76 Famous Socrates Quotes About Life, Knowledge and Self Growth

Socrates Quotes

Socrates Quotes on Knowledge

Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.

“Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.” – Socrates

True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.

“True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.” – Socrates




To know, is to know that you know nothing. That is the meaning of true knowledge.

“To know, is to know that you know nothing. That is the meaning of true knowledge.” – Socrates

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

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

One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing.

“One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing.” – Socrates




The beginning of wisdom is a definition of terms.

“The beginning of wisdom is a definition of terms.” – Socrates

You never know a line is crooked unless you have a straight one to put next to it.

“You never know a line is crooked unless you have a straight one to put next to it.” – Socrates

The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” – Socrates




There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.

“There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.” – Socrates

Know Thyself.

“Know Thyself.” – Socrates

What I do not know, I do not think I know.

“What I do not know, I do not think I know.” – Socrates

Socrates Quotes on Change

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates

It is better to change an opinion than to persist in a wrong one.

“It is better to change an opinion than to persist in a wrong one.” – Socrates

Only the extremely ignorant or the extremely intelligent can resist change.

“Only the extremely ignorant or the extremely intelligent can resist change.” – Socrates

Socrates Quotes on Friendship

Get not your friends by bare compliments, but by giving them sensible tokens of your love.

“Get not your friends by bare compliments, but by giving them sensible tokens of your love.” – Socrates

There is no possession more valuable than a good and faithful friend.

“There is no possession more valuable than a good and faithful friend.” – Socrates

Be slow to fall into friendship, but when you are in, continue firm and constant.

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

Socrates Quotes on Joy

Enjoy yourself — it’s later than you think.

“Enjoy yourself — it’s later than you think.” – Socrates

Beauty comes first. Victory is secondary. What matters is joy.

“Beauty comes first. Victory is secondary. What matters is joy.” – Socrates

Remember, no human condition is ever permanent. Then you will not be overjoyed in good fortune nor too scornful in misfortune.

“Remember, no human condition is ever permanent. Then you will not be overjoyed in good fortune nor too scornful in misfortune.” – Socrates

Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings so that you shall come easily by what others have labored hard for.

“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

Socrates Quotes on Kindness

Be nicer than necessary to everyone you meet. Everyone is fighting some kind of battle.

“Be nicer than necessary to everyone you meet. Everyone is fighting some kind of battle.” – Socrates

Think not those faithful who praise all thy words and actions; but those who kindly reprove thy faults.

“Think not those faithful who praise all thy words and actions; but those who kindly reprove thy faults.” – Socrates

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

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

Socrates Quotes About Life

Not life, but good life, is to be chiefly valued.

“Not life, but good life, is to be chiefly valued.” – Socrates

Beware the barrenness of a busy life.

“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” – Socrates

We cannot live better than in seeking to become better.

“We cannot live better than in seeking to become better.” – Socrates

Thou shouldst eat to live; not live to eat.

“Thou shouldst eat to live; not live to eat.” – Socrates

The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be.

“The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be.” – Socrates

The unexamined life is not worth living.

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” – Socrates

Socrates Quotes About Love

The hottest love has the coldest end.

“The hottest love has the coldest end.” – Socrates

From the deepest desires often come the deadliest hate.

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

Socrates Quotes on Everything Else

False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.

“False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.” – Socrates

Once made equal to man, woman becomes his superior.

“Once made equal to man, woman becomes his superior.” – Socrates

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.

“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

We gain our first measure of intelligence when we first admit our own ignorance.

“We gain our first measure of intelligence when we first admit our own ignorance.” – Socrates

If I save my insight, I don’t attend to weakness of eyesight.

“If I save my insight, I don’t attend to weakness of eyesight.” – Socrates

I would rather die having spoken after my manner, than speak in your manner and live.

“I would rather die having spoken after my manner, than speak in your manner and live.” – Socrates

Justice. If only we knew what it was.

“Justice. If only we knew what it was.” – Socrates

People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid.

“People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid.” – Socrates

It is better to be at odds with the whole world than, being one, to be at odds with myself.

“It is better to be at odds with the whole world than, being one, to be at odds with myself.” – Socrates

Our prayers should be for blessings in general, for God knows best what is good for us.

“Our prayers should be for blessings in general, for God knows best what is good for us.” – Socrates

I am not an Athenian, nor a Greek, but a citizen of the world.

“I am not an Athenian, nor a Greek, but a citizen of the world.” – Socrates

Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty.

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

I only wish that ordinary people had an unlimited capacity for doing harm; then they might have an unlimited power for doing good.

“I only wish that ordinary people had an unlimited capacity for doing harm; then they might have an unlimited power for doing good.” – Socrates

They are not only idle who do nothing, but they are idle also who might be better employed.

“They are not only idle who do nothing, but they are idle also who might be better employed.” – Socrates

To find yourself, think for yourself.

“To find yourself, think for yourself.” – Socrates

Speak, so that I may see you.

“Speak, so that I may see you.” – Socrates

Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.

“Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.” – Socrates

The nearest way to glory is to strive to be what you wish to be thought to be.

“The nearest way to glory is to strive to be what you wish to be thought to be.” – Socrates

Silence is a profound melody, for those who can hear it above all the noise.

“Silence is a profound melody, for those who can hear it above all the noise.” – Socrates

Understanding a question is half the answer.

“Understanding a question is half the answer.” – Socrates

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.

“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

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.

“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

How many are the things I can do without!

“How many are the things I can do without!” – Socrates

Let him that would move the world, first move himself.

“Let him that would move the world, first move himself.” – Socrates

He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.

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

The easiest and noblest way is not to be crushing others, but to be improving yourselves.

“The easiest and noblest way is not to be crushing others, but to be improving yourselves.” – Socrates

We can do nothing without the body, let us always take care that it is in the best condition to sustain us.

“We can do nothing without the body, let us always take care that it is in the best condition to sustain us.” – Socrates

Remember that there is nothing stable in human affairs; therefore avoid undue elation in prosperity, or undue depression in adversity.

“Remember that there is nothing stable in human affairs; therefore avoid undue elation in prosperity, or undue depression in adversity.” – Socrates

Be as you wish to seem.

“Be as you wish to seem.” – Socrates

Nothing is to be preferred before justice.

“Nothing is to be preferred before justice.” – Socrates

Remember what is unbecoming to do is also unbecoming to speak of.

“Remember what is unbecoming to do is also unbecoming to speak of.” – Socrates

An education obtained with money is worse than no education at all.

“An education obtained with money is worse than no education at all.” – Socrates

He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.

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

I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think.

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

The envious person grows lean with the fatness of their neighbor.

“The envious person grows lean with the fatness of their neighbor.” – Socrates

The perfect human being is all human beings put together, it is a collective, it is all of us together that make perfection.

“The perfect human being is all human beings put together, it is a collective, it is all of us together that make perfection.” – Socrates

Envy is the ulcer of the soul.

“Envy is the ulcer of the soul.” – Socrates

Death may be the greatest of all human blessings.

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

The mind is everything; what you think you become

“The mind is everything; what you think you become” – Socrates

In childhood be modest, in youth temperate, in adulthood just, and in old age prudent.

“In childhood be modest, in youth temperate, in adulthood just, and in old age prudent.” – Socrates

When the debate is over, slander becomes the tool of the loser.

“When the debate is over, slander becomes the tool of the loser.” – Socrates

A multitude of books distracts the mind.

“A multitude of books distracts the mind.” – Socrates

The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.

“The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.” – Socrates

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.

“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

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