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This page last updated on 7/3/22.

Aristotle Diogenes Epictetus Heraclitus Plato Plotinus Pythagoras Socrates

The Greeks understood the mysterious power of the hidden side of things. They bequeathed to us one of the most beautiful words in our language—the word ‘enthusiasm’ — en theos — a god within. The grandeur of human actions is measured by the inspiration from which they spring. Happy is he who bears a god within, and who obeys it.
~ Louis Pasteur



Behold! I've brought you a man!

The art of being a slave is to rule one's master.

I threw my cup away when I saw a child drinking from his hands at the trough.

Why not whip the teacher when the pupil misbehaves?

No man is hurt but by himself.

Stand a little less between me and the sun.

The sun, too, shines into cesspools and is not polluted.

I have nothing to ask but that you would remove to the other side, that you may not, by intercepting the sunshine, take from me what you cannot give.

Those who have virtue always in their mouths, and neglect it in practice, are like a harp, which emits a sound pleasing to others, while itself is insensible of the music.

Blushing is the color of virtue.

I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world.

In a rich man's house there is no place to spit but his face.

The vine bears three kinds of grapes: the first of pleasure, the second of intoxication, the third of disgust.

What I like to drink most is wine that belongs to others.

Of what use is a philosopher who doesn't hurt anybody's feelings?

Most men are within a finger's breadth of being mad.

There is only a finger's difference between a wise man and a fool.

The mob is the mother of tyrants.

As a matter of self-preservation, a man needs good friends or ardent enemies, for the former instruct him and the latter take him to task.

I am called a dog because I fawn on those who give me anything, I yelp at those who refuse, and I set my teeth in rascals.

I do not know whether there are gods, but there ought to be.

It is the privilege of the gods to want nothing, and of godlike men to want little.

It takes a wise man to discover a wise man.

The only way to gall and fret effectively is for yourself to be a good and honest man.

Alexander the Great found the philosopher looking attentively at a pile of human bones. Diogenes explained: I am searching for the bones of your father but cannot distinguish them from those of a slave.

When someone reminded him that the people of Sinope had sentenced him to exile, he said: And I sentenced them to stay at home.

Once he saw the officials of a temple leading away some one who had stolen a bowl belonging to the treasurers, and said: The great thieves are leading away the little thief.

When people laughed at him because he walked backward beneath the portico, he said to them: Aren't you ashamed, you who walk backward along the whole path of existence, and blame me for walking backward along the path of the promenade?

Epictetus, The Enchiridion

Remember that you are an actor in a play of such a kind as the playwright may choose. If your part is short, it is short; if long, it is long. If the playwright wishes you to act the part of a beggar, see that you act the part naturally; if the part of one who limps, or of a magistrate, of a private person, play it. To select the part belongs to another. But your duty is to act well the part that is given to you.


For those who are awake the cosmos is one.

Change alone is unchanging. There is nothing permanent except change.

I see nothing but Becoming. Be not deceived! It is the fault of your limited outlook and not the fault of the essence of things if you believe that you see firm land anywhere in the ocean of Becoming and Passing. You need names for things, just as if they had a rigid permanence, but the very river in which you bathe a second time is no longer the same one which you entered before.

It is in changing that we find purpose.

The sun is new each day.

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.

Character is destiny.

Much learning does not teach understanding.

It is hard to contend against one's heart's desire; for whatever it wishes to have it buys at the cost of soul.

The hidden harmony is better than the obvious.

Opposition brings concord. Out of discord comes the fairest harmony.

Even sleepers are workers and collaborators in what goes on in the Universe.

The way up and the way down are one and the same.

To do the same thing over and over again is not only boredom: it is to be controlled by rather than to control what you do.

The chain of wedlock is so heavy that it takes two to carry it - and sometimes three.

Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play.

Hide our ignorance as we will, an evening of wine soon reveals it.

The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts. Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the light of day. The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you do is who you become. Your integrity is your destiny - it is the light that guides your way.

How can you hide from what never goes away?

Thinking is a sacred disease and sight is deceptive.

What was scattered gathers. What was gathered blows away

Out of every one hundred men, ten shouldn't even be there, eighty are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back.

No one that encounters prosperity does not also encounter danger.

Time is a game played beautifully by children.

The awake share a common world, but the asleep turn aside into private worlds.


The beginning is the most important part of the work.

He who is not a good servant will not be a good master.

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

There is truth in wine and children.

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.

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.

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

Education is teaching our children to desire the right things.

There are three classes of men; lovers of wisdom, lovers of honor, and lovers of gain.

Courage is knowing what not to fear.

There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot.

Necessity is the mother of invention.

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.

You should not honor men more than truth.

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

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?

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

The madness of love is the greatest of heaven's blessings.

Love is a serious mental disease.

Those who tell the stories rule society.

Ignorance, the root and stem of every evil.

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

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

Only the dead have seen the end of war.

The heaviest penalty for declining to rule is to be ruled by someone inferior to yourself.

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

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.

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

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.

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

Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.

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

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


God is not external to anyone, but is present with all things, though they are ignorant that he is so.

The stars are like letters which inscribe themselves at every moment in the sky. Everything in the world is full of signs. All events are coordinated. All things depend on each other; as has been said: Everything breathes together..
~ Plotinus CE 204/5–270



If you don’t get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don’t want, you suffer; even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can’t hold on to it forever. Your mind is your predicament. It wants to be free of change. Free of pain, free of the obligations of life and death. But change is law and no amount of pretending will alter that reality.

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