About 1400 years ago, a son was born to the sculptor Sophroniscus and his wife Phaenarete in the town of Alopece. They named him Socrates and like the age-old tradition, he would be trained to take up his father’s profession as a stonemason. His ability to sculpt on stones would determine how he would succeed in future.
Socrates’ destiny was not to sculpt men out of stone, rather it was to sculpt the minds of men. Nobody could have guessed that Socrates, the son of a stonemason would become one of the greatest minds of history.
Socrates did start working as a stonemason and sculptor as his father desired and he is credited to have made an amazing sculpture. This was called the Charites, or the three goddesses. In time, he also served the military and fought a war. But this is not why history remembers him.
Who was Socrates?
Socrates was a man ahead of his time. He asked questions no one had thought of. He presented logic no one could refute. At a time when the people blindly believed what they were told, he was a soft revolution. So called ‘intellectuals’ did not like themselves proven wrong. Religious leaders did not like being inquired. Very few understood that he was breaking the shell that people had created with their own mind.
Socrates, like society did to most great men, suffered for speaking and questioning. He was ridiculed in plays and he was opposed in courts. He was executed by the state and was made to drink the poison Hemlock.
The true value of this great man came to full light when Plato expressed him. It was only then that the so called civilized society realized what a terrible crime had been committed. Killing a saint, that too innocent, is the greatest form of wrongdoing. Not only do we lose the saint but also the chance to gain his knowledge.
It is from Plato’s writings on Socrates and his teachings that we know about it all today. Socrates was one of the greatest gurus and philosopher the world has ever seen, so much so that even today his sayings ring with truth.
Have you ever wondered about your life? Why things do not work out? What should you do? Here are forty quotes of the great Socrates that will help you find your way through your ups and downs:
#1 I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think.
#2 To find yourself, think for yourself.
#3 True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.
#4 Know thyself.
#5 He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.
#6 If a man is proud of his wealth, he should not be praised until it is known how he employs it.
#7 Our prayers should be for blessings in general, for God knows best what is good for us.
#8 One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing.
#9 How many are the things I can do without!
#10 I was really too honest a man to be a politician and live.
#11 The hottest love has the coldest end.
#12 By all means marry. If you get a good wife you will become happy, and if you get a bad one you will become a philosopher.
#13 I pray Thee, O God, that I may be beautiful within.
#14 The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.
#15 Nature has given us two ears, two eyes, and but one tongue – to the end that we should hear and see more than we speak.
#16 Let him that would move the world, first move himself.
#17 I am not an Athenian, nor a Greek, but a citizen of the world.
#18 Be slow to fall into friendship; but when thou art in, continue firm and constant.
#19 Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty.
#20 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 goodnaturedly 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.
#21 Remember, no human condition is ever permanent. Then you will not be overjoyed in good fortune nor too scornful in misfortune.
#22 There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.
#23 Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
#24 Do not do to others what angers you if done to you by others.
#25 Beware the barrenness of a busy life.
#26 I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing.
#27 The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.
#28 Smart people learn from everything and everyone, average people from their experiences, stupid people already have all the answers.
#29 No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.
#30 Be as you wish to seem.
#31 Silence is a profound melody, for those who can hear it above all the noise.
#32 Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down
#33 When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.
#34 There is no possession more valuable than a good and faithful friend.
#35 Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.
#36 The years wrinkle our skin, but lack of enthusiasm wrinkles our soul.
#37 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.
#38 One should never do wrong in return, nor mistreat any man, no matter how one has been mistreated by him.
#39 The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.
#40 Get not your friends by bare compliments, but by giving them sensible tokens of your love.