, each one missed the union with its other half… nor would it appear that we want anything else… cooperation and fusion - becoming one out of two. For this is the basis; this is our primeval nature, described as being whole.”

Chapters: 45. Complete Perfection

Themes: Oneness Marriage

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“The greatest wealth is to live content with little.”

Chapters: 46. Enough

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“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?”

Chapters: 49. No Set Mind

Themes: Dream

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“With anything young and tender, the most important time is the beginning because that is the time when character is formed.”

Chapters: 52. Cultivating the Changeless

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“Honesty is for the most part less profitable than dishonesty.”

Chapters: 53. Shameless Thieves

Themes: Materialism

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“good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws”

from Republic Πολιτεία

Chapters: 53. Shameless Thieves

Themes: Law and Order

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

Chapters: 56. One with the Dust

Themes: Less is More

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“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.”

from Republic Πολιτεία

Chapters: 58. Goals Without Means

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“Man is a being in search of meaning.”

Chapters: 65. Simplicity: the Hidden Power of Goodness

Themes: Meaningfulness

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

Chapters: 67. Three Treasures

Themes: Know Yourself

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“the most important part of a task is the beginning, for that is the time when character is formed, when impressions readily taken.”

from Republic Πολιτεία

Chapters: 76. The Soft and Flexible

Themes: Strategy

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“The excessive increase of anything causes a reaction in the opposite direction;… dictatorship naturally arises out of democracy, and the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme form of liberty.”

from Republic Πολιτεία

Chapters: 77. Stringing a Bow

Themes: Freedom Democracy

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“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”

Themes: Music

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“The worst of all lawful governments and the best of all lawless ones, democracy is weak and unable to do any great good or any great evil.”

Themes: Democracy

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“In the world of knowledge the idea of good appears last of all, and is seen...to be the universal author of all things beautiful and right”

from Republic Πολιτεία

Themes: Basic Goodness

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“Socrates is an evil-doer and a curious person, searching into things under the earth and above the heaven; and making the worse appear the better cause, and teaching all this to others.”

from Athenian prosecutors

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“But do you think that anyone is happy who is in the condition of a slave, and who can not do what he likes?”

from Dialogs

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“The greatest and fairest sort of wisdom by far is that which is concerned with the ordering of states.”

Themes: Government

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“Until philosophers are kings or the kings and princes of this world have the spirit and power of philosophy, and political greatness and wisdom meet in one, and those commoner natures who pursue either to the exclusion of the other are compelled to stand aside, cities will never have rest from their evils, no, nor the human race.”

Themes: Wisdom Philosophy

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“The rulers of the State are the only ones who should have the privilege of lying either at home or abroad; they may be allowed to lie for the good of the State.”

from Republic Πολιτεία

Themes: Lies

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“Until philosophers are kings, or the kings and princes of the world have the spirit and power of philosophy, the human race will never see an end of trouble. Only when political greatness and wisdom meet will cities and nations rest from their evils and see the light of day.”

from Republic Πολιτεία

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“There was a time when male and female were one but God cut them into two and each became a half-shadow always searching for the other half. This desire and pursuit of the whole is called love.”

from Symposium

Themes: Sex Love

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“Diogenes—a Socrates gone mad.”

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“The first and greatest victory is to conquer yourself; to be conquered by yourself is of all things most shameful and vile.”

Themes: Victory

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“[Homer was] the greatest of poets and the first of tragedy writers [but unfortunately he became] the educator of Hellas [and the gude] for the ordering of human things.”

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“Everywhere there is one principle of justice: the interest of the stronger.”

from Republic Πολιτεία

Themes: Justice

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“Beauty and style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity.”

from Republic Πολιτεία

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“If you already possess temperance, then you have no need of the charms of Abaris the Hyperborean; but, if you still lack that virtue, we must apply the charm before the remedy.”

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Quotes about Plato (9 quotes)

“The words spoken by Plato to his students in their youth were finally understood by them only in their old age.”

Plutarch 46 – 120 CE via Antiphanes (tr: Will Durant)
(Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus)
from Moralia

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“Why do we love Plato? Because he himself was a lover... because of his high passion for social reconstruction... because he worshiped beauty as well as truth... because he was alive every minute of his life... because he conceived philosophy as an instrument not merely for the interpretation but for the remolding of the world... because of his wild nomadic play of fancy, the joy he found in life... and because he retained throughout his 80 years that zeal for human improvement which is for most of us the passing luxury of youth.”

Will Durant 1885 – 1981 CE
Philosophy apostle and popularizer of history's lessons
from Greatest Minds and Ideas of All Time, 1968

Themes: Carpe diem

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“Reading the Socratic dialogues one has the feeling: what a frightful waste of time! What's the point of these arguments that prove nothing and clarify nothing?”

Ludwig Wittgenstein 1889 – 1951 CE
One of the world's most famous philosophers

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“At heart Plato was a reformer, not the philosophical contemplative men called him. A life of contemplation was far from what he wanted for his pupils... to change injustice into justice, to put self-control in the place of outside control”

Edith Hamilton 1867 – 1963 CE

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“Plato thought that an elite of sages who arrived at such certainty should be given the power of governing others intellectually less well endowed, in obedience to patterns dictated by the correct solutions to personal and social problems.”

Isaiah Berlin 1909 – 1997 CE
"the world's greatest talker"
from The Proper Study of Mankind

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“Buddha, Moses, Plato, Socrates, Schopenhauer are to me the real sovereigns.”

Leo Tolstoy 1828 – 1910 CE

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“All what is mortal of great Plato there
And Life, where long that flower of Heaven grew not,
That star that ruled his doom was far too fair—
Or age or sloth or slavery could subdue not”

Percy Bysshe Shelley 1792 – 1822 CE
from Triumph of Life

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“He alone and first of men showed plain for all to see by the life he lived, by all the words he ever spoke to men, that the good man is the happy man, now, here, upon the earth.”

Aristotle Ἀριστοτέλης 382 – 322 BCE

Themes: Integrity

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“It is the excellence of Plato as a writer of fiction that throws doubt on him as an historian.”

Bertrand Russell 1872 – 1970 CE
“20th century Voltaire”
from History of Western Philosophy

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