Socrates Was One Of The Smartest People Of All Time. Here Are His 24 Most Important Quotes That Everyone Needs To Hear

A classic Greek philosopher, often credited as a founder of Western Philosophy, Socrates was a shadowy figure. He’s almost entirely known through the accounts of classical writers, as well as his students Plato and Xenophon. Plato’s “Dialogues” are some of the most comprehensive accounts of Socrates to survive.

Socrates is renowned for his contributions to the field of Ethics, lending his name to a method of discrimination (the Socratic Method). It is a series of questions asked to draw individual answers, but also to encourage insight into the wholeness of the matter at hand. With so much of Western philosophy hinging on Socrates’ words, here are 24 quotes to remember him by:

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

2. “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

3. “There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.”

4. “I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think.”

5. “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

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

7. “By all means marry; if you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.”

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

9. “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. Your mind is your predicament. It wants to be free of change. Free of pain, free of the obligations of life and death. But change is law and no amount of pretending will alter that reality.”

10. “Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.”

11. “Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.”

12. “To find yourself, think for yourself.”

13. “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.”

14. “Know thyself.”

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

16. “The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”

17. “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

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

19. “Prefer knowledge to wealth, for the one is transitory, the other perpetual.”

20. “Understanding a question is half an answer”

21. “True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us”

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

23. “To be is to do”

One of the greatest minds in Western history, Socrates’ words are certainly worth reading and re-reading. Their value has not diminished with the passing of time.

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