Teacher of Plato and considered the father of Western Philosophy. Philosophically he was heavily invested in the field of ethics. The Socratic Method still used in philosophy today is a method in which inquiries and discussions are placed in a group setting to facilitate critical thinking. Although extremely enigmatic, many of his teachings were documented by his most famous student Plato. Here are a few of those insightful teachings that could even change your life.
“The unexamined life is not worth living”
A significantly profound truth shrouded in simple prose. What is the worth of a life without passion and wonderment, a life’s potential that remains unexplored?
“Be as you wish to seem”
We all have a certain standard that we hold ourselves to, but in many cases non-commitment is easier than dedication and hard work to become what we want to be.
“The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavour to be what you desire to appear”
Many people try to uphold to societal expectation, but when we are alone do we still abide by those? Socrates challenges us to always be the person that we present ourselves to be no matter the context, environment or social setting.
“One who is injured ought not to return the injury, for on no account can it be right to do an injustice; and it is not right to return an injury, or to do evil to any man, however much we have suffered from him”
A life motivated by pain and vindication is vain and egotistic; forgiveness is what truly facilitates recovery and healing.
“He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature”
The value of living a simple life has been a universal truth throughout epochs and eras, and is especially relative today when everyone is struggling with the innate complexities of modern life.
“Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have laboured hard for”
People that have dedicated their lives to the betterment of themselves, their craft and humanity have many and insightful truths to share. Why not take advantage of their labor and the dissemination of their body of work?
“Worthless people live only to eat and drink; people of worth eat and drink only to live”
Finding joy in the rudimentary can have its benefits, but isn’t it through strife and struggle that we see the most profound personal betterment?
“From the deepest desires often comes the deadliest hate”
No matter how evolved humans become, the fact that desires pursue zealously can turn monstrous and destructive.
“True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us”
One of my favorite anecdotes goes like this: A piano student frustratingly asks his teacher: “Maestro why can’t I play the music exactly how I hear it in my head?” and the teacher replies: “The realization that you never will be able to is what distinguishes the master from the student.”
“Beware the barrenness of a busy life”
Being overly preoccupied within a routine can shorten your perception of time. Be careful not to wake up one day and feel that many years have passed without any evidence, even though you never stopped working.
“Wisdom begins in wonder”
How can you explore something that doesn’t excite you to learn more about it? An inquisitive mind is a mind that is constantly fascinated by the world it sees.
Although Socrates lived centuries ago, his teachings and sayings are still resonate and are relevant today. There are many profound truths that can be revealed from a life that was constantly asking ‘Why’.