150 Plato Quotes

These Plato quotes will surely give you a reality check when you need it most. With 150 quotes that tackle everything about love, wisdom, and governance, we’re sure these quotes will make you see the world from a new perspective.

Probably the most famous and influential philosopher who ever lived, Plato founded The Academy in c. 387 BC in hopes to share his ideals with the rulers of society and the rest of the population.

If you want to know more about his ideologies, continue to the list below.

Best Plato Quotes

1. “Love is a serious mental disease.”

2. “The measure of a man is what he does with power.”

3. “I am the wisest man alive for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.”

4. “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”

5. “One of the penalties of refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”

6. “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.”

7. “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”

8. “Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.”

9. “Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song.”

10. “The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”

11. “Courage is knowing what not to fear.”

12. “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.”

13. “Ignorance—the root and stem of every evil.”

14. “According to Greek mythology, humans were originally created with four arms, four legs, and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves.”

15. “I’m trying to think, don’t confuse me with facts.”

16. “Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.”

17. “Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly; while bad people will find a way around the laws.”

18. “If women are expected to do the same work as men, we must teach them the same things.”

19. “Those who tell the stories rule society.”

20. “And when one of them meets the other half, the actual half of himself, whether he be a lover of youth or a lover of another sort, the pair are lost in an amazement of love, and friendship, and intimacy, and one will not be out of the other’s sight, as I may say, even for a moment.”

Plato Quotes on Love and Being Inherently Good

21. “The madness of love is the greatest of heaven’s blessings.”

22. “Human behavior flows from three main sources—desire, emotion, and knowledge.”

23. “When men speak ill of thee, live so as nobody may believe them.”

24. “The object of education is to teach us to love what is beautiful.”

25. “Love is simply the name for the desire and pursuit of the whole.”

26. “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.”

27. “If a man can be properly said to love something, it must be clear that he feels affection for it as a whole, and does not love part of it to the exclusion of the rest.”

28. “At the touch of love, everyone becomes a poet.”

29. “He whom loves touches not walks in darkness.”

30. “The love of the gods belongs to anyone who has given to true virtue and nourished it, and if any human being could become immortal, it would be he.”

31. “He feels particularly ashamed if ever he is seen by his lovers to be involved in something dishonourable.”

32. “Then the lover, who is true and no counterfeit, must of necessity be loved by his love.”

33. “There is no such thing as a lover’s oath.”

34. “Love is of something, and that which love desires is not that which love is or has; for no man desires that which he is or has. And love is of the beautiful, and therefore has not the beautiful. And the beautiful is the good, and therefore, in wanting and desiring the beautiful, love also wants and desires the good.”

35. “‎Love is a madness produced by an unsatisfiable rational desire to understand the ultimate truth about the world.”

36. “The truth is that we isolate a particular kind of love and appropriate it for the name of love, which really belongs to a wider whole.”

37. “The love of man to woman is a thing common and of course, and at first partakes more of instinct and passion than of choice; but true friendship between man and man is infinite and immortal.

38. “As it is, the lover of inquiry must follow his beloved wherever it may lead him.”

39. “Love is a great spirit. Everything spiritual is in between god and mortal.”

40. “The greatest wealth is to live content with little.”

41. “Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.”

42. “Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others.”

43. “Any man may easily do harm, but not every man can do good to another.”

44. “True friendship can exist only between equals.”

45. “No wealth can ever make a bad man at peace with himself.”

46. “What if the man could see beauty itself—pure, unalloyed, stripped of mortality, and all its pollution, stains, and vanities, unchanging, divine. The man becoming in that communion, the friend of God, himself immortal, would that be a life to disregard?”

47. “The man who finds that in the course of his life he has done a lot of wrong often wakes up at night in terror, like a child with a nightmare, and his life is full of foreboding: but the man who is conscious of no wrongdoing is filled with cheerfulness and with the comfort of old age.”

48. “Beauty of style, and harmony, and grace, and good rhythm depend on simplicity.”

49. “Is there a perfect world?”

50. “A life without investigation is not worth living.”

51. “If it were necessary either to do wrong or to suffer it, I should choose to suffer rather than do it.”

52. “No matter how hard you fight the darkness, every light casts a shadow, and the closer you get to the light, the darker that shadow becomes.”

53. “A sensible man will remember that the eyes may be confused in two ways—by a change from light to darkness or from darkness to light; and he will recognise that the same thing happens to the soul.”

54. “Pleasure is the bait of sin.”

55. “Virtue does not spring from riches, but riches and all other human blessings, both private and public, from virtue.”

56. “The wise man will want to be with him who is better than himself.”

57. “We are twice armed if we fight with faith.”

Plato Quotes on the Excellence of Body and Spirit

58. “The man who makes everything that leads to happiness depends upon himself and not upon other men, has adopted the very best plan for living happily. This is the man of moderation—the man of manly character and of wisdom.”

59. “There are three classes of men—lovers of wisdom, lovers of honor, and lovers of gain.”

60. “There are two things a person should never be angry at—what they can help with and what they cannot.”

61. “The beginning is the most important part of the work.”

62. “How can you prove whether at this moment we are sleeping, and all our thoughts are a dream; or whether we are awake, and talking to one another in the waking state?”

63. “A house that has a library in it has a soul.”

64. “Death is not the worst that can happen to men.”

65. “Bodily exercise, when compulsory, does no harm to the body; but knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.”

66. “Character is simply habit long continued.”

67. “A hero is born among a hundred, a wise man is found among a thousand, but an accomplished one might not be found even among a hundred thousand men.”

68. “Nothing is beautiful without struggle.”

69. “For this feeling of wonder shows that you are a philosopher, since wonder is the only beginning of philosophy.”

70. “Poets utter great and wise things which they do not themselves understand.”

71. “Have you ever sensed that our soul is immortal and never dies?”

72. “The first and best victory is to conquer self.”

73. “Man is a being in search of meaning.”

74. “The soul takes flight to the world that is invisible, but upon arriving there she is sure of bliss and forever dwells in paradise.”

75. “Either we shall find what it is we are seeking or at least we shall free ourselves from the persuasion that we know what we do not know.”

76. “No human thing is of serious importance.”

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

78. “He was a wise man who invented God.”

79. “A dog has the soul of a philosopher.”

80. “All is flux, nothing stays still.”

81. “Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history.”

82. “Everything that deceives may be said to enchant.”

83. “Of all the animals, the boy is the most unmanageable.”

84. “Knowledge is the food of the soul.”

85. “Musical training is a more potent instrument than any other, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul.”

86. “Excess of liberty, whether it lies in state or individuals, seems only to pass into excess of slavery.”

87. “Time is the moving image of eternity.”

88. “Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being.”

89. “In order for man to succeed in life, God provided him with two means—education and physical activity. Not separately—one for the soul and the other for the body—but for the two together. With these means, man can attain perfection.”

90. “The soul of man is immortal and imperishable.”

91. “Calligraphy is a geometry of the soul which manifests itself physically.”

92. “Nothing more excellent nor more valuable than wine was ever granted mankind by God.”

93. “Thinking—the talking of the soul with itself.”

94. “He combines the highest, lowest and middle chords in complete harmony within himself.”

95. “To the degree that I cease to pursue my deepest passions, I will gradually be controlled by my deepest fears.”

96. “Physical excellence does not of itself produce a good mind and character. On the other hand, excellence of mind and character will make the best of the physique it is given.”

97. “Attention to health is life’s greatest hindrance.”

Plato Quotes on the Need for Education and Good Governance

98. “Education is teaching our children to desire the right things.”

99. “In politics, we presume that everyone who knows how to get votes knows how to administer a city or a state. When we are ill, we do not ask for the handsomest physician or the most eloquent one.”

100. “You should not honor men more than truth.”

101. “Then we shan’t regard anyone as a lover of knowledge or wisdom who is fussy about what he studies.”

102. “Necessity is the mother of invention.”

103. “Those who are able to see beyond the shadows and lies of their culture will never be understood, let alone believed, by the masses.”

104. “An empty vessel makes the loudest sound, so they that have the least wit are the greatest babblers.”

105. “No man should bring children into the world who are unwilling to persevere to the end in their nature and education.”

106. “Musical innovation is full of danger to the state, for when modes of music change, the fundamental laws of the state always change with them.”

107. “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.”

108. “The soul takes nothing with her to the next world but her education and her culture. At the beginning of the journey to the next world, one’s education and culture can either provide the greatest assistance, or else act as the greatest burden, to the person who has just died.”

109. “I thought to myself, ‘I am wiser than this man; neither of us probably knows anything that is really good, but he thinks he has knowledge, when he has not, while I, having no knowledge, do not think I have.’”

110. “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.”

111. “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.”

112. “Books are immortal sons defying their sires.”

113. “How could they see anything but the shadows if they were never allowed to move their heads?”

114. “All I really know is the extent of my own ignorance.”

115. “‘That’s what education should be,’ I said, ‘the art of orientation.’ Educators should devise the simplest and most effective methods of turning minds around. It shouldn’t be the art of implanting sight in the organ, but should proceed on the understanding that the organ already has the capacity, but is improperly aligned and isn’t facing the right way.”

116. “In practice, people who study philosophy too long become very odd birds, not to say thoroughly vicious; while even those who are the best of them are reduced by philosophy to complete uselessness as members of society.”

117. “The difficulty, my friends, is not in avoiding death, but in avoiding unrighteousness; for that runs faster than death.”

118. “Man is a tame or civilized animal; nevertheless, he requires proper instruction and a fortunate nature, and then of all animals he becomes the most divine and most civilized; but if he is insufficient or ill-educated, he is the most savage of earthly creatures.”

119. “Philosophy is the highest music.”

120. “Ideas are the source of all things.”

121. “Money-makers are tiresome company, as they have no standard but cash value.”

122. “Come then, and let us pass a leisure hour in storytelling, and our story shall be the education of our heroes.”

123. “This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears, he is a protector.”

124. “Those who don’t know must learn from those who do.”

125. “No one is more hated than he who speaks the truth.”

126. “Only a philosopher’s mind grows wings, since its memory always keeps it as close as possible to those realities by being close to which the gods are divine.”

127. “When there is an income tax, the just man will pay more and the unjust less on the same amount of income.”

128. “Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world to another.”

129. “I have hardly ever known a mathematician who was capable of reasoning.”

130. “Honesty is, for the most part, less profitable than dishonesty.”

131. “Knowledge becomes evil if the aim is not virtuous.”

132. “Let parents then bequeath to their children not riches, but the spirit of reverence.”

133. “The philosopher whose dealings are with divine order himself acquires the characteristics of order and divinity.”

134. “All learning has an emotional base.”

135. “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.”

136. “But above all things, truth beareth away the victory.”

137. “We are like people looking for something they have in their hands all the time—we’re looking in all directions except at the thing we want, which is probably why we haven’t found it.”

138. “Strange times are these in which we live when old and young are taught falsehoods in school. And the person that dares to tell the truth is called at once a lunatic and fool.”

139. “Let the speaker speak truly and the judge decide justly.”

140. “We do not learn, and that what we call learning is only a process of recollection.”

141. “Books give a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.”

142. “It’s better, in fact, to be guilty of manslaughter than of fraud about what is fair and just.”

143. “He who wishes to serve his country must have not only the power to think, but the will to act.”

144. “The man deserved his fate, deny it who can; yes, but the fate did not deserve the man.”

145. “Wealth is the parent of luxury and indolence, and poverty of meanness and viciousness, and both of discontent.”

146. “It is our duty to select the best and most dependable theory that human intelligence can supply, and use it as a raft to ride the seas of life.”

147. “Appearance tyrannizes over truth.”

148. “I prefer nothing, unless it is true.”

149. “Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance.”

150. “A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers.”

Which of these Plato Quotes Make You Want to Climb Out of Your Caves of Darkness and Ignorance?

For most of our lives, we usually just go along with common sense or what it is we’re used to, but these are often riddled with biases, prejudice, and imposed beliefs. This is why Plato teaches us that we have to step away from human blindness and step into the truth. We have to recognize that our actions have consequences, and therefore, it is important for us to live a just life based on justice, moderation, and wisdom.

Did these quotes from Plato make you think about how you live your life? Which of these quotes are your favorites? Tell us about your thoughts below.

Amy Finn

Hi. I'm Amy, the founder of this blog. I love quotes and enjoy sharing the best ones with you.

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