If Plato Tweeted

© Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons

Amaze-ing Words Wednesday is about getting into the labyrinth of language and exploring anything and everything related to words. One of the lovely things about language is how people can string together words in a memorable way to communicate concepts and wisdom.

Thus my “If ___ Tweeted” posts–which have so far included If Twain Tweeted and If Churchill Tweeted.* Plenty of famous quotes fall under the 140 characters allowed by Twitter but still pack a punch. Today’s offering is from Plato, that ancient Greek dude who spouted a lot of wisdom way back when.

I tried reading Plato’s Republic back in college when I was breezing right through Anna Karenina, Don Quixote, all of my history textbooks, etc. I admit to wimping out halfway through Plato. I will spare you trying to actually read Plato. Impress your friends and family by citing one or more of the following “tweets” from the genius.

1. All the gold which is under or upon the earth is not enough to give in exchange for virtue.

2. At the touch of love, everyone becomes a poet.

3. Better a little which is well done, than a great deal imperfectly.

4. Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others.

5. He was a wise man who invented beer.

6. He who commits injustice is ever made more wretched than he who suffers it.

7. I never did anything worth doing by accident, nor did any of my inventions come by accident; they came by work.

8. If a man neglects education, he walks lame to the end of his life.

9. Justice in the life and conduct of the State is possible only as first it resides in the hearts and souls of the citizens.

10. Life must be lived as play.

11. Love is a serious mental disease.

12. Man is a being in search of meaning.

13. Necessity… the mother of invention.

14. No man should bring children into the world who is unwilling to persevere to the end in their nature and education.

15. One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.

16. People are like dirt. They can either nourish you and help you grow as a person or they can stunt your growth and make you wilt and die.

17. Philosophy begins in wonder.

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

19. The beginning is the most important part of any work.

20. The measure of a man is what he does with power.

21. Thinking: the talking of the soul with itself.

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

Did you have a favorite? Have you read Plato’s works? What do you think of his wisdom?

Sources: Brainy Quote; Proverbia.net; The Online Library of Liberty

*Author Lydia Sharp first inspired my If Twain Tweeted post with her comment that “I think it’s safe to assume that, were he alive today, Mark Twain would have had
one of the best inspirational/motivational blogs for writers ever in existence.
He’d also be crazy popular on Twitter with all his quick wit and humor.”

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21 thoughts on “If Plato Tweeted

  1. I’ve never read Plato. Heck, I couldn’t even read Thoreau. I told my professor Thoreau was serious about the magic mushrooms he found in those woods.

    My favorite of the tweets was “People are like dirt. They can either nourish you and help you grow as a person or they can stunt your growth and make you wilt and die.”

    That’s got a lot of truth it.

  2. Number 14 is one of my favorites. I can only imagine Plato with his smart phone and tablet tweaking his tweets so he can squeeze in a few hash tags.

    No man should bring children into the world who is unwilling to persevere to the end in their nature and education. #parenting #mywana #kids

    Just fits!
    What’s amazing is that people still quote or paraphrase him without realizing it.

  3. I must have read something by him in high school or college but I don’t recall.
    I liked: “Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others.”
    That’s a great one. I didn’t know all of these were his. Geez. I’m impressed.

  4. I’ve never even tried to read Plato. Never thought of trying either.
    I like a lot of those tweets, it’s hard to make a choice. I really like:
    7. I never did anything worth doing by accident, nor did any of my inventions come by accident; they came by work.
    12. Man is a being in search of meaning.
    14. No man should bring children into the world who is unwilling to persevere to the end in their nature and education.
    20. The measure of a man is what he does with power.

    1. The one about inventions coming through work struck me too. Sometimes we think people are just lucky when really they busted their butt to achieve what they have. It’s also a reminder for us to keep at it. Thanks, Donna!

  5. I couldn’t help but notice that #3 goes against every bit of advice for writing an original draft. Forget writing a small amount well… get the whole thing down imperfectly, and fix it later!

    If I had to pick a favorite, it would be:

    10. Life must be lived as play. If only I could remember this, well… ever.

    1. I thought of that too, Mike with “Better a little which is well done, than a great deal imperfectly”! My personal favorite Plato quote to apply to writing, however, is “The beginning is the most important part of any work.” You gotta get crackin’ to have anything to show at all! Thanks, and enjoy that life/play!

  6. I think I read Plato for a philosophy class back in the day. It was that profound that I remember it so much. *sarcasm* Anyway, I really liked the last Platonian Tweet. That’s the way we should live even if people aren’t speaking ill of us. 😀

  7. I read Plato in undergrad, but it’s been so long I cannot recall the contents. As for his “tweets,” I appreciate #3, #5, and #15. I especially like #10, and attempt to live as such. “Life is to be lived as play.” Thanks for sharing, Julie.

    1. Wasn’t the beer quote a bit of a surprise with all of the other deep thoughts? LOL. Suddenly, I thought that Plato should be quoted in bars all over! Thanks, Jolyse.

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