The Virtue of Wisdom

atkins bookshelf quotations“Men of Athens, I am grateful and I am your friend, but I will obey the god rather than you, and as long as I draw breath and am able, I shall not cease to practice philosophy, to exhort you and in my usual way to point out to any one of you whom I happen to meet: Good Sir, you are an Athenian, a citizen of the greatest city with the greatest reputation for both wisdom and power; are you not ashamed of your eagerness to possess as much wealth, reputation, and honors as possible, while you do not care for nor give thought to wisdom or truth, or the best possible state of your soul?”

From The Apology by Plato, recounting Socrates’ speech at his trial (399 BC), defending himself against charges of corrupting Athenian youth and not believing in the gods recognized by the state.

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