The Great Greeks

Gossip and Socrates …

Posted on November 1, 2012. Filed under: Guide Posts, Personal Magnetism, Personalities, Searching for Success, The Great Greeks, Weekly Goals |

Gossip is some thing the whole world loves. But being called or described as a gossip monger is something we all loathe. So how do the sensible get out of this horrible. but lovable  past time?

.Here is the story of how the great Socrates suggested it be shunned. He suggested what is described as the Triple Filter Test . So when some one ran to him to tell him what he had just heard about Diogenes, Socrates asked him to first check whether what he was going to tell him, would pass the Triple Filter Test?
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First Filter -Has one made absolutely sure that what one is about to tell is true? This is a Filter of Truthfulness .
.Second Filter – Is what is a about to be told any good? This is a Filter of Goodness.
.Third Filter – Is what is about to be told of any use? This is the filter of Utility.
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So maybe if we could pause to make these small checks, we could end up eliminating our tendency to gossip!

 

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Ponder Aristotle …

Posted on November 5, 2009. Filed under: Guide Posts, The Great Greeks |

Aristotle was a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. He wrote on many subjects and together with Plato, and Socrates comprises the Philosopher Trio.  Aristotle’s  influence extended well into the Renaissance.   His works contain the earliest known formal study of logic. He also had a profound influence on philosophical and theological thinking in the Islamic and Jewish traditions and continues to influence Christian theology. Cicero described his literary style as “a river of gold”. Here follow extracts from his work.

I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self.

Courage is the first of the human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all the others.

Character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion. Personal beauty is a greater recommendation than any letter of reference.

Well begun, is half done. What lies in our power to do, lies in our power not to do.

Thou will find rest from vain fancies if thou do’est every act in life as though it were thy last.

All bad precedents spring  from good  beginnings. Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit.

Dignity exists not in possessing honors, but in the consciousness that we deserve them. The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstance.

The aim of the wise in not to secure pleasure, but to avoid pain. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted right.

The greatest virtues are those which are most useful to others.

Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity. It is the best provision for old age.

All paid jobs absorbe and degrade the mind. Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.  The end of labor is liesure.

I have gained this form philosophy –  I do without being commanded what others do only from the fear of the law.

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

The soul never thinks without a picture. In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous. Nature does nothing in vain. If one way be better than another, than you  may be sure it is natures way.

The whole is more than the sum of its parts.

It  is best to rise from life as from a banquet, neither thirsty nor too drunken.

Bring your desires down to your present means. Increase them only when your increased means permit.

In nine cases out of ten, a woman had better show more affection than she feels.

The Gods too are fond of a joke.

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Plutarch … the Provincial Moralist …

Posted on March 25, 2009. Filed under: Books, Guide Posts, Personalities, The Great Greeks |

Plutarch was possibly the greatest biographer ever and is famed for his ‘‘Parallel Lives’, which cover Greeks and Romans arranged to illuminate their common moral virtues or failings. He was not concerned with writing histories but in exploring the influence of character — good or bad — on the lives and destinies of famous men; like Pericles, Demosthenes, Alexander, Pyrrhus, Pompey, Mark Antony, Brutus, Julius Caesar, and Cicero. Here follow some of his nuggets.

The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.

Character is simply habit long continued.

Passion for fame, a passion which is the instinct of all great souls.

I would rather excel in the knowledge of what is excellent, than in the extent of my power and possessions.

If I were not Alexander, I would be Diogenes. 

To be ignorant of the lives of the most celebrated men of antiquity is to continue in a state of childhood all our days.

In words are seen the state of mind and character and disposition of the speaker.
Know how to listen, and you will profit even from those who talk badly.

Silence at the proper season is wisdom; and better than any speech.

All men whilst they are awake are in one common world: but each of them, when he is asleep, is in a world of his own.

Nothing is harder to direct than a man in prosperity; nothing more easily managed than one in adversity.

Plato admits four types of flattery; Cleopatra had a thousand.

A Roman divorced from his wife, being highly blamed by his friends, who demanded “Was she not chaste? Was she not fair? Was she not fruitful?”
Holding out his shoe, he asked them whether it was not new and well made?
“Yet,” added he, “none of you can tell where it pinches me?

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Health and Hippocrates …

Posted on December 21, 2008. Filed under: Guide Posts, Personalities, Quotes, The Great Greeks |

Hippocrates was a Greek physician during the Age of Pericles. An outstanding figure, who is called the “father of medicine,” he revolutionized medicine smf establishrf it as a discipline and advanced the systematic study of clinical diagnosis,.The ‘Hippocratic Oath,’ which codifies his value system, is followed to this day. Here are his dictums.

Walking is man’s best medicine. If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too much and not too little, we would have found the safest way to health.

 A wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings and learn how, by his own thought, to derive benefit from his illnesses. Everything in excess is opposed to nature.

 

Healing is a matter of time but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity. Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease. Prayer is indeed good, but while calling on the Gods, a man should himself lend a hand.

 

Extreme remedies are very appropriate for extreme diseases. To do nothing is also a good remedy. It is more important to know what sort of person has a disease than to know what sort of disease a person has.

 

Life is short, the art long; opportunity fleeting, experience treacherous, judgement difficult. Many admiire, few know. Science is the father of knowledge but opinion breeds ignorance..

 

Make a habit of two things – to help or at least not to harm.. Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.

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Heraclitus was a Pre Socratic Greek …

Posted on December 1, 2008. Filed under: Guide Posts, Quotes, The Great Greeks |

Heraclitus was a pre Socratic Greek philosopher known for his doctrine of change being central to the Universe.  Famed for being vague and for talking in riddles, he was called the weeping philosopher because another was called the laughing philosopher. They both agreed that the most repeated prayer is for riches.

Big results require big ambitions and a man’s character is his fate.

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The best people renounce all for one goal, the eternal fame of mortals; but most people stuff themselves like cattle.

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Our envy always lasts longer than the happiness of those we envy.

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It is hard to contend against one’s heart’s desire; for whatever it wishes to have it buys at the cost of soul.

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If you do not expect the unexpected, you will not find it but the unexpected will find you. It cannot to be found by logic or toil.

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Much learning does not teach understanding – I am what libraries have made me with little assisstance from a professor.

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Change alone is unchanging. God is day and night, winter and summer, war and peace, surfeit and hunger.

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The chain of wedlock is heavy and it takes two to carry it — and sometimes three!

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Euripides … Another Greek …

Posted on November 17, 2007. Filed under: The Great Greeks |

Euripides was the last of the great tragedians of classical Athens. He is known primarily for showing strong women characters and intelligent slaves and for satirizing many heroes of Greek mythology. One of his most famous quotes is, “Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad”. Here are some more.

 

Silver and gold are not the only coin; virtue too passes current all over the world. Wealth stays with us a little moment if at all; only our characters are steadfast.

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When a mans stomach is full it makes no difference whether he is rich or poor. A rich man is nothing but a poor man who has money.

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Events will take their course, it is no use being angry at them; he is happiest who wisely turns them to the best account.

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Silence is true wisdom’s best reply. Among mortals, second thoughts are wise. The good and wise lead quiet lives Forgive, son, men are men; they needs must err.

 

Down on your knees and die fasting, for a good man’s love.  Its not beauty but fine qualities, my girl, that keep a husband.

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Diogenes – who asked Alexander to step aside …

Posted on October 22, 2007. Filed under: Personalities, The Great Greeks |

Diogenes “the Cynic” whose teacher had been present at Socrates death, as a beggar who made his home in the streets of Athens and made a virtue of extreme poverty. He taught contempt for human achievements and debunked social values and institutions. When asked by Alexander, whose shadow fell upon Diogenes, as to what he could give him, Diogenes replied –

“I ask nothing but that you stand to one side, so that the sun may shine upon me”.

For self preservation, a man needs both good friends as well as strong enemies. Because friends sustain you and enemies keep you on your toes.

When I look upon men who labour, including men of science and philosophers, it seems to me that man is the noblest of all beings.
But when I look upon priests and prophets, then I think there is nothing so contemptible as man.

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Socrates …

Posted on October 10, 2007. Filed under: The Great Greeks |

 Socrates was a classical philosopher, best known for Socratic irony and the Socratic Method. He exerted a powerful influence upon the founders of Western philosophy, most particularly Plato and Aristotle, and while Socrates’ principal contribution to philosophy is in the field of ethics, he also made important and lasting contributions to the fields of logic.

As for me, I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is – I know nothing!.

Our prayers should be for blessings in general, for God knows best what is good for us. He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature. Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for.

One who is injured ought not to return the injury, for on no account can it be right to do an injustice; and it is not right to return an injury or to do evil to any man, however much we have suffered from him. Great men are always of a nature originally melancholy.

Beauty is a short lived tyranny. By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you will be happy. If you get a bad one, you will become a philosopher and that is a good thing for any man.

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Plato’s Thought …

Posted on July 24, 2007. Filed under: Guide Posts, Personalities, Quotes, The Great Greeks |

Plato together with his teacher, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, helped lay the philosophical foundations of Western culture. Plato was mathematician, writer of philosophical dialogues and founder of the Academy in Athens – the first institution of higher learning in the western world. A student of Socrates, he was much influenced by his thinking and by his teacher’s unjust death. Plato’s brilliance as a writer and thinker can be witnessed by his Socratic dialogues. George Santayana, the American philosopher, opines — “All thought is but a footnote to Plato!”. Here is the Great Man himself. 

Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle. Nothing in the affairs of men is worthy of great anxiety. The first and greatest victory is to conquer yourself; to be conquered by yourself, is of all things most shameful and vile.

All men are by nature equal, made all of the same earth by one workman; and however we deceive ourselves, as Dear unto God is the poor peasant as the mighty prince. Man – a being in search of meaning. There are three classes of men; lovers of wisdom, lovers of honor, lovers of gain. Human behaviour flows from; desire, emotion and knowledge. The measure of a man is what he does with power.

The greatest wealth is to live content with little. To love rightly is to love what is orderly and beautiful in an educated and disciplined way. The man who has adopted the best plan for living happily, depends upon himself and not upon other men. This is the man of moderation, the man of manly character and wisdom. There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot. When men speak ill of thee, live so as nobody may believe them.

You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. A hero is born among a hundred; a wise man is found among a thousand, but an accomplished man might not be found even among a hundred thousand men. Apply yourself both now and in the next life. Without effort you cannot be prosperous. Though the land be good, you cannot have an abundant crop without cultivation. The beginning is the most important part of the work.

The wisest have the most authority. Rhetoric is the art of ruling the minds of men. One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.  

The excessive increase of anything causes a reaction in the opposite direction. Attention to health is lifes greatest hindrance. Only the dead have seen the end of war.


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Epictetus …

Posted on June 25, 2007. Filed under: The Great Greeks |

Epictetus was a philosopher of the Stoic school. Probably born a slave, he lived in Rome until his exile to Greece, where he lived and died.

God has entrusted me with myself……  No man is free who is not master of himself. The two powers which constitute a wise man, are those of bearing and forbearing.

The essence of philosophy is that a man should so live that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things. It is the nature of the wise to resist pleasures, but the foolish to be a slave to them.

Freedom is not procured by a full enjoyment of what is desired, but by controlling the desire. It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. Whoever does not regard what he has as most ample wealth, is unhappy, though he be master of the world.

When you are offended at any man’s fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings, then you will forget your anger.  Whenever you are angry, be assured that it is not only a present evil, but that you have increased a habit.

The time when you should withdraw into yourself is when you are forced to be in a crowd. We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.

The greater the difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it. Skilled pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests.

 

Be careful to leave your sons well instructed rather than rich, for the hopes of the instructed are better than the wealth of the ignorant.

All religions must be tolerated for every man must get to heaven in his own way.

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