Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
Search Quotes Search Sages Search Chapters

Plutarch

(Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus)

46 – 120 CE

Teller of tales and distiller of wisdom, philosopher, magistrate and Delphic priest; Plutarch was frequently paraphrased and quoted by Shakespeare. Ralph Waldo Emerson called his writings "a bible for heroes,” Montaigne's Essays include over 400 references, and he was admired by Boswell, Ben Jonson, Alexander Hamilton, John Milton, Louis L'amour, Francis Bacon, and Robert Browning. An example of Mencius’ sage whose words and actions cause the stupid to become wise, Plutarch remains an enormous influence on world literature as well as an example of finding meaning, inspiration, and profound lessons from experiences and events.

Eras

Sources

Parallel Lives

Unlisted Sources

Moralia

On Exile

Quotes by Plutarch (27 quotes)

“Adversity is the only balance to weigh friends.”

Chapters: 35. The Power of Goodness

Comments: Click to comment

“An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.”

Chapters: 53. Shameless Thieves

Comments: Click to comment

“Education and study confer no greater benefit than learn to avoid the wildness of extremes.”

Chapters: 58. Goals Without Means

Comments: Click to comment

“I did not so much gain the knowledge of things by the words, as words by the experience I had of things.”

Chapters: 81. Journey Without Goal

Comments: Click to comment

“If you live with a lame man, you will learn to limp.”

Chapters: 38. Fruit Over Flowers

Comments: Click to comment

“Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks.”

Chapters: 24. Unnecessary Baggage

Themes: Poetry

Comments: Click to comment

“Silence at the proper season is wisdom, and better than any speech.”

Chapters: 2. The Wordless Teachings

Comments: Click to comment

“The greatest benefit that learning brings to men is… to like better the mean state than the higher.”

Chapters: 44. Fame and Fortune

Themes: Less is More

Comments: Click to comment

“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”

Chapters: 11. Appreciating Emptiness

Themes: Carpe diem Mind

Comments: Click to comment

“To make no mistakes is not in the power of man; but from their errors and mistakes the wise and good learn wisdom for the future.”

Chapters: 43. No Effort, No Trace

Themes: Mistakes

Comments: Click to comment

“What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.”

Chapters: 29. Not Doing

Themes: Skillful Means

Comments: Click to comment

“When a man's eyes are sore his friends do not let him finger them, however much he wishes to, nor do they themselves touch the inflammation: But a man sunk in grief suffers every chance comer to stir and augment his affliction like a running sore; and by reason of the fingering and consequent irritation it hardens into a serious and intractable evil.”

Chapters: 79. No Demands

Comments: Click to comment

“Only those who live in obedience to reason are worthy to be called free; they alone live as they will, who have learned what they ought to will.”

Themes: Reason

Comments: Click to comment

“There is no stronger test of a man's real character than power and authority, exciting as they do every passion and discovering every latent vice.”

Themes: Leadership Power

Comments: Click to comment

“[Demosthenes' style] was wonderfully pleasing to the common people, but by well-educated persons, it was looked upon as mean, humiliating, and unmanly.”

from Parallel Lives

Comments: Click to comment

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

from Moralia

Comments: Click to comment

“I don't need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better.”

from Parallel Lives

Comments: Click to comment

“Know how to listen, and you will profit even from those who talk badly.”

from Parallel Lives

Themes: Openness

Comments: Click to comment

“To find fault is easy; to do better may be difficult.”

from Parallel Lives

Comments: Click to comment

“Demosthenes far surpassed in force and strength of eloquence all his contemporaries in political and judicial speaking, in grandeur, and majesty all the orators, and in accuracy and science all the logicians and rhetoricians of his day… without all the embellishment and jesting [of Cicero] but of the temperance, thoughtfulness, austerity, and grave earnestness of his temper.”

from Parallel Lives

Comments: Click to comment

“Cicero’s love of mockery often ran him into scurrility; and in his love of laughing away serious arguments in judicial cases by jests and facetious remarks , with a view to the advantage of his clients, he paid too little regard to what was decent… his immeasurable boasting of himself argues him guilty of an uncontrollable appetite for distinction”

from Parallel Lives

Comments: Click to comment

“Solon, to save his country, put a trick upon both parties, and privately promised the poor a division of the lands, and the rich security for their debts... the rich consented because he was wealthy, the poor because he was honest.”

from Parallel Lives

Comments: Click to comment

“Fate leads him who follows it, and drags him who resist.”

from Parallel Lives

Themes: Fate / Destiny

Comments: Click to comment

“Some have believed it was a madness... Those who are in love must be forgiven as though ill.”

Themes: Love

Comments: Click to comment

“Aristotle dines when it seems good to King Philip, but Diogenes when he himself pleases.

from On Exile

Comments: Click to comment

“the mind does not require filling like a bottle, but rather, like wood, it only requires kindling to create in it an impulse to think independently and an ardent desire for the truth”

Comments: Click to comment

“Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.”

from Parallel Lives

Themes: Perseverance

Comments: Click to comment

Quotes about Plutarch (2 quotes)

“Plato was most important to early Christianity, Aristotle to the medieval Church; but when, after the Renaissance, men began to value political freedom, it was above all to Plutarch that they turned. His influence profoundly influenced 18th century English and French liberals, the founders of the USA, the romantic movement in Germany, and German thought down to the present day.”

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

Comments: Click to comment

“spiritually minded, longing for light… called ‘the most widely beloved of all the literary treasures of Greece,’ [Plutarch] knew how to create happiness around him. To him a superstition was not a mistaken belief, a kind of religious stupidity; it was an unmitigated evil… His most profound conviction was that we must love the highest when we see it. He was Greece’s far-sighted spokesman for a change that was beginning in the moral atmosphere of the world.”

Edith Hamilton 1867 – 1963 CE
from The Echo of Greece, 1957

Comments: Click to comment

Comments (0)