9 Philosopher's Quotes That Still Ring True Today

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Back in high school and college, a lot of what we were taught about ancient philosophers went over our heads — in one ear and out the other or long since forgotten. So much of the philosophies we covered at that time seemed dense, overly-dramatic or generally inapplicable to our young, less complicated lives. During my last move, I thought about trashing or donating all of my school books — instead, I took them all with me. While most of my school books once seemed like cumbersome weights and pain-in-the-ass obstacles between me and freedom, they now seemed like surprising little gifts of knowledge I couldn't wait to unfold.

In an effort to make up for all of the time in I spent in school napping, passing notes, drawing cartoon puppies, and chewing pen caps, I decided to spend some time rereading the books we were once required to read — for pleasure, because this time, I would be doing it by choice. Just knowing that I could stop at anytime and there wouldn't be a comprehension test or symbolism pop quiz gave me so much ease and left so much room for enjoyment. I didn't have to spend too much time thinking about what I was supposed to feel after reading. Instead, I could just follow my own lead or let the book take me where it wanted.

Included on my list of "Books I Read But Don't Remember" were a few introductions to philosophy featuring the Aristotle, Heraclitus, Plato, Nietzsche, and Pericles. Ancient scholars and Greek philosophers aren't honored with statues and textbooks for no reason. Their words transcended their time and while the language might not always feel seamless to us Netspeak millennials, the sentiment these philosophers preach are just as applicable to today's society as they were thousands of years ago. Below are a few of my favorite quotes, uttered thousands of year ago and holding just as much truth and weight today:

How To Be Great

“We are what we repeatedly do. Greatness then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

What Love Is

"Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies." – Aristotle

The Mad Ones

"There was never a genius without a tincture of madness." – Aristotle


"You cannot step into the same river twice." – Heraclitus

Think Before You Speak

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

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation." – Plato

You Only Live Once

"In heaven, all the interesting people are missing." – Nietzsche

We Laugh And We Cry

"Perhaps I know best why it is man alone who laughs; he alone suffers so deeply that he had to invent laughter." – Nietzsche

Time Will Tell

“Time is the wisest counselor of all.” - Pericles

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