Last modified on 16 November 2014, at 00:22

Thales

Avoid doing what you would blame others for doing.

Thales (Θαλῆς; c. 624 BC – c. 546 BC) was a Greek philosopher and one of the Seven Sages of Greece.

QuotesEdit

Nothing is more active than thought, for it flies over the whole universe; nothing is stronger than necessity, for all must submit to it.
Hope is the only good that is common to all men; those who have nothing else possess hope still.
  • Σοφώτατον χρόνος· ἀνευρίσκει γὰρ πάντα.
    • Time is the wisest of all things that are; for it brings everything to light.
    • As quoted in Diogenes Laërtius, The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, I, 35
  • Οὔ τι τὰ πολλὰ ἔπη φρονίμην ἀπεφήνατο δόξαν
    • A multitude of words is no proof of a prudent mind.
    • As quoted in Diogenes Laërtius, The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, I, 35; as translated in Dictionary of Quotations (Classical) edited by Thomas Benfield Harbottle, p. 455
    • Also translated as: "Many words do not declare an understanding heart."
  • Ἐὰν ἃ τοῖς ἄλλοις ἐπιτιμῶμεν, αὐτοὶ μὴ δρῶμεν
    • Avoid doing what you would blame others for doing.
    • As quoted in Diogenes Laërtius, The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, I, 36
    • Cf. Golden Rule
  • Μέγιστον τόπος· ἅπαντα γὰρ χωρεῖ
    • Place is the greatest thing, as it contains all things.
  • Γνῶθι σαυτόν
    • Know thyself.
    • As quoted in Diogenes Laërtius, The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, I, 40
    • Variant:
    • The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself.
      • Many Thoughts of Many Minds (1862), by Henry Southgate, p. 338
    • Cf. Plato, Charmides 164: "τὸ γὰρ Γνῶθι σαυτόν καὶ τὸ Σωφρόνει ἔστιν [τὸ γὰρ Γνῶθι σαυτόν καὶ τὸ Σωφρόνει ἔστιν]".
  • Hope is the only good that is common to all men; those who have nothing else possess hope still.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts (1908) by Tryon Edwards, p. 234
  • Nothing is more ancient than God, for He was never created; nothing more beautiful than the world, it is the work of that same God; nothing is more active than thought, for it flies over the whole universe; nothing is stronger than necessity, for all must submit to it.
    • As quoted in Love and Live Or Kill and Die: Realities of the Destruction of Human Life (2009) by James H. Wilson, p. 72
    • Variant:
    • Strongest is Necessity because it governs all things.
      • As quoted in Symbolism of the Sphere: A Contribution to the History of Earlier Greek Philosophy (1977), by Otto Brendel p. 36
    • Nothing is more active than thought, for it travels over the universe, and nothing is stronger than necessity for all must submit to it.
      • As quoted in Business Management Controls : A Guide (2012) by John Kyriazoglou, p. 55

Quotes about ThalesEdit

Time is wisest because it discovers everything.
  • Thales asserted Water to be the principle of things. For he saw that matter was principally dispensed in moisture, and moisture in water; and it seemed proper to make that the principle of things, in which the virtues and powers of beings, and especially the elements of their generations and restorations, were chiefly found. He saw that the breeding of animals is in moisture ; that the seeds and kernels of plants (as long as they are productive and fresh), are likewise soft and tender; that metals also melt and become fluid, and are as it were concrete juices of the earth, or rather a kind of mineral waters; that the earth itself is fertilised and revived by showers or irrigation, and that earth and mud seem nothing else than the lees and sediment of water; that air most plainly is but the exhalation and expansion of water; nay, that even fire itself cannot be lighted, nor kept in and fed, except with moisture and by means of moisture. He saw, too, that the fatness which belongs to moisture, and which is the support and life of flame and fire, seems a kind of ripeness and concoction of the water.
    • Francis Bacon, in De Principiis Atque Originibus as translated in The Philosophical Works of Francis Bacon (1905) edited by John M. Robertson
  • It seems probable that the early Greeks were largely indebted to the Phoenicians for their knowledge of practical arithmetic or the art of calculation, and perhaps also learnt from them a few properties of numbers. It may be worthy of note that Pythagoras was a Phoenician; and according to Herodotus, but this is more doubtful, Thales was also of that race.
  • Thales had a motto — sophotaton chronos aneuriskei gar panta — which means time is wisest because it discovers everything. We still live by that motto — we mark the time and aid the discoveries by keeping the soul lines intact.
    • Dennis Batchelder, in Soul Identity (2007, p. 59
  • According to Diogenes Laertius, Thales believed that “water constituted the principle of all things.”
    • Varadaraja V. Raman, in Indic Visions: In an Age of Science (2011), p. 181
  • Since Alyattes would not give up the Scythians to Cyaxares at his demand, there was war [ Battle of Halys ] between the Lydians and the Medes for five years; each won many victories over the other, and once they fought a battle by night. They were still warring with equal success, when it happened, at an encounter which occurred in the sixth year, that during the battle the day was suddenly turned to night. Thales of Miletus had foretold this loss of daylight to the Ionians, fixing it within the year in which the change did indeed happen.
  • It has been asserted that metaphysical speculation is a thing of the past and that physical science has extirpated it. The discussion of the categories of existence, however, does not appear to be in danger of coming to an end in our time, and the exercise of speculation continues as fascinating to every fresh mind as it was in the days of Thales.

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