Quotes by and about Plato
(Continued from his main entry on the site.)
Plato: "Don't force your children into your ways, for they were created for a time different from your own."
Plato: "It behooves those who take the young to task to leave them room for excuse, lest they drive them to be hardened by too much rebuke."
Plato: "It is beautiful [to wish to] add another's light to your own."
Plato: "Good people don't need laws to tell them to act responsibly."
Plato: "When you admonish a wrongdoer, do so gently, that it may not lead to hostility."
Plato: "[One should turn] towards the main ocean of the-beautiful-in-the-world [so that one] may by, contemplation of this Form, bring forth in all their splendor many fair fruits of discourse and meditation in a plenteous crop of philosophy."
[Walking past Aristotle's house:]
Plato: "Ah, the reading shop!"
Aristotle: "To Plato, only The One is real."
Drew A. Hyland: "In Socrates' relentless pursuit of knowledge he may fail to love humans sufficiently. ... This is [Plato's] criticism of Socrates - that he does not love humans enough."
Friedrich Nietzsche: "There is nothing that has caused me to meditate more on Plato's secrecy and sphinx-like nature, than the happily preserved petit fait that under the pillow of his death-bed there was found no 'Bible,' nor anything Egyptian, Pythagorean, or Platonic - but a book of Aristophanes. How could even Plato have endured life - a Greek life which he repudiated - without an Aristophanes!"
Felix Williams: "Plato made his pupils keep silence because [to him] silence itself is speaking."
Felix Williams: "Modern Western scholars, believing Plato to be like them (i.e. a Cartesian), construe him as a rationalist and ignore the mystical element in his writing that is so plainly there."
Plato: "The soul should concentrate itself by itself."
Thomas McEvilly: "[Plato] feels that ethical abstinences and austerities are essential preconditions for the cleansing and opening of the eye of the soul."
Thomas McEvilly: "In the Republic Plato presents a theory of personality. ... He speaks of three faculties, the appetitive, the ambitious, and the rational. ... The most dangerous faculty [according to Plato] is the appetitive for it bonds the soul to the senses and the realm of sense objects."
Jung: "The Platonic world of ideas [corresponds to] Thinking and Sensation on the mystical level."
Thomas McEvilly: "Many modern scholars have found the asceticism expressed in [Plato] unacceptable; it does not sound like the advice of a reasonable man in the Cartesian tradition."
Thomas McEvilly: "[To Plato] the desire for excessive and special foods ... is a hindrance to the soul's attainment of intelligence."
Felix Williams: "[To Plato] the good man is expected to occupy himself with the service of others."
Thomas McEvilly: "[To Plato there are three levels of reality:] Sense perceptions belong to the lowest; next, reason infers the existence of the Ideas; finally, a mystical or unitive cognition corresponds to the highest realm."
Thomas McEvilly: "It would surely make sense of many parts of [Plato's] dialogues to acknowledge that Plato seems often to be referring to [his] highest level of [intuitive] consciousness while being ... slightly coy about just exactly what he means."
Thomas McEvilly: "[Plato] rarely if ever states anything about himself clearly."
Thomas McEvilly: "It is ... possible to read [Plato] as if he were only discussing [reason] and not mystical intuition [in his writings] but ... in that case he seems naively over-impressed by rather ordinary thought processes."
Plato: "True being [is] without color of shape."
Plato: "Wisdom is a blaze, kindled by a leaping spark."
Jung: "[Plato's] world of ideas is beautiful."
Friedrich Nietzsche: "Christianity is Platonism for the people."
Friedrich Nietzsche: "The charm of the Platonic mode of thought ... consisted precisely in the resistance to the obvious evidence of the senses."
A.N. Whitehead: "The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato."
John Palmer: "Plato's own writings might be said to consist of footnotes to Parmenides."
Karl Popper: "Plato felt that a complete reconstruction of [society's political] program was needed."
Karl Popper: "[With regards to political enemies] Plato [had a] kill-and-banish principle. ... In interpreting [it], modern-day Platonists are clearly disturbed [by it, even as they make] elaborate attempts to defend Plato."
Plato: "The race of the guardians must be kept pure."
Walter Kaufmann: "Plato insisted that reason can take us only so far, and that the last step to knowledge and insight has to be a vision."