Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Socrates

469 – 399 BCE

One of the most powerful influences on Western Civilization

A founder of Western philosophy, Socrates’ immense influence, methods and insight challenged conventions and encouraged a simple way of life. His lineage continued through Plato, Aristotle, Alexander the Great and some of his other students began important schools of philosophy like Cynicism and Stoicism. Famous for developing the Socratic Method still used today and which could be considered a way of moving from understanding the words to understanding the sense; Socrates became a profound influence on the Roman empire, medieval Europe, the Islamic and Judaic Middle East, the Renaissance and the Age of Reason in Europe. Through more modern philosophers like Locke, Hobbes, and Voltaire; Socrates stays with us today.

Eras

Unlisted Sources

Apology

Quotes by Socrates (33 quotes)

“Aren't you ashamed to care so much to make all the money you can, and to advance your reputation and prestige -while for truth and wisdom and the improvement of your soul you have no care or worry?”

Chapters: 53. Shameless Thieves

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“Beauty is a short-lived tyranny.”

Chapters: 12. This Over That

Themes: Beauty Power

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“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.”

Chapters: 73. Heaven’s Net

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“Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty.”

Chapters: 53. Shameless Thieves

Themes: Poverty Wealth

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“From the deepest desires often come the deadliest hate… The hottest love has the coldest end.”

Chapters: 42. Children of the Way

Themes: Desire Hate

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

Chapters: 67. Three Treasures

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“He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.”

Chapters: 46. Enough

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“I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world.”

Chapters: 18. The Sick Society
78. Water

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“If you don't get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don't want, you suffer; even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can't hold on to it forever.”

Chapters: 46. Enough
50. Claws and Swords

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“know thyself, for once we know ourselves, we may learn how to care for ourselves… The unexamined life is not worth living.”

Chapters: 33. Know Yourself

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“Let him who would move the world first move himself.”

Chapters: 29. Not Doing

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“No trace of slavery ought to mix with studies… No study, pursued under compulsion, remains rooted in the memory.”

Chapters: 38. Fruit Over Flowers

Themes: Education Slavery

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“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.”

Chapters: 79. No Demands

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“Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.”

Chapters: 35. The Power of Goodness

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“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”

Chapters: 67. Three Treasures
71. Sick of Sickness

Themes: Doubt Openness

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“You should eat to live; not live to eat. (Those who don’t work to live, live long – Yen Tsun, 53-24 BCE.)”

Chapters: 75. Greed

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“To fear death, gentlemen, is no other than to think oneself wise when one is not, to think one knows what one does not know. No one knows whether death may not be the greatest of all blessings for a man, yet men fear it as if they knew that it is the greatest of evils.”

Chapters: 50. Claws and Swords

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“To find yourself, think for yourself.”

Chapters: 65. Simplicity: the Hidden Power of Goodness

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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.”

Chapters: 65. Simplicity: the Hidden Power of Goodness
77. Stringing a Bow

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“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.”

Chapters: 54. Planting Well
81. Journey Without Goal

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“The hottest love has the coldest end.

Chapters: 68. Joining Heaven & Earth

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“The man who is wronged suffers injury in body or in external things, while the man who does wrong injures his own soul.”

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“The difference between men and women is mainly that men beget and women bear children. The pursuits of men are the same as the pursuits of women, the gifts of nature are alike diffused in both so there should be no difference in the kind of education they receive and little difference in the roles of both in the state's administration... a woman's talent is not at all inferior to a man's.”

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“I eagerly acquired Anaxagoras’ books and read them as quickly as I could.”

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“Not by wisdom do poets write poetry, but by a sort of genius and inspiration.”

Themes: Poetry

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“Fear of death is not wisdom, since no one knows whether death may not be the greater good.”

from Apology

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“If you kill such a one as I am, you will injure yourselves more than you will injure me... the evil of unjustly taking away the life of another is far greater.”

from Apology

Themes: Hate Aggression

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“[I am a] man who has never had the wit to be idle during his whole life; but has been careless of what the many care about—wealth, and family interests, and military offices, and speaking in the assembly, and magistracies, and plots, and parties.”

from Apology

Themes: Materialism

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“This may be true, bit is also very likely to be untrue; and therefore, I would not have you be too easily persuaded... Reflect well”

Themes: Truth

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“The part I understand is excellent, and so too is, I dare say, the part I do not understand; but it needs a Delian diver to get to the bottom of it.”

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“How many things I can do without.”

Themes: Less is More

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“Because my great aim in life is to get on well with people, I chose Xanthippe for my wife because I knew if I could get on with her I could with anyone.”

Themes: Patience

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“The excessive increase of anything often causes a reaction in the opposite direction.. the most aggravated form of tyranny arises out of the most extreme form of liberty.”

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Quotes about Socrates (16 quotes)

“Socrates thought that if certainty could be established in our knowledge of the external world by rational methods, the same methods would surely yield equal certainty in the field of human behavior—how to live, what to be.”

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

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“Though surely the greatest martyr of philosophy, Socrates is half a myth, and only half a man. He owes his fame as a philosopher to the creative imagination of Plato who used him as the mouthpiece of his views. How much of Platos's Socrates was Socrates, and how much of it was Plato, we shall probably never know.”

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

Themes: Fame

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“Speak what you think now in hard words and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said today—you shall be sure to be misunderstood but is it so bad to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson 1803 – 1882 CE
Champion of individualism
from Representative Men (1850)

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“Holy Socrates, pray for us.”

Erasmus 1466 – 1536 CE
(Desiderius Roterodamus)
"Greatest scholar of the northern Renaissance"

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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.”

Plato Πλάτων 428 – 348 BCE via Anytus, Meletus, Lykon (tr: Bertrand Russell)
from Athenian prosecutors

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“Seemeth it nothing to you, never to accuse, never to blame either God or Man? to wear ever the same countenance in going forth as in coming in? This was the secret of Socrates: yet he never said that he knew or taught anything…”

Epictetus Ἐπίκτητος 55 – 135 CE
from Discourses of Epictetus, Ἐπικτήτου διατριβαί

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“[I am a] man who has never had the wit to be idle during his whole life; but has been careless of what the many care about—wealth, and family interests, and military offices, and speaking in the assembly, and magistracies, and plots, and parties.”

Socrates 469 – 399 BCE
One of the most powerful influences on Western Civilization
from Apology

Themes: Materialism

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“Political leaders are never leaders. For leaders we have to look to the Awakeners! Lao Tse, Buddha, Socrates, Jesus, Milarepa, Gurdjiev, Krishnamurti.”

Henry Miller 1891 – 1980 CE
from My Bike & Other Friends (1977)

Themes: Leadership

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“[Socrates] was the perfect Orphic saint... a man very sure of himself, high-minded, indifferent to worldly success, believing that he is guided by a divine voice, and persuaded that clear thinking is the most important requisite for right living.”

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

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“Socrates, with his dialectics, killed the Apollonian sobriety and Dionysiac intoxication... Greek tragedy abruptly vanished. It was murdered by logical analysis.”

Nikos Kazantzakis 1883 – 1957 CE via P. A. Bien
from Report to Greco

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“Socrates, a unique philosopher, unlike all philosophers that ever were outside of Greece... was everything rather than what we expect a learned man and a philosopher to be... The attitude peculiar to Socrates among all the great teachers of the world: he will not do their thinking for the men who come to him, neither in matters small nor great.”

Edith Hamilton 1867 – 1963 CE
from The Greek Way, 1930

Themes: Teachers

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“Socrates and Jesus Christ were put to death publicly as blasphemers, and so have been and may be many who dare to oppose the most notorious abuses of the name of God and the mind of man.”

Lord Byron 1788 – 1824 CE via V. Gollancz
(George Gordon Byron)
The first rock-star style celebrity

Themes: Crazy Wisdom

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“Socrates gave a lifetime to the outpouring of his substance in the shape of the greatest benefits bestowed on all who cared to receive them… he made those who lived in his society better men and sent them on their way rejoicing.”

Xenophon of Athens Ξενοφῶν  (430–354 BCE)
General, Socratic biographer, philosopher

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“although I could reject everything about the Western philosophers from Descartes on down, I was unable to find the slightest thing wrong with anything that Socrates had said.”

Masanobu Fukuoka 福岡 正信 1913 – 2008 CE via Metreaud
from Road Back to Nature

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“The attitude peculiar to Socrates among all the great teachers of the world: he will not do their thinking for the men who come to him, neither in matters small nor great.”

Edith Hamilton 1867 – 1963 CE
from The Greek Way, 1930

Themes: Teachers

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

Leo Tolstoy 1828 – 1910 CE

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