Wisdom of Life

Democritus: On the Wisdom of Man and Life

“Men ask for health in their prayers to the gods: they do not realize that the power to achieve it lies in themselves.”

“To a wise and good man the whole earth is his fatherland.”

By convention sweet and by convention bitter, by convention hot, by convention cold, by convention color; but in reality atoms and void. Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion.

Everything existing in the universe is the fruit of chance and necessity.

Everywhere man blames nature and fate yet his fate is mostly but the echo of his character and passion, his mistakes and his weaknesses.

Nature and teaching are closely related; for teaching reforms a person, and by reforming remakes his nature.

Many much-learned men have no intelligence. Do not trust all men, but trust men of worth; the former course is silly, the latter a mark of prudence. No power and no treasure can outweigh the extension of our knowledge. Men have made an idol of luck as an excuse for their own thoughtlessness.

Good means not merely not to do wrong, but rather not to desire to do wrong.

It is greed to do all the talking but not to want to listen at all.

Men ask for health in their prayers to the gods: they do not realize that the power to achieve it lies in themselves. Lacking self-control, they perform contrary actions and betray health to their desires.

If your desires are not great, a little will seem much to you; for small appetite makes poverty equivalent to wealth. Accept nothing pleasant unless it is beneficial. By desiring little, a poor man makes himself rich.

It is hard to fight desire; but to control it is the sign of a reasonable man. The brave man is he who overcomes not only his enemies but his pleasures.

Beautiful objects are wrought by study through effort, but ugly things are reaped automatically without toil. The good things of life are produced by learning with hard work; the bad are reaped of their own accord, without hard work.

“No one regards the things before his feet, but views with care the regions of the sky.”

“Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul.”

“The wise man’s home is the universe.”

***

~Democritus was an Ancient Greek pre-Socratic philosopher primarily remembered today for his formulation of an atomic theory of the universe.

Fragments of Democritus

©2021 Excellence Reporter

Categories: Wisdom of Life

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