Plato (429--347 BC), the Greek philosopher, is known as one of the greatest and most influential philosophers of the ancient world. The academy he founded, one of the first Western schools to offer higher learning, helped shape how we structure schools and universities today. Besides philosophy, he taught mathematics, political theory, science, and it’s theorized he also taught metaphysics, considering he wrote extensively on the topic.

What is less known about Plato is that he believed in reincarnation and the soul is eternal. He also believed the lost continent of Atlantis existed thousands of years before, then disappeared in one day due to catastrophic forces.

Below we list select words of wisdom by Plato.

Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.”

“A grateful mind is a great mind which eventually attracts to itself great things.”

“Everything changes and nothing remains still.”

“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.”

“Atheism is a disease of the soul before it becomes an error of understanding.”

“People too smart to get involved in politics are doomed to live in societies run by people who aren't.”

“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.”

“Necessity is literally the mother of invention.”

“The highest form of pure thought is in mathematics.”

“Geometry will draw the soul toward truth and create the spirit of philosophy.”

“Geometry existed before creation.”

“Numbers are the highest degree of knowledge. It is knowledge itself.”

“Either death is a state of nothingness and utter consciousness, or, as men say, there is a change and migration of the soul from this world to another. Now if death be of such a nature, I say that to die is to gain; for eternity is then only a single night.”

“Vision, in my view, is the cause of the greatest benefit to us, inasmuch as none of the accounts now given concerning the Universe would ever have been given if men had not seen the stars or the sun or the heavens. But as it is, the vision of day and night and of months and circling years has created the art of number and has given us not only the notion of Time but also means of research into the nature of the Universe. From these we have procured Philosophy in all its range, than which no greater boon ever has come or will come, by divine bestowal, unto the race of mortals.”

“If particulars are to have meaning, there must be universals.”

“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.”

“Let praise be given equally to women as well as men who have been distinguished in virtue.”

“Knowledge of the soul is the only universal truth and the only wisdom - all other knowledge is transient.”

“I know not how I may seem to others, but to myself I am but a small child wandering upon the vast shores of knowledge, every now and then finding a small bright pebble to content myself with.”

“There should be no element of slavery in learning. Enforced exercise does no harm to the body, but enforced learning will not stay in the mind. So avoid compulsion, and let your children's lessons take the form of play.”

“Don't force your children into your ways, for they were created for a time different from your own.”

“The first step in learning is the destruction of human conceit.”

“The essence of knowledge is self-knowledge.”

“And is there anything more closely connected with wisdom than truth?”

“No one can escape his destiny.”

“Be kind. Every person you meet is fighting a difficult battle.”

Copyright © Scott Petullo, Stephen Petullo

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