90 Socrates Quotes on Life, Happiness & Wisdom

Socrates quote

In this post, we’ll read Socrates quotes who was an ancient Greek philosopher and was considered one of the founders of Western philosophy.

Socrates (470–399 BCE) was a teacher and mentor to several prominent ancient Greek thinkers, including Plato.

He was born into a modest family in Athens and worked as a stonemason and sculptor before devoting himself to philosophy. He never wrote down his teachings, and most of what we know about him comes from the writings of his students, mainly Plato.

He developed the Socratic method, a form of dialogue in which he would ask probing questions to encourage his students to examine their beliefs and ideas critically.

He was accused of impiety and corrupting the youth of Athens because of his pursuit of truth and wisdom. He was found guilty and sentenced to death by drinking poison hemlock which he gracefully accepted.

Let’s read some of the best Socrates quotes on wisdom, life, happiness and more.

Best Socrates Quotes

Best Socrates Quote

1. “I am a fool, but I know I’m a fool and that makes me smarter than you.”

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

3. “From the deepest desires often come the deadliest hate.”

4. “We cannot live better than in seeking to become better.”

5. “There is no possession more valuable than a good and faithful friend.”

6. “Nothing is to be preferred before justice.”

7. “An honest man is always a child.”

8. “Only the extremely ignorant or the extremely intelligent can resist change.”

9. “He who is not a good servant will not be a good master.”

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

Socrates Quotes on Life

Socrates Quote on Life

1. “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

2. “Beware the barrenness of a busy life.”

3. “Not life, but good life, is to be chiefly valued.”

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

5. “The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually fear you will make one.”

6. “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.”

7. “The end of life is to be like God, and the soul following God will be like Him.”

8. “Life is full of questions. Idiots are full of answers.”

9. “Worthless people live only to eat and drink; people of worth eat and drink only to live.”

10. “It is not living that matters, but living rightly.”

11. “I was really too honest a man to be a politician and live.”

12. “The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be.”

13. “Living well and beautifully and justly are all one thing.”

14. “Beauty is a short-lived tyranny.”

Socrates Quotes on Happiness

Socrates Quote on Happiness

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

2. “The really important thing is not to live, but to live well. And to live well meant, along with more enjoyable things in life, to live according to your principles.”

3. “Every action has its pleasures and its price.”

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

Socrates Quotes on Love

Socrates Quote on Love

1. “Those who are hardest to love need it the most.”

2. “Get not your friends by bare compliments, but by giving them sensible tokens of your love.”

3. “The hottest love has the coldest end.”

4. “There is no solution; seek it lovingly.”

5. “The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”

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

Socrates Quotes on Woman & Marriage

Socrates Quote on Woman

1. “Once made equal to man, woman becomes his superior.”

2. “Trust not a woman when she weeps, for it is her nature to weep when she wants her will.”

3. “Marry a good woman, and be happy the rest of your life. Or, marry a bad, and become a good philosopher.”

4. “As to marriage or celibacy, let a man take which course he will, he will be sure to repent.”

5. “Is there anyone to whom you entrust a greater number of serious matters than your wife? And is there anyone with whom you have fewer conversations?”

Socrates Quotes on Education & Knowledge

Socrates Quotes on Education

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

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

3. “An education obtained with money is worse than no education at all.”

4. “To know, is to know that you know nothing. That is the meaning of true knowledge.”

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

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

7. “Smart people learn from everything and everyone. Average people from their experiences. Stupid people already have all the answers.”

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

Socrates Quotes on Death

Socrates Quote on Death

1. “It is only in death that we are truly cured of the ‘sickness’ of life.”

2. “No evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death. He and his are not neglected by the gods.”

3. “Death may be the greatest of all human blessings.”

4. “Ordinary people seem not to realize that those who really apply themselves in the right way to philosophy are directly and of their own accord preparing themselves for dying and death.”

5. “The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our separate ways, I to die, and you to live. Which of these two is better only God knows.”

Socrates Quotes on Self

Socrates Quote on Self

1. “To find yourself, think for yourself.”

2. “Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for.”

3. “The heaviest penalty for declining to rule is to be ruled by someone inferior to yourself.”

4. “Know thyself.”

5. “My friend…care for your psyche…know thyself, for once we know ourselves, we may learn how to care for ourselves.”

6. “The easiest and noblest way is not to be crushing others, but to be improving yourselves.”

Socrates Quotes on Wisdom

Socrates Quote on Wisdom

1. “Wisdom begins in wonder.”

2. “The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms.”

3. “Real wisdom is the property of God, and… human wisdom has little or no value.”

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

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

6. “Are you not ashamed of caring so much for the making of money and for fame and prestige, when you neither think nor care about wisdom and truth and the improvement of your soul?”

Socrates Quotes on Success

Socrates Quote on Success

1. “The mind is everything; what you think, you become.”

2. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is a habit.”

3. “The harder you work for something, the greater you’ll feel when you achieve it.”

4. “The only true failure is the failure to try.”

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

6. “Each individual can only do one thing well. He can’t do lots of things. If he tries, he will be jack of all trades, and master of none.”

7. “If a man is proud of his wealth, he should not be praised until it is known how he employs it.”

Socrates Quotes on Kindness & Contentment

Socrates Quote on Kindness

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

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

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

4. “Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty.”

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

6. “If all misfortunes were laid in one common heap whence everyone must take an equal portion, most people would be contented to take their own and depart.”

7. “Having the fewest wants, I am nearest to the gods.”

Socrates Quotes on Character

Socrates Quote on Character

1. “In childhood be modest, in youth temperate, in adulthood just, and in old age prudent.”

2. “Do not do to others what angers you if done to you by others.”

3. “One should never do wrong in return, nor mistreat any man, no matter how one has been mistreated by him.”

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

5. “All men’s souls are immortal, but the souls of the righteous are immortal and divine.”

6. “Four things belong to a judge: to hear courteously, to answer wisely, to consider soberly, and to decide impartially.”

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

8. “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.”

9. “To believe without evidence and demonstration is an act of ignorance and folly.”

10. “This is a universe that does not favor the timid.”

11. “Be slow to fall into friendship; but when thou art in, continue firm and constant.”

12. “People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid.”

These Socrates quotes reflect his passion for self-examination, critical thinking, and the pursuit of truth.

His most famous technique was known as Socratic irony, in which he pretended to be ignorant or naive in order to draw out deeper truths from his interlocutors.

His outspokenness and unorthodox beliefs made him enemies among the political and religious authorities of Athens but he still remains one of the most iconic and influential figures in the history of Western thought.

Which of these Socrates quotes left an impact on you?

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