Socrates Quotes On Life, Wisdom & Philosophy To Inspire You
Break free from conformity and think beyond your time with Socrates quotes as your guide!
March 20, 2023 5:00 AM EST
An amazing collection of Socrates quotes that will help you understand yourself better.
Socrates was a Greek philosopher who was renowned for his contribution to the field of ethics.
Share your favorite Socrates quote with us in the comment section.
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A study by the University of Pennsylvania found that engaging in deep, meaningful conversations with others can lead to greater happiness and well-being.
This statistic can be used to show how Socrates’ focus on dialogue and questioning can promote more meaningful interactions with others and lead to greater personal growth.
Socrates always aimed to inspire virtue in others and believed that living a virtuous life would bring greater happiness to society.
According to the Greek historian Xenophon, Socrates’s commitment to ethics was evident in his emphasis on the importance of virtuous living for the greater well-being of society.
What are the benefits of reading Socrates’ quotes?
He is regarded as one of the most influential philosophers of the ancient era and is credited as one founder of Western philosophy.
Although he remains an enigmatic figure, he left no writings and most of his teachings are known from the writings of his students, particularly plato and Xenophon.
Understanding the teachings of Socrates can:
- help you understand the ethical system based on human reasoning
- encourage you to focus on the greater well-being of society
- help you understand how asking questions is essential to gaining knowledge
Because he did not conform to the local traditions, many felt that his teachings threatened their way of life.
They sentenced him to death, and he died after being forced to drink poison hemlock.
From one of the greatest philosophers of all time, we found these ancient wisdom quotes from Socrates on love, youth and philosophy – that can hopefully provide you with actionable insight.
Here’s is our collection of inspirational, wise, and thought-provoking Socrates quotes and sayings, collected from a variety of sources over the years.
Check out our most popular quote article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily inspiration.
Explore our complete collection of motivational quotes here.
Famous Socrates quotes about life from his writings and overall philosophy
A study by the University of Warwick found that people who are optimistic tend to have better mental and physical health outcomes than those who are pessimistic.
This statistic can be used to illustrate how Socrates’ philosophy of finding joy in the present and living a meaningful life can promote a more positive outlook.
Socrates’s philosophy emphasized the pursuit of knowledge, with his famous quote “I know that I am intelligent because I know that I know nothing” highlighting his belief in the value of humility and continuous learning.
Socrates believed that the pursuit of knowledge was essential for personal growth and the betterment of society.
1. “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” – Socrates (see more wise words)
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2. “Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” – Socrates
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3. “To know, is to know that you know nothing. That is the meaning of true knowledge.” – Socrates
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4. “I know that I am intelligent because I know that I know nothing.” – Socrates
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5. “Be as you wish to seem.” – Socrates
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6. “By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.” – Socrates
Socrates Quotes on Love, Youth and Philosophy
According to a study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, individuals who reflect on their past experiences and learn from them are more likely to experience personal growth and improve their well-being.
This statistic can be used to emphasize the importance of Socrates’ focus on self-examination and reflection in his philosophy and how it can inspire us to reflect on our own lives.
7. “I decided that it was not wisdom that enabled poets to write their poetry, but a kind of instinct or inspiration, such as you find in seers and prophets who deliver all their sublime messages without knowing in the least what they mean.” – Socrates
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8. “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
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9. “He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.” – Socrates
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10. “True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.” – Socrates
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Socrates Quotes about life
11. “The unexamined life is not worth living.” – Socrates
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12. “There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.” – Socrates
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13. “I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think.” – Socrates
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Socrates Quotes that will make you wise
Socrates’s commitment to ethics is evident in his assertion that it is better to suffer wrong than to do wrong, emphasizing the importance of moral integrity.
Socrates believed that a virtuous life is essential for an individual’s personal happiness, as well as for the greater good of society.
14. “Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.” – Socrates
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15. “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” – Socrates
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16. “To find yourself, think for yourself.” – Socrates
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17. “Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.” – Socrates
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18. “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” – Socrates
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Best Socrates Quotes
19. “Be slow to fall into friendship, but when you are in, continue firm and constant.” – Socrates
20. “He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.” – Socrates
21. “Death may be the greatest of all human blessings.” – Socrates
22. “Envy is the ulcer of the soul.” – Socrates
Famous Socrates Quotes
23. “Get not your friends by bare compliments, but by giving them sensible tokens of your love.” – Socrates
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24. “If a man is proud of his wealth, he should not be praised until it is known how he employs it.” – Socrates
24. “Regard your good name as the richest jewel you can possibly be possessed of – for credit is like fire; when once you have kindled it you may easily preserve it, but if you once extinguish it, you will find it an arduous task to rekindle it again. The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.” – Socrates
Socrates Quotes that are full of wisdom
25. “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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26. “Remember what is unbecoming to do is also unbecoming to speak of.” – Socrates
27. “The shortest and surest way to live with honour in the world, is to be in reality what we would appear to be; and if we observe, we shall find, that all human virtues increase and strengthen themselves by the practice of them.” – Socrates
28. “Think not those faithful who praise all thy words and actions; but those who kindly reprove thy faults.” – Socrates
29. “Thou shouldst eat to live; not live to eat.” – Socrates
30. “Bad men live that they may eat and drink, whereas good men eat and drink that they may live.” – Socrates
31. “Not life, but good life, is to be chiefly valued.” – Socrates
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Socrates Quotes on life and love
32. “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.” – Socrates
33. “Once made equal to man, woman becomes his superior.” – Socrates
34. “Only the extremely ignorant or the extremely intelligent can resist change.” – Socrates
35. “The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be.” – Socrates
36. “The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.” – Socrates
37. “People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid.” – Socrates
38. “Wisdom begins in wonder.” – Socrates
39. “When the debate is over, slander becomes the tool of the loser.” – Socrates
40. “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
41. “The hottest love has the coldest end.” – Socrates
42. “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
Socrates Quotes that will help you improve yourself
43. “Our prayers should be for blessings in general, for God knows best what is good for us.” – Socrates
44. “Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings so that you shall come easily by what others have labored hard for.” – Socrates
45. “From the deepest desires often come the deadliest hate.” – Socrates
46. “The envious person grows lean with the fatness of their neighbor.” – Socrates
47. “Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty.” – Socrates
48. “Call no man unhappy until he is married.” – Socrates
49. “Let him that would move the world, first move himself.” – Socrates
50. “The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance.”– Socrates
Great Socrates quotes for those seeking wisdom
51. “We cannot live better than in seeking to become better.” – Socrates
52. “The nearest way to glory is to strive to be what you wish to be thought to be.” – Socrates
53. “The easiest and noblest way is not to be crushing others, but to be improving yourselves. ” – Socrates
54. “False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.” – Socrates
55. “The mind is everything; what you think you become” – Socrates
56. “Remember, no human condition is ever permanent. Then you will not be overjoyed in good fortune nor too scornful in misfortune.” – Socrates
57. “It is better to change an opinion than to persist in a wrong one.” – Socrates
58. “Mankind is made of two kinds of people: wise people who know they’re fools, and fools who think they are wise.” – Socrates
59. “Get not your friends by bare compliments, but by giving them sensible tokens of your love.”– Socrates
60. “By all means marry. If you get a good spouse you’ll become happy, while if you get a bad one you’ll become a philosopher.” – Socrates
Socrates quotes to elevate your perspective
61. “I only wish that ordinary people had an unlimited capacity for doing harm; then they might have an unlimited power for doing good.” – Socrates
62. “If I save my insight, I don’t attend to weakness of eyesight.”― Socrates
63. “In childhood be modest, in youth temperate, in adulthood just, and in old age prudent.” – Socrates
64. “…[R]eal wisdom is the property of God, and… human wisdom has little or no value.”― Socrates
65. “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
66. “I would rather die having spoken after my manner, than speak in your manner and live.”― Socrates
67. “An education obtained with money is worse than no education at all.” – Socrates
68. “The triumph of my art is in thoroughly examining whether the thought which the mind of the young man brings forth is a false idol or a noble true birth.”― Socrates
69. “Give me beauty in the inward soul; may the outward and the inward man be at one.” – Socrates
70. “Speak, so that I may see you.”― Socrates
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Socrates quotes to elevate your mind
71. “How many are the things I can do without!” – Socrates
72. “We gain our first measure of intelligence when we first admit our own ignorance.”― Socrates
73. “Nothing is to be preferred before justice.” – Socrates
74. “Justice. If only we knew what it was.”― Socrates
75. “Worthless people love only to eat and drink; people of worth eat and drink only to live.” – Socrates
76. “Know Thyself.”― Socrates
77. “Whenever, therefore, people are deceived and form opinions wide of the truth, it is clear that the error has slid into their minds through the medium of certain resemblances to that truth.” – Socrates
78. “It is a disgrace to grow old through sheer carelessness before seeing what manner of man you may become by developing your bodily strength and beauty to their highest limit.”― Socrates
79. “He is rich who is content with the least; for contentment is the wealth of nature.” – Socrates
80. “What I do not know, I do not think I know.”― Socrates
Thoughtful Socrates quotes to inspire you
81. “Slanderers do not hurt me because they do not hit me.” – Socrates
82. “Wisdom is knowing what you don’t know.” – Socrates
83. “I am not an Athenian, nor a Greek, but a citizen of the world.” – Socrates
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84. “It is better to be at odds with the whole world than, being one, to be at odds with myself.” – Socrates
85. “They are not only idle who do nothing, but they are idle also who might be better employed.” – Socrates
86. “The beginning of wisdom is a definition of terms.” – Socrates
87. “We can do nothing without the body, let us always take care that it is in the best condition to sustain us.” – Socrates
88. “The perfect human being is all human beings put together, it is a collective, it is all of us together that make perfection.” – Socrates
89. “You never know a line is crooked unless you have a straight one to put next to it.” – Socrates
90. “Beauty comes first. Victory is secondary. What matters is joy.” – Socrates
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More Socrates quotes
91. “Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.” – Socrates
92. “The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” – Socrates
93. “Do not do to others what angers you if done to you by others.” – Socrates
94. “Every action has its pleasures and its price.” – Socrates
95. “Prefer knowledge to wealth, for the one is transitory, the other perpetual.” – Socrates
96. “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
97. “Understanding a question is half an answer.” – Socrates
98. “One should never do wrong in return, nor mistreat any man, no matter how one has been mistreated by him.” – Socrates
99. “The greatest blessing granted to mankind came by way of madness, which is a divine gift.” – Socrates
100. “Those who are hardest to love need it the most.” – Socrates
101. “I have not sought during my life to amass wealth and to adorn my body, but I have sought to adorn my soul with the jewels of wisdom, patience, and above all with a love of liberty.” – Socrates
102. “I love to go and see all the things I am happy without.” – Socrates
103. “The soul, like the body, accepts by practice whatever habit one wishes it to contact.” – Socrates
104. “Only the knowledge that comes from inside is the real Knowledge.” – Socrates
105. “The first key to greatness is to be in reality what we appear to be.” – Socrates
Socrates quotes to make you think
106. “I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.” –Socrates
107. “The poets are only the interpreters of the gods.” –Socrates
108. “Beauty is the bait which with delight allures man to enlarge his kind.” –Socrates
109. “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.” –Socrates
110. “As to marriage or celibacy, let a man take which course he will, he will be sure to repent.” –Socrates
111. “I was really too honest a man to be a politician and live.” –Socrates
112. “He is a man of courage who does not run away, but remains at his post and fights against the enemy.” –Socrates
113. “Beauty is a short-lived tyranny.” –Socrates
114. “All men’s souls are immortal, but the souls of the righteous are immortal and divine.” –Socrates
115. “An honest man is always a child.” –Socrates
Powerful Socrates Quotes To Make You Think
116. “Nothing is so well learned as that which is discovered.” — Socrates
117. “Falling down is not a failure. Failure comes when you stay where you have fallen.” — Socrates
118. “True perfection is a bold quest to seek. Only the willing and true of heart will seek the betterment of many.” — Socrates
119. “Be nicer than necessary to everyone you meet. Everyone is fighting some kind of battle.” — Socrates
120. “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” — Socrates
121. “Smart people learn from everything and everyone. Average people from their experiences. Stupid people already have all the answers.” — Socrates
122. “I call myself a peaceful warrior because the battles we fight are on the inside.” — Socrates
123. “The value of a man is measured in the number of those who stand beside him, not those who follow.” — Socrates
124. “There are two kinds of disease of the soul, vice and ignorance.” — Socrates
125. “Be the kind of person that you want people to think you are.” — Socrates
Socrates Quotes To Give Some wisdom
126. “The definition of terms is the beginning of wisdom.” ― Socrates
127. “Aren’t you ashamed to be concerned so much about making all the money you can and advancing your reputation and prestige, while for truth and wisdom and the improvement of your souls you have no thought or care?” ― Socrates
128. “It is better to suffer wrong than to do wrong” ― Socrates
129. “…a good man cannot be harmed either in life or in death, and that his affairs are not neglected by the gods.” ― Socrates
130. “He who would change the world should first change himself.” ― Socrates
131. “…[S]one of the opinions which people entertain should be respected, and others should not.” ― Socrates
132. “The mind is the pilot of the soul.” ― Socrates
133. “And now we go, you to your lives, and I to death, and which of us goes to the better only God knows” ― Socrates
134. “Human nature will not easily find a better helper than eros” ― Socrates
135. “I am likely to be wiser than he to this small extent, that I do not think I know what I do not know.” ― Socrates
Socrates Quotes To Bring You Wisdom That Will Change Your Life
136. “Awareness of ignorance is the beginning of wisdom.” — Socrates
137. “If you want to be wrong then follow the masses.” — Socrates
138. “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” — Socrates
139. “The energy of the mind is the essence of life.” — Socrates
140. “Why should we pay so much attention to what the majority thinks?” — Socrates
141. “When you want wisdom and insight as badly as you want to breathe, it is then you shall have it.” — Socrates
142. “To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.” ― Socrates
143. “Knowing thyself is the height of wisdom.” — Socrates
144. “True wisdom lies in one’s confession about the limits of one’s knowledge.” — Socrates
145. “Wise men speak when they have something to say, fools speak because they have to say something” — Socrates
Socrates Quotes To Help You Strive in Life
146. “One who is injured ought not to return the injury, for on no account can it be right to do an injustice.” — Socrates
147. “Since I am convinced that I wrong no one, I am not likely to wrong myself.” — Socrates
148. “I prefer to be refuted than to refute, for it is a greater good for oneself to be freed from the greatest evil than to free another.” — Socrates
149. “Wisdom adorneth riches and casteth a shadow over poverty.” — Socrates
150. “Anybody can be a hellene, by his heart, his mind, his spirit.” — Socrates
151. “Some have courage in pleasures, and some in pains: some in desires, and some in fears, and some are cowards under the same conditions.” — Socrates
152. “I have lived long enough to learn how much there is I can really do without…. He is nearest to God who needs the fewest things.” — Socrates
153. “The examined life is the only life worth living.” — Socrates
154. “The nearest way to glory a shortcut, as it were is to strive to be what you wish to be thought to be.” — Socrates
155. “What a lot of things there are a man can do without.” — Socrates
Socrates’ Quotes on Wisdom, Knowledge and Change
156. “The more you know, the more you realize you know nothing.” ― Socrates
157. “The man who is truly wise knows that he knows very little.” ― Socrates
158. “It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings.” ― Socrates
159. “The greater the power that deigns to serve you, the more honor it demands of you.” ― Socrates
160. “The measure of a man is what he does with power.” ― Socrates
161. “Courage is knowing what not to fear.” ― Socrates
162. “The beginning is the most important part, especially when dealing with anything young and tender.” ― Socrates
163. “He who commits injustice is ever made more wretched than he who suffers it.” ― Socrates
164. “The individual leads in order that those who are led can develop their potential as human beings and thereby prosper.” ― Socrates
165. “Knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.” ― Socrates
Which are your favorite Socrates quotes
Socrates is regarded as one of the most influential Greek philosophers of ancient times.
He inspired many students, including the philosopher Plato.
He emphasized that great leaders should have knowledge, virtue and a complete understanding of themselves.
Hopefully, these Socrates quotes have helped you know yourself better.
Did you enjoy these Socrates quotes?
Which of the quotes was your favorite?
Tell us in the comment section below.
We would love to hear all about it.
July 12, 2022 at 5:42 AM
“Wisdom is to know what you don’t know”
” a smart people learn from everything and everyone, average people learn from experience while stuoid people already have all the answers
October 11, 2020 at 10:19 AM
Death may be the greatest of all human blessings.” – Socrates
June 6, 2020 at 4:39 AM
It is better to change an opinion than persist on the wrong one.
May 14, 2020 at 3:51 AM
I SO MUCH LIKE THIS ONE: BY ALL MEANS MARRY,YOU GET A GOOD WIFE, YOU WILL BE HAPPY,BUT IF YOU MARRY A BAD WIFE,YOU WILL BECOME A PHILOSOPHER.
April 12, 2020 at 3:56 PM
Thank you for compiling this list of quotes from Socrates. I found this site by searching for a Socrates quote that I used to put across the bulletin board in my classroom. It seemed appropriate at this time of the COVID-19 epidemic but I wanted to get it right. He said, ” I’m not a citizen of Greece (?) but a citizen of the world.” Could you help me out with the exact quote. I have been retired for 20 years and I have no idea where I got the quote…probably from a textbook that I had on shelf.
February 7, 2020 at 12:42 PM
I like all quotes of Socrates but the most wonderful is: ‘False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil’.
October 17, 2019 at 8:10 AM
“When the debate is over, slander becomes the tool of the loser.”
Politicians should have this tattooed upon their foreheads.
August 9, 2019 at 6:23 AM
“He is richest who is content with the least.”
That is, for me at least, THE wisest quote I’ve ever read. It’s an ideology that promotes being true to yourself. And if you are true to yourself, you know yourself. Nobody knows themselves in the world we live in now. But I suspect people did as you go back further& further in time. In other words, modern man is shallow – & getting more shallow as time goes on.
June 20, 2019 at 2:45 PM
“Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.”
Hmm, isn’t that comment discussing people?
May 23, 2019 at 10:55 AM
Those who are hardest to love, need it the most
April 26, 2019 at 4:06 AM
Call no man unhappy until he is married.
January 28, 2019 at 4:44 PM
Inspirational and game changer! How ones perspective can change by taking a few minutes to read these quotes. Thanks so much for sharing. 😉
Bushy Van Eck
January 26, 2019 at 8:55 AM
“He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.” – Socrates
If only humanity had the wisdom to understand this, then the world would have been a much better place for all to live in.
January 23, 2019 at 12:57 PM
I was told that Socrates said the following: “before you talk to me, take a moment and filter what you are going to say. I call it the Triple Filter Test. The first filter is Truth. Are you sure what you are about to tell me is true? Is what you are about to tell me something good? Is what you are about to tell me going to be useful to me?
If what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor useful, why tell me at all.
Do or anyone know if Socrates really said this?
August 31, 2018 at 2:11 PM
I like this one, “Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.” Discussing ideas might be fruitful towards promoting the social economic growth of the society and discussion of event an advantage in this matter while discussing people may cause a lot of harm to the peace, unity and stability of the Nation.
Jeffrey I. Moore
September 2, 2018 at 5:00 PM
Thank you for sharing Dawid!!!
April 30, 2019 at 10:59 AM
The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance.
This combined with:
Those who are telling us what to do,what is good for us, what option to follow are only trying we to behave their way instead to help us to find our own way.