In the above picture, we see Socrates in the scene of his death. Socrates was sentenced to death because his ideas threatened the “status quo” of society at the time. We celebrate his thought processes today, being the teacher of Plato and by default, Aristotle, but we don’t understand that his thought processes got him killed by the “status quo.” While alive, he was, of course, the object of ridicule by his peers for those same ideas that threatened their way of living.
One of the greatest philosophers known to the Western world, I’m sure some of you would be amazed to know that Socrates didn’t teach for money, the way most of the philosophers we celebrate also didn’t. Our status quo now is to speak for money, to make money motivating people, doing talks here and there showcasing to people our oratory abilities, riling people up for the moment, only to find ways to get them to spend more money, the endless cycle of our society. Our very own status quo. Philosophers of old would laugh at us and cry blasphemy, that us mere humans would charge other humans to listen to us speak on subjects that have already been discussed and spoken on by teachers of old.
We could spend an entire week going over these philosophers I’m presenting, but I know you came here for a quick read and some interesting quotes that may help you find an understanding that you weren’t able to see before. Without further adieu, here are my top ten favorite quotes from Socrates and my personal thoughts on them.
1. “The Words of Socrates and Today’s Application“Well, I am certainly wiser than ‘this’ man. It is only too likely that neither of us has any knowledge to boast of; but he thinks that he knows something which he does not know, whereas I am quite conscious of my ignorance. At any rate, it seems that I am wiser than he is to this small extent, that I do not think that I know what I do not know.” Too often, we assume that because we graduated from high school(like everyone else), or graduated from college(like everyone else), or have a specialized degree(like anyone who has experienced enough of “life”) that we have some kind of “knowledge.” There is so much information in the world, that the only one who should be remotely interested in “how smart one is,” is the one that knows of their ignorance and is doing everything they can to rid themselves of it and changing their actions along with the new discoveries of information. Think about how many books you have read in your life, then think about the fact that the Vatican itself has over 1.6 million books in its library.
2. “True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.” This affords us the ability to really understand just how ignorant we ARE, and have been taught to be. Understanding one’s ignorance is the first key to getting any wisdom and true understanding at all. KNOWING of one’s true ignorance is the key to the car that can drive you to actual knowledge, life’s truest and longest pursuit, the search that is neverending.
3. “What a lot of things there are a man can do without.” We have been taught to buy and sell. Our consumer society is killing the earth, and with the earth, us right along with it. We are constantly in the search for new things, forgetting about the things we bought a week ago because they are no longer new. The easiest way to fill this void is to constantly be working to improve and better one’s SELF. The improvement of self is the only way to understand that we don’t need ANYTHING. We desire to improve ourselves, and instead of doing that, we work to spend, and having spent, we must work. This leads us to the next quote.
4. “To find yourself, think for yourself.” We have heard the quote “know thyself” from several teachers of old times, and it’s the universal law that we run from the most. We don’t want to look in the mirror unless we are comparing ourselves to others. We never want to acknowledge our ugliness inside and out, and we certainly don’t want to fix it or be told that we should. We constantly preach to be accepted as we are, but never require the second part of that, which is to improve, now that we have been accepted. Yes, the Christian’s Bible says “Come as you are” but in Matthew 5:48, Jesus says on the Sermon on the Mount, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your father in heaven is perfect.” Sure, we can accept each other’s flaws and weaknesses, but to not improve on those, is the cause of much distress in society. “If he can’t accept me at my worst, then he doesn’t deserve me at my best,” is the perfect example of this. While we never want to accept someone’s worst, we constantly expect their best and have a hard time forgiving when we are given less than the best. We must know ourselves, and to know ourselves we must think for ourselves, and that takes much time in solitude. Only in these actions can we give our best to society.
5. “He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.” Ever noticed that there’s always a little buyer’s remorse no matter what you’re buying? That’s your inner spirit telling you that it’s only a temporary bandaid on the void that you constantly try to feel with those consumer goods. Buying new things will never satisfy your desire for more, only BEING and DOING more than you did the day before as an individual will give you absolute contentment.
6. “They are not only idle who do nothing, but they are idle also who might be better employed.” Sure, we know there are those who are idle and don’t enjoy work. I’m one of those people. It’s why I blog. So naturally, we all know everyone is motivated when they are doing something they enjoy. So why is our society set up to get everyone a diploma or a degree and send them off to work in uncomfortable clothes in an office building for eight hours a day? If our system was built to draw out everyone’s natural talents instead of throwing everyone in the same bucket, not only would everyone be more naturally and happily productive, but our society would flourish like no other society has ever seen before.
7. “Our prayers should be for blessings in general, for God knows best what is good for us.” Definition of blessing: In religion, a blessing is the infusion of something with holiness, spiritual redemption, or divine will. The Law of the Preservation of Order is a law that means nothing can ever truly descend into chaos. Chaos is the destruction of everyone and everything, including our Earth, Sun, overall rotation of night and day, etc. It would mean the ending of every law that humans have discovered. This coincides with religious manuscripts that say such things as, “God will not tempt you more than you can bear.” “God’s grace is sufficient for me.” Also, one of the more popular motivational phrases, “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger,” and “Everything will be okay in the end, and if it’s not okay, then it’s not the end.” This also explains the Lord’s prayer, “Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven…” which coincides with Hermes Trismegistus laws and principles of hermeticism, “as above, so below, and as below, so above.” There is no coincidence which means that everything will happen as it should. Our prayers should be for the will of the all to be done, as it should be in all its fairness and correctness. To hang on to feelings about things that didn’t go the way we wanted is a waste of time and energy, as we know that things always happen as they should, and we should expect them to, as long as we act in a just, right, and dutiful manner daily.
8. “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.” Emotions are useless and change based on a variety of things. They swing us on this pendulum in life, and the only way to get over this conundrum is to understand fully #7 that we just covered. We live in a system built around the seven deadly sins, and not the virtues which are the polar opposite, so therefore, any system or morality will always be faulty and incorrect.
9. “Nothing is to be preferred before justice.” Definition of justice: Just behavior or treatment. Meaning equal treatment for everyone. Also meaning that everyone must be afforded the same privileges and opportunities so that they may indeed be judged with justice the same. If there is no equality, there can be no true justice.
Final Thought. “Let him that would move the world, first move himself.” Change starts with us. Inside. From inside the change moves outward. Any person who cannot change themselves, mainly their thought processes about the now versus the future possibilities that exist for us all, can never change anything. We are all our own self-fulfilling prophecies. A person who lives like there’s no tomorrow will indeed ensure that there is no tomorrow.
Next Week: Plato Stay tuned, feel free to comment, like and share. I love hearing from you!