Inspirational Plato quotes that will help you reach your highest potential.
Plato was a pivotal figure in the history of Ancient Greek and Western philosophy. He is considered to be one of the most brilliant and far-reaching writers to have ever lived.
Plato founded the Academy and authored philosophical works that have been widely read over the years.
His writings covered a wide range of interests and ideas, including justice, theology, beauty and equality, and political philosophy.
Plato’s impact on philosophy and human nature has had a lasting impact. He will always be remembered as the pivotal influence that shaped the Western Philosophical tradition and thought.
In his honor, below is our collection of inspirational, wise, and powerful Plato quotes and sayings, collected from a variety of sources over the years.
Plato Quotes on Democracy, The Republic and Life
1. Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. – Plato
2. “The first and greatest victory is to conquer yourself; to be conquered by yourself is of all things most shameful and vile.”
3. Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something. – Plato
4. 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. – Plato
5. Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge. – Plato
6. One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. – Plato
7. “Do you desire to be wholly one; always day and night in one another’s company? For if this is what you desire, I am ready to melt and fuse you together, so that being two you shall become one, and while you live a common life as if you were a single man, and after your death in the world below still be one departed soul, instead of two….”
8. A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers. – Plato
9. You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. – Plato
10. 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. – Plato
If you’re enjoying these quotes, read our collection of Greek Philosopher quotes on ancient knowledge to motivate you.
Plato Quotes on knowledge and learning
11. Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws. – Plato
12. We are twice armed if we fight with faith. – Plato
13. Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle – Plato
14. Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet. – Plato
15. Only the dead have seen the end of war. – Plato
16. The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men. – Plato
17. 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. – Plato
18. I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing. – Plato
19. There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot. – Plato
20. The beginning is the most important part of the work. – Plato
Also check out our list of quotes about stoicism that will strengthen your perspective on life.
Profound Plato quotes that will change the way you think
21. Love is a serious mental disease. – Plato
22. “if you are willing to reflect on the courage and moderation of other people, you will find them strange…they all consider death a great evil…and the brave among them face death, when they do, for fear of greater evils…therefore, it is fear and terror that make all men brave, except for philosophers. yet it is illogical to be brave through fear and cowardice…what of the moderate among them? is their experience not similar?…they master certain pleasures because they are mastered by others…i fear this is not the right exchange to attain virtue, to exchange pleasures for pleasures, pains for pains, and fears for fears, the greater for the less like coins, but that they only valid currency for which all these things should be exchanged is wisdom.”
23. Never discourage anyone…who continually makes progress, no matter how slow. – Plato
24. Death is not the worst that can happen to men. – Plato
25. Desires are only the lack of something: and those who have the greatest desires are in a worse condition than those who have none, or very slight ones. – Plato
26. If women are expected to do the same work as men, we must teach them the same things. – Plato
27. Ignorance, the root and the stem of every evil. – Plato
28. Laws are partly formed for the sake of good men, in order to instruct them how they may live on friendly terms with one another, and partly for the sake of those who refuse to be instructed, whose spirit cannot be subdued, or softened, or hindered from plunging into evil. – Plato
29. Man…is a tame or civilized animal; never the less, he requires proper instruction and a fortunate nature, and then of all animals he becomes the most divine and most civilized; but if he be insufficiently or ill- educated he is the most savage of earthly creatures. – Plato
30. No human thing is of serious importance. – Plato
Powerful Plato quotes for your philosophy life
31. There is no such thing as a lover’s oath. – Plato
32. “Any one who has common sense will remember that the bewilderments of the eyes are of two kinds, and arise from two causes, either from coming out of the light or from going into the light, which is true of the mind’s eye, quite as much as of the bodily eye”
33. Thinking is the talking of the soul with itself. – Plato
34. No evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death. – Plato
35. Let every man remind their descendants that they also are soldiers who must not desert the ranks of their ancestors, or from cowardice fall behind. – Plato
36. Sons, the event proves that your fathers were brave men; for we might have lived dishonourably, but have preferred to die honourably rather than bring you and your children into disgrace, and rather than dishonour our own fathers and forefathers; – Plato
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of Father-Son quotes about the power of their bond.
37. And all knowledge, when separated from justice and virtue, is seen to be cunning and not wisdom; wherefore make this your first and last and constant and all-absorbing aim, to exceed, if possible, not only us but all your ancestors in virtue; and know that to excel you in virtue only brings us shame, but that to be excelled by you is a source of happiness to us. – Plato
38. “You know that the beginning is the most important part of any work, especially in the case of a young and tender thing; for that is the time at which the character is being formed and the desired impression is more readily taken….Shall we just carelessly allow children to hear any casual tales which may be devised by casual persons, and to receive into their minds ideas for the most part the very opposite of those which we should wish them to have when they are grown up?
We cannot….Anything received into the mind at that age is likely to become indelible and unalterable; and therefore it is most important that the tales which the young first hear should be models of virtuous thoughts….”
39. Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history. – Plato
40. The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future life – Plato
Don’t forget to also read these powerful Machiavelli quotes.
Plato Quotes to inspire and teach
41. The more the pleasures of the body fade away, the greater to me is the pleasure and charm of conversation. – Plato
42. “But that we shall be better and braver and less helpless if we think that we ought to enquire, than we should have been if we indulged in the idle fancy that there was no knowing and no use in seeking to know what we do not know;—that is a theme upon which I am ready to fight, in word and deed, to the utmost of my power.”
43. Democracy is a charming form of government, full of variety and disorder, and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequal alike. – Plato
44. Many men are loved by their enemies, and hated by their friends, and are the friends of their enemies, and the enemies of their friends. – Plato
45. If a man can be properly said to love something, it must be clear that he feels affection for it as a whole, and does not love part of it to the exclusion of the rest. – Plato
46. Was not this … what we spoke of as the great advantage of wisdom — to know what is known and what is unknown to us? – Plato
47. He who commits injustice is ever made more wretched than he who suffers it – Plato
48. People are like dirt. They can either nourish you and help you grow as a person or they can stunt your growth and make you wilt and die. – Plato
49. No one ever teaches well who wants to teach, or governs well who wants to govern. – Plato
50. There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot – Plato
Plato Quotes to make you wise
51. He whom love touches not walks in darkness – Plato
52. Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others. – Plato
53. Life must be lived as play. – Plato
54. “It’s not at all uncommon to find a person’s desires compelling him to go against his reason, and to see him cursing himself and venting his passion on the source of the compulsion within him. It’s as if there were two warring factions, with passion fighting on the side of reason. But I’m sure you won’t claim that you had ever, in yourself or in anyone else, met a case of passion siding with his desires against the rational mind, when the rational mind prohibits resistance.”
55. If a man neglects education, he walks lame to the end of his life – Plato
56. This City is what it is because our citizens are what they are – Plato
57. Know thyself – Plato
58. “That’s what education should be,” I said, “the art of orientation. Educators should devise the simplest and most effective methods of turning minds around. It shouldn’t be the art of implanting sight in the organ, but should proceed on the understanding that the organ already has the capacity, but is improperly aligned and isn’t facing the right way.”
59. “…when he looks at Beauty in the only way that Beauty can be seen – only then will it become possible for him to give birth not to images of virtue (because he’s in touch with no images), but to true virtue [arete] (because he is in touch with true Beauty). The love of the gods belongs to anyone who has given to true virtue and nourished it, and if any human being could become immortal, it would be he.”
60. “Whereas, our argument shows that the power and capacity of learning exists in the soul already; and that just as the eye was unable to turn from darkness to light without the whole body, so too the instrument of knowledge can only by the movement of the whole soul be turned from the world of becoming into that of being, and learn by degrees to endure the sight of being, and of the brightest and best of being, or in other words, of the good.”
Plato quotes to broaden your mind
61. “An empty vessel makes the loudest sound, so they that have the least wit are the greatest babblers.”― Plato
62. “Everything that deceives may be said to enchant.”― Plato
63. “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.”― Plato
64. “Love is born into every human being; it calls back the halves of our original nature together; it tries to make one out of two and heal the wound of human nature.”― Plato
65. “Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.”― Plato
66. “Attention to health is life’s greatest hindrance.”― Plato
67. “It is impossible to improve the world if first the man does not improve.”
68. “The greatest mistake in the treatment of diseases is that there are physicians for the body and physicians for the soul, although the two cannot be separated.”― Plato
69. “Virtue is the desire of things honourable and the power of attaining them.”― Plato
70. “… because it is correct to make a priority of young people, taking care that they turn out as well as possible…”― Plato
Plato quotes to inspire and motivate you
71. “It is only just that anything that grows up on its own should feel it has nothing to repay for an upbringing which it owes no one.”― Plato
72. “False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.”― Plato
73. “Love is a great spirit. Everything spiritual is in between god and mortal.”― Plato
74. “There is in every one of us, even those who seem to be most moderate, a type of desire that is terrible, wild, and lawless.”― Plato
75. “Excellence is not a gift, but a skill that takes practice. We do not act ‘rightly’ because we are ‘excellent’, in fact we achieve ‘excellence’ by acting ‘rightly.’”― Plato
76. “The worst type of man behaves as badly in his waking life as some men do in their dreams.”― Plato
77. “The greatest wealth is to live content with little.”― Plato
78. “Self conquest is the greatest of victories.”― Plato
79. “And will life be worth having, if that higher part of man be destroyed, which is improved by justice and depraved by injustice?”― Plato
80. “The man who has no self-respect, on the contrary, will imitate anybody and anything; sounds of nature and cries of animals alike; his whole performance will be imitation of gesture and voice.”― Plato
Powerful Plato quotes and sayings
81. “It is our duty to select the best and most dependable theory that human intelligence can supply, and use it as a raft to ride the seas of life.”― Plato
82. “The only thing he ought to consider, if he does anything, is whether he does right or wrong, whether it is what a good man does or a bad man.”― Plato
83. “Always be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle.”― Plato
84. “Love is the joy of the good, the wonder of the wise, the amazement of the Gods.”― Plato
85. “No thing more excellent nor more valuable than wine was ever granted mankind by God.”― Plato
86. “Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul.”― Plato
87. “To the degree that I cease to pursue my deepest passions, I will gradually be controlled by my deepest fears.”― Plato
88. “The wise man will want to be ever with him who is better than himself.”― Plato
89. “Time is the moving image of eternity.”― Plato
90. “You take the words in the sense which is most damaging to the argument.”― Plato
You might also like these philosophical Epicurus quotes for a happy life.
More Plato quotes
91. “The heaviest penalty for declining to rule is to be ruled by someone inferior to yourself.” – Plato
92. “The measure of a man is what he does with power.” – Plato
93. “The object of education is to teach us to love what is beautiful.” – Plato
95. “Nothing beautiful without struggle.” – Plato
96. “Any man may easily do harm, but not every man can do good to another.” – Plato
97. “Excess of liberty, whether it lies in state or individuals, seems only to pass into excess of slavery.” – Plato
98. “Those who don’t know must learn from those who do.” – Plato
99. “He who wishes to serve his country must have not only the power to think, but the will to act.” – Plato
100. “Wealth is the parent of luxury and indolence, and poverty of meanness and viciousness, and both of discontent.” – Plato
Which of these Plato quotes was your favorite?
Plato was a key figure in Western philosophy. His works had a major influence on the conception of philosophy, and have been widely read over the years.
Besides, Plato will always be remembered as the founder of the Academy in Athens, one of the first institutions of higher learning in the Western world.
We hope these Plato quotes will inspire you to reach your highest potential.
Did you enjoy these Plato quotes? Which of the quotes was your favorite? Let us know in the comment section below.
March 11, 2021 5:30 AM EST