“Beauty is truth, truth beauty — that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”
–John Keats, from ODE ON A GRECIAN URN
On this day in February, 399 BC (according to onthisday.com) occurred the fateful trial of the famed Grecian philosopher Socrates, of whom it is said that he didn’t put anything in writing during his lifetime — or even afterward, for that matter. This might lead one to think he was either paranoid or illiterate. By all odes, however, he was neither — otherwise his life/trial/death-by-hemlock would have earned him no esteem….and in theory, the following quotes attributed to Socrates might have been not only recorded by, but credited to, Plato (as well as others Greek to me):
Wisdom begins in wonder.
The unexamined life is not worth living.
To find yourself, think for yourself.
By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.
I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world.
But why should Plato and a few of his fellow G(r)eeks get all the credit for handing down what Socrates supposedly said? I may not be quite as ancient as they, but I go back far enough to be able to confide with the utmost confidence that Socrates never denied saying the following:
Wisdom begins in wonder….and ends the same way.
There’s no fool like an old fool. (On the other hand, some of us “old fools” prefer to think of ourselves as misanthropically eccentric seniors.)
It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness. (Or, you could just pay your electric bill on time.)
My wife would talk to a wooden Indian. (That’s why I keep a wooden Indian around the house.)
All’s well that ends well. (Well, I don’t know about that….but I suppose if it was good enough for the doomed Socrates, it’s good enough for the likes of Shakespeare and mistermuse.)