Socrates was a Greek philosopher who is considered one of the founders of Western philosophy. His way of life, character and thoughts have reflected on both ancient and modern philosophy.
He was born as a commoner which is why the aristocracy in ancient Greece despised him. Even though he was widely recognized, he was a strange person and often looked at like a misfit due to his life of controversy. Despite all these facts, his wisdom is indisputable. He did not put his philosophy into writing neither did he establish a school and he always believed that he knew nothing.
We have created a list of his 10 best quotes. Even though they date back to 400 BC they are still something we can learn from. His quotes are timeless and even people today can relate to them.
The 10 wisest quotes by Socrates
1. “I am not an Athenian or Greek, but a citizen of the world.”
This quote refers to accepting all people as the citizens of the world and that we shouldn’t fight for borders. We are on the same boat regardless of the place we live in. Having the bigger room on the boat is pointless if we cause the boat to sink by fighting for it.
2. “Prefer knowledge to wealth, for the one is transitory, the other perpetual.”
Gaining knowledge by experiencing new things and discovering how the world functions is always beneficial. Humanity upgrades and evolves this way as our knowledge is used by future generations that can only expand it.
3. “Understanding a question is half an answer.”
Sometimes the answer is not as important as the question. The question can set your mind on the right direction towards getting the answer, but it doesn’t mean that the answer is always important. Instead of good answers, we need better questions.
4. “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”
“True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.” ― Socrates
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” ― Alvin Toffler
5. “Change is law and no amount of pretending will alter that reality.”
“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.” ― Socrates
6. “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.”
The purpose of education is to give information to children, not to awaken curiosity in their hearts. It focuses on creating a generation of conformists rather than people who question reality and biased versions of the truth.
7. “Know thyself.”
Free will begins by knowing yourself. You need to get to know yourself more by diving in your own psyche and looking at your own shadows. That way you will have more freedom over your choices. You can heal the darkness of your heart by facing your shadows. Every person has darkness but by combining your light and your darkness you transcend the cycle of “Good and evil”. This is one of the biggest contributions you can make to the world.
8. “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
Life is all about experimenting, exploring and examining. It is not about the final destination because there is no one. It is about your curiosity and what you decide to be the meaning of your life. It can be a play, a dance or a song you compose. Anything you choose.
9. “There is only one good, knowledge and one evil, ignorance.”
By getting knowledge you get more awareness. Knowing yourself helps you face your shadows. Being awaken enables you to make your own choices without any interference. Ignorance is what fuels evil as it introduces fear which turns to hate. This monster will project upon the world if you decide to take actions against it, so fight it with knowledge.
10. “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
We all have our battles and demons. We have been hurt, traumatized and we have different emotions that we need to embrace and face. Judgment is the last thing we need even if it comes from within ourselves. We are all in this together and we should be kind and supportive towards each other. The faster we help each other heal the better the world with become for all of us.