Quotes by Plato

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Plato (ca. May 21? 427 BC ca. 347 BC) was an immensely influential classical Greek philosopher, student of Socrates, teacher of Aristotle, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens.

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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.

Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.
Thinking is the talking of the soul with itself.
At the touch of love, everyone becomes a poet.
Science is nothing but perception.
The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.
Love is a serious mental disease.
There are three classes of men; lovers of wisdom, lovers of honor, and lovers of gain.
We are twice armed if we fight with faith.
Truth is its own reward.
Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue.
When the mind is thinking it is talking to itself.
Knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.
Love is the joy of the good, the wonder of the wise, the amazement of the Gods.
Excess generally causes reaction, and produces a change in the opposite direction, whether it be in the seasons, or in individuals, or in governments.
Whatever deceives men seems to produce a magical enchantment.
All learning has an emotional base.
Knowledge becomes evil if the aim be not virtuous.
Man is a being in search of meaning.
Dictatorship naturally arises out of democracy, and the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme liberty.
When men speak ill of thee, live so as nobody may believe them.
He best keeps from anger who remembers that God is always looking upon him.
He who is of a calm and happy nature will hardly feel the pressure of age, but to him who is of an opposite disposition youth and age are equally a burden.
They deem him their worst enemy who tells them the truth.
They do certainly give very strange, and newfangled, names to diseases.
The excessive increase of anything causes a reaction in the opposite direction.
Man is a two-legged animal without feathers.
The punishment which the wise suffer who refuse to take part in the government, is to live under the government of worse men.
Democracy is a charming form of government, full of variety and disorder, and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequal alike.
The most virtuous are those who content themselves with being virtuous without seeking to appear so.
Wisdom alone is the science of others sciences.
Nothing in the affairs of men is worthy of great anxiety.
Self conquest is the greatest of victories.
Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance.
Let parents bequeath to their children not riches, but the spirit of reverence.
The beginning is the most important part of the work.
In politics we presume that everyone who knows how to get votes knows how to administer a city or a state. When we are ill... we do not ask for the handsomest physician, or the most eloquent one.
No trace of slavery ought to mix with the studies of the freeborn man. No study, pursued under compulsion, remains rooted in the memory.
Let nobody speak mischief of anybody.
No one ever teaches well who wants to teach, or governs well who wants to govern.
I have good hope that there is something after death.
Even the gods love jokes.
Honesty is for the most par less profitable than dishonesty.
We ought to fly away from earth to heaven as quickly as we can; and to fly away is to become like God, as far as this is possible; and to become like him is to become holy, just, and wise.
Attention to health is life greatest hindrance.
Those who intend on becoming great should love neither themselves or their own things, but only what is just, whether it happens to be done by themselves or others.
There must always remain something that is antagonistic to good.
The most important part of education is proper training in the nursery.
The first and the best victory is to conquer self.
There will be no end to the troubles of states, or of humanity itself, till philosophers become kings in this world, or till those we now call kings and rulers really and truly become philosophers, and political power and philosophy thus come into the same hands".
only the dead have seen the end of war plato 347 b c
The people always have some champion whom they set over them and nurse into greatness. This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector.
For the introduction of a new kind of music must be shunned as imperiling the whole state; since styles of music are never disturbed without affecting the most important political institutions.
States are as the men, they grow out of human characters.
Philosophy is an elegant thing, if anyone modestly meddles with it; but if they are conversant with it more than is becoming, it corrupts them.
Pleasure is the greatest incentive to evil.
Poetry comes nearer to vital truth than history.
The heaviest penalty for deciding to engage in politics is to be ruled by someone inferior to yourself.
All things will be produced in superior quantity and quality, and with greater ease, when each man works at a single occupation, in accordance with his natural gifts, and at the right moment, without meddling with anything else.
Whenever a person strives, by the help of dialectic, to start in pursuit of every reality by a simple process of reason, independent of all sensuous information -- never flinching, until by an act of the pure intelligence he has grasped the real nature of good -- he arrives at the very end of the intellectual world.
Rhetoric is the art of ruling the minds of men.
For just as poets love their own works, and fathers their own children, in the same way those who have created a fortune value their money, not merely for its uses, like other persons, but because it is their own production. This makes them moreover disagreeable companions, because they will praise nothing but riches.
If the study of all these sciences which we have enumerated, should ever bring us to their mutual association and relationship, and teach us the nature of the ties which bind them together, I believe that the diligent treatment of them will forward the objects which we have in view, and that the labor, which otherwise would be fruitless, will be well bestowed.
I have hardly ever known a mathematician who was capable of reasoning.
In particular I may mention Sophocles the poet, who was once asked in my presence, How do you feel about love, Sophocles? are you still capable of it? to which he replied, Hush! if you please: to my great delight I have escaped from it, and feel as if I had escaped from a frantic and savage master. I thought then, as I do now, that he spoke wisely. For unquestionably old age brings us profound repose and freedom from this and other passions.
We ought to esteem it of the greatest importance that the fictions which children first hear should be adapted in the most perfect manner to the promotion of virtue.
The democratic youth lives along day by day, gratifying the desire that occurs to him, at one time drinking and listening to the flute, at another downing water and reducing, now practicing gymnastic, and again idling and neglecting everything; and sometimes spending his time as though he were occupied in philosophy.
Too much attention to health is a hindrance to learning, to invention, and to studies of any kind, for we are always feeling suspicious shootings and swimmings in our heads, and we are prone to blame studies from them.
Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.
To the rulers of the state then, if to any, it belongs of right to use falsehood, to deceive either enemies or their own citizens, for the good of the state: and no one else may meddle with this privilege.
Ignorance of all things is an evil neither terrible nor excessive, nor yet the greatest of all; but great cleverness and much learning, if they be accompanied by a bad training, are a much greater misfortune.
In the world of knowledge, the essential Form of Good is the limit of our inquiries, and can barely be perceived; but, when perceived, we cannot help concluding that it is in every case the source of all that is bright and beautiful --in the visible world giving birth to light and its master, and in the intellectual world dispensing, immediately and with full authority, truth and reason --and that whosoever would act wisely, either in private or in public, must set this Form of Good before his eyes.
Let us describe the education of our men. What then is the education to be? Perhaps we could hardly find a better than that which the experience of the past has already discovered, which consists, I believe, in gymnastic, for the body, and music for the mind.
Is it not also true that no physician, in so far as he is a physician, considers or enjoins what is for the physician's interest, but that all seek the good of their patients? For we have agreed that a physician strictly so called, is a ruler of bodies, and not a maker of money, have we not?
These, then, will be some of the features of democracy... it will be, in all likelihood, an agreeable, lawless, parti-colored commonwealth, dealing with all alike on a footing of equality, whether they be really equal or not.
Must not all things at the last be swallowed up in death?
Know one knows whether death, which people fear to be the greatest evil, may not be the greatest good.
He who commits injustice is ever made more wretched than he who suffers it.
I exhort you also to take part in the great combat, which is the combat of life, and greater than every other earthly conflict.
Any city however small, is in fact divided into two, one the city of the poor, the other of the rich. These are at war with one another.
Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depends on simplicity.
There are few people so stubborn in their atheism who when danger is pressing in will not acknowledge the divine power.
It is clear to everyone that astronomy at all events compels the soul to look upwards, and draws it from the things of this world to the other.
Hereditary honors are a noble and a splendid treasure to descendants.
Old age has a great sense of calm and freedom. When the passions have relaxed their hold and have escaped, not from one master, but from many.
A well begun is half ended.
Wealth is well known to be a great comforter.
Honesty is for the most part less profitable than dishonesty.
He who advises a sick man, whose manner of life is prejudicial to health, is clearly bound first of all to change his patient’s manner of life.
You must train the children to their studies in a playful manner, and without any air of constraint, with the further object of discerning more readily the natural bent of their respective characters.
Of all the animals, the boy is the most unmanageable.
No one knows whether death is really the greatest blessing a man can have, but they fear it is the greatest curse, as if they knew well.
The wisest have the most authority.
That makes me think, my friend, as I have often done before, how natural it is that those who have spent a long time in the study of philosophy appear ridiculous when they enter the courts of law as speakers. Those who have knocked about in courts and the like from their youth up seem to me, when compared with those who have been brought up in philosophy and similar pursuits, to be as slaves in breeding compared with freemen.
Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world to another.
Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world to another.