175+ Best Plato Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Plato was an Athenian philosopher during the Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thought, and the Academy, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Profoundly inspirational Plato quotes will encourage growth in life, make you wiser and broaden your perspective.

If you’re searching for most important quotes by philosophers that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of quotes by Soren Kierkegaard, best Seneca quotes and greatest Schopenhauer quotes.

Famous Plato Quotes

Access to power must be confined to those who are not in love with it. – Plato

A tyrant… is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader. – Plato

Better to be unborn than untaught, for ignorance is the root of all misfortune. – Plato

A library of wisdom, is more precious than all wealth, and all things that are desirable cannot be compared to it. Whoever therefore claims to be zealous of truth, of happiness, of wisdom or knowledge, must become a lover of books. – Plato

No one is more hated than he who speaks the truth. – Plato

Man was not made for himself alone – Plato

Knowledge becomes evil if the aim be not virtuous. – Plato

Fly from the company of the wicked–fly and turn not back. – Plato

The first step in learning is the destruction of human conceit. – Plato

When man is not properly trained, he is the most savage animal on the face of the globe. – Plato

Love is the joy of the good, the wonder of the wise, the amazement of the gods; desired by those who have no part in him, and precious to those who have the better part in him. – Plato

There should exist among the citizens neither extreme poverty nor again excessive wealth, for both are productive of great evil. – Plato

Perfect wisdom has four parts: Wisdom, the principle of doing things aright. Justice, the principle of doing things equally in public and private. Fortitude, the principle of not fleeing danger, but meeting it. Temperance, the principle of subduing desires and living moderately. – Plato

Many men are loved by their enemies, and hated by their friends, and are the friends of their enemies, and the enemies of their friends. – Plato

He who is learning and learning and doesn’t apply what he knows is like the one who is plowing and plowing and doesn’t seed. – Plato

The seen is the changing, the unseen is the unchanging. – Plato

Man’s greatest victory is over oneself. – Plato

He who steals a little steals with the same wish as he who steals much, but with less power. – Plato

Enjoy life. There’s plenty of time to be dead. Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle. – Plato

Knowledge is the rediscovering of our own insight. – Plato

Grant that I may become beautiful in my soul within, and that all my external possessions may be in harmony with my inner self. May I consider the wise to be rich, and may I have such riches as only a person of self-restraint can bear or endure. – Plato

The one who learns and learns and doesn’t practice is like the one who plows and plows and never plants. – Plato

Avoid compulsion and let early education be a matter of amusement. Young children learn by games; compulsory education cannot remain in the soul. – Plato

Abstinence is the surety of temperance. – Plato

Anything worth knowing is already known and must be remembered and reclaimed by the soul. – Plato

Dictatorship naturally arises out of democracy, and the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme liberty. – Plato

If one has made a mistake, and fails to correct it, one has made a greater mistake. – Plato

The soul of man is immortal and imperishable. – Plato

Neither do the ignorant love wisdom or desire to become wise; for this is the grievous thing about ignorance, that those who are neither good nor beautiful think they are good enough, and do not desire that which they do not think they are lacking. – Plato

It is better to be wise, and not to seem so, than to seem wise, and not be so; yet men, for the most part, desire the contrary. – Plato

Music gives a soul to the universe. – Plato

For neither does wealth bring honour to the owner, if he be a coward; of such a one the wealth belongs to another, and not to himself. Nor does beauty and strength of body, when dwelling in a base and cowardly man, appear comely, but the reverse of comely, making the possessor more conspicuous, and manifesting forth his cowardice. – Plato

Music has the capacity to touch the innermost reaches of the soul and music gives flight to the imagination. – Plato

The music masters familiarize children’s minds with rhythms and melodies, thus making them more civilized, more balanced, better adjusted in themselves, and more capable in whatever they say or do, for rhythm and harmony are essential to the whole of life. – Plato

Nothing is more unworthy of a wise man, or ought to trouble him more, than to have allowed more time for trifling, and useless things, than they deserve. – Plato

Integrity is your destiny-it is the light that guides your way. – Plato

To suffer the penalty of too much haste, which is too little speed. – Plato

Wealth and poverty; one is the parent of luxury and indolence, and the other of meanness and viciousness, and both of discontent. – Plato

Nothing ever is, everything is becoming. – Plato

Each citizen should play his part in the community according to his individual gifts. – Plato

The democratic youth lives along day by day, gratifying the desire that occurs to him, at one time drinking and listening to the flute, at another downing water and reducing, now practicing gymnastic, and again idling and neglecting everything; and sometimes spending his time as though he were occupied in philosophy. – Plato

Do you, like a skilful weigher, put into the balance the pleasures and the pains, near and distant, and weigh them, and then say which outweighs the other? If you weigh pleasures against pleasures, you of course take the more and greater; or if you weigh pains against pains, then you choose that course of action in which the painful is exceeded by the pleasant, whether the distant by the near or the near by the distant; and you avoid that course of action in which the pleasant is exceeded by the painful. – Plato

When the mind’s eye rests on objects illuminated by truth and reality, it understands and comprehends them, and functions intelligently; but when it turns to the twilight world of change and decay, it can only form opinions, its vision is confused and its beliefs shifting, and it seems to lack intelligence. – Plato

You cannot go into the same water twice. – Plato

No law or ordinance is mightier than understanding. – Plato

I would fain grow old learning many things. – Plato

All men, well interrogated, answer well. – Plato

States will never be happy until rulers become philosophers or philosophers become rulers. – Plato

Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge. – Plato

Knowledge of the soul is the only universal truth and the only wisdom – all other knowledge is transient. – Plato

Education and admonition commence in the first years of childhood, and last to the very end of life. – Plato

Harmony sinks deep into the recesses of the soul and takes its strongest hold there, bringing grace also to the body & mind as well. Music is a moral law. It gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, and life to everything. It is the essence of order. – Plato

Maximize the power of the beliefs that strengthen you and neutralize those that weaken you. – Plato

Through obedience learn to command. – Plato

The State which we have founded must possess the four cardinal virtues of wisdom, courage, discipline and justice … Justice is the principle which has in fact been followed throughout, the principle of one man one job, of minding one s own business , in the sense of doing the job for which one is naturally fitted and not interfering with other people. – Plato

All knowledge is but remembrance. – Plato

Wonder is the beginning of the desire to know the beautiful and the good. – Plato

Education is teaching our children to desire the right things. – Plato

Money-makers are tiresome company, as they have no standard but cash value. – Plato

The worst of all deceptions is self-deception. – Plato

You get to know someone better by playing for an hour than by talking for a year. – Plato

The worst form of injustice is pretended justice. – Plato

No one is so cowardly that Love could not inspire him to heroism. – Plato

It gives me great pleasure to converse with the aged. They have been over the road that all of us must travel, and know where it is rough and difficult and where it is level and easy. – Plato

Don’t force your children into your ways, for they were created for a time different from your own. – Plato

Necessity, who is the mother of our invention. – Plato

Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet. – Plato

The wisest have the most authority. – Plato

Whatever deceives men seems to produce a magical enchantment. – Plato

Tyranny naturally arises out of democracy. – Plato

The highest form of pure thought is in mathematics. – Plato

To do wrong is the greatest of evils. – Plato

A house that has a library in it has a soul. – Plato

Excess generally causes reaction, and produces a change in the opposite direction, whether it be in the seasons, or in individuals, or in governments. – Plato

When a beautiful soul harmonizes with a beautiful form, and the two are cast in one mould, that will be the fairest of sights to him who has the eye to contemplate the vision. – Plato

To conquer oneself is the best and noblest victory; to be vanquished by one’s own nature is the worst and most ignoble defeat. – Plato

There’s a victory and defeat-the first and best of victories, the lowest and worst of defeats-which each man gains or sustains at the hands not of another, but of himself. – Plato

Pleasure is the greatest incentive to evil. – Plato

Life must be lived as play, playing certain games, making sacrifices, singing and dancing, and then a man will be able to propitiate the gods. – Plato

True opinions are a fine thing and do all sorts of good so long as they stay in their place; but they will not stay long. They run away from a man’s mind, so they are not worth much until you tether them by working out the reason. Once they are tied down, they become knowledge, and are stable. – Plato

To win over your bad self is the grandest and foremost of victories. – Plato

Man’s music is seen as a means of restoring the soul, as well as confused and discordant bodily afflictions, to the harmonic proportions that it shares with the world soul of the cosmos. – Plato

A wise ignorance is an essential part of knowledge. – Plato

The laws of democracy remain a dead letter, its freedom is anarchy, its equality the equality of unequals – Plato

No attempt should be made to cure the body without the soul – Plato

Beauty is a natural superiority. – Plato

Rhetoric is the art of ruling the minds of men. – Plato

Again, truth should be highly valued; if, as we were saying, a lie is useless to the gods, and useful only as a medicine to men, then the use of such medicines should be restricted to physicians; private individuals have no business with them. – Plato

The real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. – Plato

If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools. – Plato

Music is a defining element of character. – Plato

Knowledge is true opinion. – Plato

Happiness springs from doing good and helping others. – Plato

Are these things good for any other reason except that they end in pleasure, and get rid of and avert pain? Are you looking to any other standard but pleasure and pain when you call them good? – Plato

Wisdom always makes men fortunate: for by wisdom no man could ever err, and therefore he must act rightly and succeed, or his wisdom would be wisdom no longer. – Plato

Just as it would be madness to settle on medical treatment for the body of a person by taking an opinion poll of the neighbors, so it is irrational to prescribe for the body politic by polling the opinions of the people at large. – Plato

No evil can happen to a good man either in life or after death. – Plato

Of all the animals, the boy is the most unmanageable. – Plato

Man is a being in search of meaning. – Plato

If particulars are to have meaning, there must be universals. – Plato

Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on Simplicity. – Plato

Do not use compulsion, but let early education be rather a sort of amusement. – Plato

In things which we know, everyone will trust us … and we may do as we please, and no one will like to interfere with us; and we are free, and masters of others; and these things will be really ours, for we shall turn them to our good. – Plato

Any man may easily do harm, but not every man can do good to another. – Plato

Those who tell the stories rule society. – Plato

The power to learn is present in everyone’s soul, and the instrument with which each learns is like an eye that cannot be turned around from darkness to light without turning the whole body. – Plato

To prefer evil to good is not in human nature; and when a man is compelled to choose one of two evils, no one will choose the greater when he might have the less. – Plato

I fast for greater physical and mental efficiency – Plato

Misanthropy ariseth from a man trusting another without having sufficient knowledge of his character, and, thinking him to be truthful, sincere, and honourable, finds a little afterwards that he is wicked, faithless, and then he meets with another of the same character. When a man experiences this often, and more particularly from those whom he considered his most dear and best friends, at last, having frequently made a slip, he hates the whole world, and thinks that there is nothing sound at all in any of them. – Plato

The wrong use of a thing is far worse than the non-use. – Plato

No soul willfully does wrong. – Plato

The greatest privilege of a human life is to become a midwife to the awakening of the Soul in another person. – Plato

There is no harm in repeating a good thing. – Plato

Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue. – Plato

The blame is his who chooses: God is blameless. – Plato

Ignorance, the root and the stem of every evil. – Plato

Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance. – Plato

He who does not desire power is fit to hold it. – Plato

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? – Plato

Education in music is most sovereign because more than anything else rhythm and harmony find their way to the innermost soul and take strongest hold upon it – Plato

Just as bees make honey from thyme, the strongest and driest of herbs, so do the wise profit from the most difficult of experiences. – Plato

Only the dead have seen the end of war. – Plato

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. – Plato

The right question is usually more important than the right answer. – Plato

Democracy leads to anarchy, which is mob rule. – Plato

The Dance, of all the arts, is the one that most influences the soul. Dancing is divine in its nature and is the gift of God. – Plato

You should not honor men more than truth. – Plato

No man should bring children into the world who is unwilling to persevere to the end in their nature and education. – Plato

No man should be angry with what is true. – Plato

Reality is created by the mind, we can change our reality by changing our mind. – Plato

Virtue is voluntary, vice involuntary. – Plato

The rulers of the state are the only persons who ought to have the privilege of lying, either at home or abroad; they may be allowed to lie for the good of the state. – Plato

I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing. – Plato

Men of sound sense have Law for their god, but men without sense Pleasure. – Plato

And what, Socrates, is the food of the soul? Surely, I said, knowledge is the food of the soul. – Plato

No one can escape his destiny. – Plato

Those whose hearts are fixed on Reality itself deserve the title of Philosophers. – Plato

Kindness which is bestowed on the good is never lost. – Plato

A nation will prosper to the degree that it honors it’s teachers. – Plato

When I hear a man discoursing of virtue, or of any sort of wisdom, who is a true man and worthy of his theme, I am delighted beyond measure: and I compare the man and his words, and note the harmony and correspondence of them. And such an one I deem to be the true musician, having in himself a fairer harmony than that of the lyre. – Plato

Friends should have all things in common. – Plato

In order to seek one’s own direction, one must simplify the mechanics of ordinary, everyday life. – Plato

The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men. – Plato

No one knows whether death is really the greatest blessing a man can have, but they fear it is the greatest curse, as if they knew well. – Plato

Wonder is the feeling of the philosopher, and philosophy begins in wonder. – Plato

The greatest mistake physicians make is that they attempt to cure the body without attempting to cure the mind, yet the mind and the body are one and should not be treated separately! – Plato

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

Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow… even if that someone is yourself! – Plato

Be kind. Every person you meet is fighting a difficult battle. – Plato

To begin is the most important part of any quest and by far the most courageous. – Plato

I know nothing more worthy of a man’s ambition than that his son be the best of men. – Plato

For a man to conquer himself is the first and noblest of all victories… The first and greatest victory is to conquer yourself; to be conquered by yourself is of all things most shameful and vile. – Plato

The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being. – Plato

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. – Plato

What is honored in a country will be cultivated there. – Plato

Then may we not fairly plead in reply that our true lover of knowledge naturally strives for truth, and is not content with common opinion, but soars with undimmed and unwearied passion till he grasps the essential nature of things with the mental faculty fitted to do so, that is, with the faculty which is akin to reality, and which approaches and unites with it, and begets intelligence and truth as children, and is only released from travail when it has thus reached knowledge and true life and satisfaction? – Plato

Mankind will never see an end of trouble until lovers of wisdom come to hold political power, or the holders of power become lovers of wisdom – Plato

Our love for our children springs from the soul’s greatest yearning for immortality. – Plato

The cure of the part should not be attempted without treatment of the whole. No attempt should be made to cure the body without the soul. Let no one persuade you to cure the head until he has first given you his soul to be cured, for this is the great error of our day, that physicians first separate the soul from the body. – Plato

All thought begins with the recognition that something is out of place. – Plato

Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws. – Plato

Not only is the old man twice a child, but also the man who is drunk. – Plato

A wise man speaks because he has something to say; a fool because he has to say something. – Plato

The beginning is the most important part of any work, especially in the case of a young and tender thing; for that is the time at which the character is being formed and the desired impression is more readily taken. – Plato

Most people affirm pleasure to be the good, but the finer sort of wits say it is knowledge. – Plato

The philosopher is in love with truth, that is, not with the changing world of sensation, which is the object of opinion, but with the unchanging reality which is the object of knowledge. – Plato

A man’s duty is to find out where the truth is, or if he cannot, at least to take the best possible human doctrine and the hardest to disprove, and to ride on this like a raft over the waters of life. – Plato

A good decision is based on knowledge, and not on numbers. – Plato

Democracy passes into despotism. – Plato

Wisest is he who knows what he does not know. – Plato

The only real ill-doing is the deprivation of knowledge. – Plato

Seek truth while you are young, for if you do not, it will later escape your grasp – Plato

Knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind. – Plato

The judge should not be young, he should have learned to know evil, not from his own soul, but from late and long observation of the nature of evil in others. – Plato

The soul of him who has education is whole and perfect and escapes the worst disease, but, if a man’s education be neglected, he walks lamely through life and returns good for nothing to the world below. – Plato

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