The Memorable Thoughts of Socrates eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 214 pages of information about The Memorable Thoughts of Socrates.
and authority, and that you should not have assurance enough to speak to fools?  Are you afraid to present yourself before dyers, shoemakers, masons, smiths, labourers, and brokers? for of such are composed the popular assemblies.  This is the same thing as to be the most expert in a fencing-school, and to fear the thrust of an unskilful person who never handled a foil.  Thus you, though you speak boldly in the presence of the chief men of the Republic, among whom there might perhaps be found some who would despise you, dare not, nevertheless, speak in the presence of an illiterate multitude, who know nothing of the affairs of state, and who are not capable of despising you, and you fear to be laughed at by them.”  “Do they not usually,” said Charmidas, “laugh at those who speak best?” “So likewise,” said Socrates, “do the men of quality with whom you converse every day; and I am surprised that you have eloquence and persuasive sense sufficient to bring these to reason, and that you think not yourself capable even to approach the others.  Learn to know yourself better, Charmidas, and take care not to fall into a fault that is almost general; for all men inquire curiously enough into the affairs of others, but they never enter into their own bosoms to examine themselves as they ought.

“Be no longer, then, thus negligent in this matter, consider yourself with more attention, and let not slip the occasions of serving the Republic, and of rendering it, if possible, more flourishing than it is.  This will be a blessing, whose influence will descend not only on the other citizens, but on your best friends and yourself.”


One day Aristippus proposed a captious question to Socrates, meaning to surprise him; and this by way of revenge, for his having before put him to a stand:  but Socrates answered him warily, and as a person who has no other design in his conversations than the improvement of his hearers.

The question which Aristippus asked him was whether he knew in the world any good thing, and if Socrates had answered him that meat, or drink, or riches, or health, or strength, or courage are good things, he would forthwith have shown him that it may happen that they are very bad.  He therefore gave him such an answer as he ought; and because he knew very well that when we feel any indisposition we earnestly desire to find a remedy for it, he said to him:  “Do you ask me, for example, whether I know anything that is good for a fever?” “No,” said Aristippus.  “Or for sore eyes?” said Socrates.  “Neither.”  “Do you mean anything that is good against hunger?” “Not in the least,” answered Aristippus.  “I promise you,” said Socrates, “that if you ask me for a good thing that is good for nothing, I know no such thing, nor have anything to do with it.”

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The Memorable Thoughts of Socrates from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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