14 Socrates Quotes on Knowing Oneself


One of the greatest and most famous Greek philosophers, Socrates is considered the first moral philosopher and one of the founders of Western philosophy. Since he didn’t write down any of his work and teachings, the philosopher remains an enigmatic figure, known only from the writings of his students, particularly Plato and Xenophon.

Socrates wanted to establish an ethical system that would be based on human reason rather than the theological doctrine of the time. He strongly believed that the greatest leaders are the ones who possess knowledge, virtue and a complete understanding of themselves.

Socrates stated that an individual’s choice is motivated by the desire for happiness, but the right choices to achieve happiness can only be made when one truly knows himself.

Although admired during his time, many felt that Socrates threatened their way of life – and soon he was sentenced to death and forced to drink a mixture of poison hemlock. He did this without hesitation, as he did not fear death.

Here are 14 Socrates quotes to get to know yourself a little better:


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


The unexamined life is not worth living.


By all means marry; if you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.


Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.


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


Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.


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


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


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


My friend…care for your psyche…know thyself, for once we know ourselves, we may learn how to care for ourselves.


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



The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.


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


Be of good cheer about death, and know this of a truth, that no evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death.

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