Modernizing the Wisdom of the Great Philosophers

The great philosophers left us much wisdom, but, hey, it’s 2020!

It’s not easy to update the great philosophers. But let’s give it a shot:

great philosophers
“Trial and Death of Socrates,” Neoclassical painting of one of the great philosophers.


One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing – Wait, could I know that?

The unexamined life is not worth living. Neither is the examined life, with Plato tailing you 24/7.

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; if you marry someone like Xanthippe, you’ll invent jokes like “Take my wife, please.” [Historical Note: Not a confirmed Socrates’ quote.]


We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light, or insist on using incandescent bulbs.

Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws. Note to self: forget laws.

There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot. Note to self: forget anger.

Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge. Wait, sex, so four sources.

Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. Unfortunately, so does ugly.


It is not once nor twice but times without number that the same ideas make their appearance in the world.

It is not once nor twice but times without number that the same ideas make their appearance in the world.

All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsions, habit, reason, passion, desire (Plato should have stuck with geometry).

Rene Descartes:

There is nothing so strange and so unbelievable that it has not been said by one philosopher or another, or a certain American President.

The first precept was never to accept a thing as true until I knew it as such without a single doubt. The second precept was not to accept a doubt as true until it survived the first precept.

I am indeed amazed when I consider how weak my mind is and how prone to error. I probably should have skipped that third Remy Martin.

Benedict Spinoza:

No matter how thin you slice it, there will always be two sides – but I don’t think this applies to pie.

Will and intellect are one and the same thing (not sure what happens if you slice that thin).

Blessedness is not the reward of virtue but virtue itself. Kind of like will and intellect.

Peace is not an absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice. Kidding! It’s an absence of war.

Ludwig Wittgenstein:

If a lion could speak, we could not understand him. That’s because of the guttural rrrrrrrrrr; also, one gets distracted by the sharp teeth.

Whereof one can’t speak, thereof one must shut the fuck up.

Friedrich Nietzsche:

Man is the cruelest animal. No, wait, 13-year-old girls.

There are no beautiful surfaces without a terrible depth. Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid help, too.

Arthur Schopenhauer:

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. Fourth, it is condemned as Fake New on Facebook by Russian trolls.


It is not once nor twice but times without number that the same ideas make their appearance in the world.

Howard Zaharoff