Socrates Inspirational Quotes

Socrates, the classical Greek philosopher, stands as a towering figure in the history of Western philosophy. Born in Athens circa 470 BC, he is best known for his Socratic method—a form of cooperative argumentative dialogue that stimulates critical thinking and illuminates ideas. Despite leaving no written records, his thoughts survive through the accounts of his disciples, Plato and Xenophon.

Socrates’ most profound contribution to the world is the development of a philosophical approach that emphasizes ethical introspection and the relentless questioning of supposed knowledge. His commitment to exploring the moral life and his unwavering pursuit of virtue laid the groundwork for subsequent philosophical inquiry.

One of his most celebrated quotes, “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing,” encapsulates the essence of his philosophy. This declaration is pivotal because it challenges the complacency of perceived knowledge and the arrogance of certainty. It is an invitation to lifelong learning and humility.

In contemporary society, this quote retains its relevance, confronting the illusion of knowledge in an age of information overload. It prompts us to reflect on our understanding, encourages us to question our assumptions, and recognizes the vast expanse of what we have yet to learn. In a culture often dominated by staunch opinions and a reluctance to change, Socrates’ wisdom is a stark reminder of the value of intellectual humility.

Socrates’ legacy, characterized by his dedication to wisdom and the examined life, continues to provoke deep reflection and dialogue. His quote serves as a beacon for critical thought, urging us to embrace the limits of our knowledge as the starting point for true wisdom.


Socrates says: “And a thing is not seen because it is visible, but conversely, visible because it is seen; nor is a thing led because it is in the state of being led, or carried because it is in the state of being carried, but the converse of this. And now I think, Euthyphro, that my meaning will be intelligible; and my meaning is, that any state of action or passion implies previous action or passion. It does not become because it is becoming, but it is in a state of becoming because it becomes; neither does it suffer because it is in a state of suffering, but it is in a state of suffering because it suffers. Do you not agree?”

Socrates says: “And so they grow richer and richer, and the more they think of making a fortune the less they think of virtue; for when riches and virtue are placed together in the scales of the balance, the one always rises as the other falls.”

Socrates says: “Are you not ashamed of heaping up the greatest amount of money and honour and reputation, and caring so little about wisdom and truth and the greatest improvement of the soul?”

Socrates says: “As for me, all I know is that I know nothing, for when I don’t know what justice is, I’ll hardly know whether it is a kind of virtue or not, or whether a person who has it is happy or unhappy.”

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

Socrates says:  “Be slow to fall into friendship, but when you are in, continue firm and constant.”

Socrates says: “Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty.”

Socrates says: “Death may be the greatest of all human blessings.”

Socrates says: “Do not do to others what angers you if done to you by others.”

Socrates says:  “Do not trouble about those who practice philosophy, whether they are good or bad; but examine the thing itself well and carefully. And if philosophy appears a bad thing to you, turn every man from it, not only your sons; but if it appears to you such as I think it to be, take courage, pursue it, and practice it, as the saying is, ‘both you and your house.”

Socrates says: “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 says: “For the fear of death is indeed the pretense of wisdom, and not real wisdom, being a pretense of knowing the unknown; and no one know whether death, which men in their fear apprehend to be the greatest evil, may not be the greatest good. Is not this ignorance of a disgraceful sort, the ignorance which is the conceit that a man knows that he does not know? And in this respect only I believe myself to differ from men in general, and may perhaps claim to be wiser than they are: that whereas I know but little of the world below, I do not suppose that I know..”

Socrates says: “From the deepest desires often come the deadliest hate.”

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

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

Socrates says: “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 says: “I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think”

Socrates says: “I did not care for the things that most people care about– making money, having a comfortable home, high military or civil rank, and all the other activities, political appointments, secret societies, party organizations, which go on in our city . . . I set myself to do you– each one of you, individually and in private– what I hold to be the greatest possible service. I tried to persuade each one of you to concern himself less with what he has than with what he is, so as to render himself as excellent and as rational as possible”

Socrates says: “I know you won’t believe me, but the highest form of Human Excellence is to question oneself and others.”

Socrates says: “I soon realized that poets do not compose their poems with knowledge, but by some inborn talent and by inspiration, like seers and prophets who also say many fine things without any understanding of what they say.”

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

Socrates says: “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 says: “If you want to be a good saddler, saddle the worst horse; for if you can tame one, you can tame all.”

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

Socrates says: “Mankind is made of two kinds of people: wise people who know they’re fools, and fools who think they are wise.”

Socrates says:  “May the inward and outward man be as one.”

Socrates says: “My plainness of speech makes them hate me, and what is their hatred but a
proof that I am speaking the truth.”

Socrates says: “Now the hour to part has come. I go to die, you go to live. Which of us goes to the better lot is known to no one, except the god.”

Socrates says: “One day, the old wise Socrates walks down the streets, when all of the sudden a man runs up to him “Socrates I have to tell you something about your friend who…”
“Hold up” Socrates interrupts him “About the story you’re about to tell me, did you put it trough the three sieves?”
“Three sieves?” The man asks “What three sieves?”
“Let’s try it” Socrates says.
“The first sieve is the one of truth, did you examine what you were about to tell me if it is true?” Socrates asks.
“Well no, I just overheard it” The man says.
“Ah, well then you have used the second sieve, the sieve of good?” Socrates asks “Is it something good what you’re about to tell me?”
“Ehm no, on the contrary” the man answers.
“Hmmm” The wise man says “Let’s use the third sieve then, is it necessary to tell me what you’re so exited about?”
“No not necessary” the man says.
“Well” Socrates says with a smile “If the story you’re about to tell me isn’t true, good or necessary, just forget it and don’t bother me with it.”

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