Socrates Quotes

50 Famous Socrates Quotes on Wisdom, Life And Ethics

The Greek philosopher, Socrates (born around 470 BC, Athens-died 399 BC, Athens [Greece]), exercised a profound influence over modern and ancient philosophy in his way of thinking, life, and character.

Socrates was known as a Greek philosopher, especially for his Ethics contributions. He is one of the Western philosophy founders and probably one of the most important philosophers of Ancient Times. Though he remains a mysterious figure, his works have not been written and most of the teachings he had, are known from his students writings, especially Plato and Xenophon.

Many felt his teachings were endangering their way of living because they didn’t conform to local traditions. Socrates was condemned with a death sentence, being forced to drink toxic hemlock.

This is our Top 50 collection of inspiring, wise and motivational quotes by Socrates collected over the years from many different sources:


Socrates Quotes:

1. “One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing.” – Socrates

2. “He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.” – Socrates

3. “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.” – Socrates

4. “When you want wisdom and insight as badly as you want to breathe, it is then you shall have it.” – Socrates

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5. “Smart people learn from everything and everyone, average people from their experiences, stupid people already have all the answers.” – Socrates

6. “The greatest blessing granted to mankind come by way of madness, which is a divine gift.” – Socrates

7. “The highest realms of thought are impossible to reach without first attaining an understanding of compassion.” – Socrates

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8. “Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.” – Socrates

9. “The beginning of wisdom is a definition of terms. ” – Socrates

10. “Be nicer than necessary to everyone you meet. Everyone is fighting some kind of battle.” – Socrates

11. “Let him that would move the world, first move himself.” – Socrates

12. “I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing.” – Socrates

13. “Remember that there is nothing stable in human affairs; therefore avoid undue elation in prosperity, or undue depression in adversity.” – Socrates

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14. “Falling down is not a failure. Failure comes when you stay where you have fallen.” – Socrates

15. “I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think.” – Socrates

16. “We cannot live better than in seeking to become better.” – Socrates

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

18. “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

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

20. “Our prayers should be for blessings in general, for God knows best what is good for us.” – Socrates

21. “I was really too honest a man to be a politician and live.” – Socrates

22. “I only wish that ordinary people had an unlimited capacity for doing harm; then they might have an unlimited power for doing good.” – Socrates

23. “A system of morality which is based on relative emotional values is a mere illusion, a thoroughly vulgar conception which has nothing sound in it and nothing true.” – Socrates

24. “See one promontory, one mountain, one sea, one river and see all.” – Socrates

25. “The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear. ” – Socrates

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26. “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.” – Socrates

27. “Death may be the greatest of all human blessings.” – Socrates

28. “The comic and the tragic lie inseparably close, like light and shadow.” – Socrates

29. “An education obtained with money is worse than no education at all.” – Socrates

30. “Life contains but two tragedies. One is not to get your heart’s desire; the other is to get it.” – Socrates

socrates quotes on change

31. “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” – Socrates

32. “The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance.” – Socrates

33. “False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.” – Socrates

34. “I am not an Athenian, nor a Greek, but a citizen of the world.” – Socrates

35.“Call no man unhappy until he is married.” – Socrates

36. “Wars and revolutions and battles are due simply and solely to the body and its desires. All wars are undertaken for the acquisition of wealth; and the reason why we have to acquire wealth is the body, because we are slaves in its service.” – Socrates

37. “No man undertakes a trade he has not learned, even the meanest; yet everyone thinks himself sufficiently qualified for the hardest of all trades, that of government.” – Socrates

38. “Every action has its pleasures and its price.” – Socrates

39. “Give me beauty in the inward soul; may the outward and the inward man be at one.” – Socrates

40. “The nearest way to glory is to strive to be what you wish to be thought to be.” – Socrates

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41. “He is rich who is content with the least; for contentment is the wealth of nature.” – Socrates

42. “Worthless people love only to eat and drink; people of worth eat and drink only to live.” – Socrates

socrates quotes about life

43. “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” – Socrates

44. “Remember, no human condition is ever permanent. Then you will not be overjoyed in good fortune nor too scornful in misfortune.” – Socrates

45. “Once made equal to man, woman becomes his superior.” – Socrates

46. “If I tell you that I would be disobeying the god and on that account it is impossible for me to keep quiet, you won’t be persuaded by me, taking it that I am ionizing. And if I tell you that it is the greatest good for a human being to have discussions every day about virtue and the other things you hear me talking about, examining myself and others, and that the unexamined life is not livable for a human being, you will be even less persuaded.” – Socrates

47. “The hour of departure has arrived and we go our ways; I to die, and you to live. Which is better? Only God knows.” – Socrates

48. “To fear death, my friends, is only to think ourselves wise, without being wise: for it is to think that we know what we do not know. For anything that men can tell, death may be the greatest good that can happen to them: but they fear it as if they knew quite well that it was the greatest of evils. And what is this but that shameful ignorance of thinking that we know what we do not know?” – Socrates

49. “Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.” – Socrates

50 .“The highest realms of thought are impossible to reach without first attaining an understanding of compassion.” – Socrates



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