This collection of Plato quotes reflects the insights and thinking of one of the smartest men in human history. In understanding the quotes from this great Greek philosopher, you have gained most of the life lessons you’ll ever need.
Someone has rightly said that reading Plato may be easy, but understanding him may not be. Have a read-through and see if some of his knowledge rubs off on you. Find out what makes Plato’s words so important to human civilization.
Best Plato Quotes and Sayings
1.) The beginning is the most important part of the work.
As with many famous Plato quotes, the brevity of this statement doesn’t reflect its importance. A proper plan and the early steps of any project generally set the tone for its entirety. Getting started right is one’s biggest challenge in most endeavors.
2.) Love is the joy of the good, the wonder of the wise, the amazement of the Gods.
Trying to capture the meaning of the word “love” provides quote collectors a lot of material. It seems that everyone tries to put to pen and paper and capture love’s elusive meaning. Plato’s love quotes seem to do it as well as anyone because love is joy, wonder and amazing all wrapped up into one package.
3.) The greatest wealth is to live content with little.
The sentiments of many Plato quotes frequently serve as inspiration for writers that came after him. This saying is no exception. Being thankful for what we have is one of the most popular reoccurring themes in life philosophy books and writings. Oh, but how true it is.
4.) He whom love touches not walks in darkness.
Plato quotes on love like this show his deep understanding of the human spirit. When one has a romantic interest, life is more interesting. You know food tastes better, the music is more grand, and life overall has more meaning.
Inspirational Plato Quotations
5.) Better a little which is well done, than a great deal imperfectly.
This Plato saying is a thought that has gone through virtually every manager and parent’s head since the beginning of time. Better to have some of the work completed correctly than to have to go through, review the work, and make the corrections.
6.) The object of education is to teach us to love what is beautiful.
In this wonderfully conveyed Plato quote, the Greek philosopher examines the big picture of education. As you consider different subject areas of study like math, art, science, writing, etc., there is beauty to be found in all of these fields. Education, especially with a good teacher, helps students understand that beauty.
7.) Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.
As humans, sometimes we’re focused so much on our own daily challenges, that we forget to think of others. Of all of the Plato quotes, this may be my favorite because it is so spot on.
Plato Quotes On Music
8.) Music gives a soul to the universe.
9.) 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.
10.) The affairs of music ought, somehow, to terminate in the love of the beautiful.
11.) 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.
12.) I would teach children music, physics, and philosophy; but most importantly music, for the patterns in music and all the arts are the keys to learning.
13.) Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue.
14.) Musical training is a more potent instrument than any other because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul.
15.) Music is a more potent instrument than any other for education.
16.) Music is a defining element of character.
17.) For the introduction of a new kind of music must be shunned as imperiling the whole state.
Learn more about Plato and his life at history.com.
Plato Quotes — Republic
18.) The heaviest penalty for declining to rule is to be ruled by someone inferior to yourself.
19.) The soul takes nothing with her to the next world but her education and her culture.
20.) I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.
21.) 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.
22.) If women are expected to do the same work as men, we must teach them the same things.
23.) Have you ever sensed that our soul is immortal and never dies?
24.) And then, at this stage, every dictator comes up with the notorious and typical demand: he asks the people for bodyguards to protect him, the people’s champion.
25.) The philosopher whose dealings are with divine order himself acquires the characteristics of order and divinity.
26.) 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.
27.) Money-makers are tiresome company, as they have no standard but cash value.
Famous Plato Quotes
28.) Ignorance, the root and the stem of every evil.
29.) Any man may easily do harm, but not every man can do good to another.
30.) Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others.
31.) Man is a being in search of meaning.
32.) He who is not a good servant will not be a good master.
33.) The measure of a man is what he does with power.
34.) Science is nothing but perception.
35.) You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.
36.) Poets utter great and wise things which they themselves do not understand.
37.) Honesty is for the most part less profitable than dishonesty.
38.) Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.
39.) Wisdom alone is the science of other sciences.
40.) Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge.
41.) Opinions is the medium between knowledge and ignorance.
42.) Death is not the worst that can happen to men.
43.) We are twice armed if we fight with faith.
44.) Know thyself.
45.) Justice means minding one’s own business and not meddling with other men’s concerns.
46.) Only the dead have seen the end of the war.
47.) Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history.
48.) Books give a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.
Plato Quotes On Love
49.) Love is the pursuit of the whole.
50.) There is no such thing as a lover’s oath.
51.) As wolves love lambs so lovers love their love.
52.) For neither birth, nor wealth, nor honors, can awaken in the minds of men the principles which should guide those who from their youth aspire to an honorable and excellent life, as love awakens them.
53.) To love rightly is to love what is orderly and beautiful in an educated and disciplined way.
54.) There are three classes of men: lovers of wisdom, lovers of honor, and lovers of gain.
55.) Love is a serious mental disease.
56.) One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.
57.) 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.
58.) No law or ordinance is mightier than understanding.
59.) Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.
60.) Democracy is a charming form of government, full of variety and disorder, and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequal alike.
61.) No man should bring children into the world who is unwilling to persevere to the end in their nature and education.
62.) Let early education be a sort of amusement. You will then be better able to find out the natural bent.
63.) The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future life.
64.) The true lover of learning then must his earliest youth, as far as in him lies, desire all truth.
65.) If a man neglects education, he walks lame to the end of his life.
66.) The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things.
67.) We do not learn, and what we call learning is only a process of recollection.
68.) Do not train children to learning by force and harshness, but direct them to it by what amuses their minds.
69.) No one ever teaches well who wants to teach, or governs well who wants to govern.
Plato Quotes On Learning
70.) Education and admonition commence in the first years of childhood and last to the very end of life.
71.) The purpose of education is to give to the body and to the soul all the beauty and all the perfection of which they are capable.
72.) And may we not say, Adeimantus, that the most gifted minds, when they are ill-educated, become the worst?
73.) Seek truth while you are young, for if you do not, it will later escape your grasp.
74.) In the world of knowledge, the idea of good appears last of all, and is seen only with effort.
75.) The most important part of education is proper training in the nursery.
76.) By education I mean that training in excellence from youth upward which makes a man passionately desire to be a perfect citizen, and teaches him to rule, and to obey, with justice.
Plato Quotes On Life
77.) The noblest of all studies is the study of what man is and of what life he should live.
78.) Let him know how to choose the mean and avoid the extremes on either side, as far as possible, for this is the way of happiness.
79.) Nothing in the affairs of men is worthy of great anxiety.
80.) Life must be lived as play, playing certain games, making sacrifices, singing and dancing, and then a man will be able to propitiate the gods.
81.) The life which is not examined is not worth living.
82.) Man is a prisoner who has no right to open the door of his prison and run away. A man should wait, and not take his own life until God summons him.
83.) Attention to health is life’s greatest hindrance.
84.) He who commits injustice is ever made more wretched than he who suffers it.
85.) All men are by nature equal, made all of the same earth by one workman.
86.) Courage is knowing what not to fear.
87.) No evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death.
88.) Knowledge is true opinion.
89.) Nothing beautiful without struggle.
90.) Self-conquest is the greatest of victories.
91.) There is no harm in repeating a good thing.
Tip: Consider using some of these Plato quotes as email sign-offs after your name and contact info. Keep your team thinking with each communication.
92.) The democratic youth lives along day by day, gratifying the desire that occurs to him.
93.) Rhythm and melody enter into the soul of the well-instructed youth and produce there a certain mental harmony hardly obtainable in any other way.
94.) Not one of them who took up in his youth with this opinion that there are no gods ever continued until old age faithful to his conviction.
95.) He who is of 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.
96.) For he who would proceed aright should begin in youth to visit beautiful forms, out of that he should create fair thoughts.
97.) Our youth have an insatiable desire for wealth. They have bad manners and atrocious customs regarding dressing their hair and what garments or shoes they wear.
98.) The well-nurtured youth is one who would see most clearly whatever was amiss in ill-made works of man or ill-grown works of nature.
Philosophy — Plato Quotes
99.) No wealth can ever make a bad man at peace with himself.
100.) For this feeling of wonder shows that you are a philosopher since wonder is the only beginning of philosophy.
101.) Philosophy is the highest music.
102.) Thinking: the talking of the soul with itself.
103.) 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.
104.) Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.
105.) No human thing is of serious importance.
106.) 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.
Truths From Plato
107.) Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance.
108.) A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers.
109.) Truth is the beginning of every good to the gods, and of every good to man.
110.) False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.
111.) Knowledge without justice ought to be called cunning rather than wisdom.
112.) The first and greatest victory is to conquer yourself.
113.) An empty vessel makes the loudest sound, so they that have the least wit are the greatest babblers.
114.) There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot.
115.) 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.
116.) Truth is its own reward.
117.) A dog has the soul of a philosopher.
By Michael O’Halloran
In addition to being the founder of Greeting Card Poet, Michael is an author, inventor, and entrepreneur. He has been collecting and curating quotes for many years.
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