Plato, born c. 428 BCE and died c. 348 BCE, was a famous Greek philosopher, teacher, writer, and public speaker, and the most brilliant and intelligent of all the students and followers of Socrates. As there are no biographical sources from the time of his life, we know most things about him through the writings and biographies about him written some 500 years following his death.
His philosophy forms much of the foundations of the current Western civilizations. He basically laid the groundwork for aesthetics, ethics, epistemology, metaphysics, and early forms of many great sciences.
Plato was born into a family of nobles, meaning he was lucky enough to receive only the finest education ancient Athens had to offer its citizens. He wrote poetry in his youth, studied painting and even wrestled, meaning he was not all brains, but also of an impressive physique. However, once he met his teacher Socrates, everything changed. Since that moment, Plato was inspired to become a philosopher and to have a career in politics. He first received education in metaphysics, which is the study of reality, as well as epistemology, the study of knowledge.
He gave on the idea of a career in politics after the Athenian government sentenced Socrates to death. Plato instead chose to travel and learn everything about the philosophy that he can, as well as mathematics, science, and religion. He went to Italy to study mathematics, while for his studies in geometry, geology, astrology, and religion, he turned to Egypt. After 12 years away from home, he returned to Athens and founded The Academy, which was the first organized school in Western Civilization.
The brightest of his students was Aristotle, who was later a mentor to Alexander the Great, and who was greatly responsible for the development of philosophy in the young conqueror’s mind. Later in his life, Plato wrote an extreme amount of texts. He covered almost all disciplines of human knowledge of the time, most notably in his “Dialogues”. His legacy is a testament to human brilliance, and seekers of truth far and wide consider him as one of their idols.
Best 26 quotes by the legendary philosopher
1. “False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.”
2. “Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge.”
3. “Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.”
4. “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.”
5. “Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.”
6. “Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.”
7. “If women are expected to do the same work as men, we must teach them the same things.”
8. “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.”
9. “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.”
10. “There are three classes of men: lovers of wisdom, lovers of honor, and lovers of gain.”
11. “For a man to conquer himself is the first and noblest of all victories.”
12. “The excessive increase in anything causes a reaction in the opposite direction.”
13. “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.”
14. “The beginning is the most important part of the work.”
15. “Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance.”
16. “Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others.”
17. “Courage is knowing what not to fear.”
18. “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.”
19. “The measure of a man is what he does with power.”
20. “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.”
21. “Poets utter great and wise things which they themselves do not understand.”