Plato Education Quotes
...for the object of education is to teach us to love beauty. (Plato, 380BC)
And once we have given our community a good start, the process will be cumulative. By maintaining a sound system of education you produce citizens of good character, and citizens of sound character, with the advantage of a good education, produce in turn children better than themselves and better able to produce still better children in their turn, as can be seen with animals. (Plato, 380BC)
'.. It is in education that bad discipline can most easily creep in unobserved,' he replied.
'Yes,' I agreed, ' because people don't treat it seriously there, and think no harm can come of it.'
'It only does harm,' he said, 'because it makes itself at home and gradually undermines morals and manners; from them it invades business dealings generally, and then spreads into the laws and constitution without any restraint, until it has made complete havoc of private and public life.'
' And when men who aren't fit to be educated get an education they don't deserve, are not the thoughts and opinions they produce fairly called sophistry, without a legitimate idea or any trace of true wisdom among them?'
' The first thing our artist must do,' I replied, ' - and it's not easy - is to take human society and human habits and wipe them clean out, to give himself a clean canvas. For our philosophic artist differs from all others in being unwilling to start work on an individual or a city, or draw out laws, until he is given, or has made himself, a clean canvas.' (Plato, 380BC)
' Because a free man ought not to learn anything under duress. Compulsory physical exercise does no harm to the body, but compulsory learning never sticks to the mind.'
'Then don't use compulsion,' I said to him, ' but let your children's lessons take the form of play. You will learn more about their natural abilities that way.' (Plato, 380BC)
For we soon reap the fruits of literature in life, and prolonged indulgence in any form of literature in life leaves its mark on the moral nature of man, affecting not only the mind but physical poise and intonation. (p134 R)
'It is not only to the poets therefore that we must issue orders requiring them to represent good character in their poems or not to write at all; we must issue similar orders to all artists and prevent them from portraying bad character, ill discipline, meanness, or ugliness in painting, sculpture, architecture, or any work of art, and if they are unable to comply they must be forbidden to practice their art. We shall thus prevent our guardians being brought up among representations of what is evil, and so day by day and little by little, by feeding as it were in an unhealthy pasture, insensibly doing themselves grave psychological damage. Our artists and craftsmen must be capable of perceiving the real nature of what is beautiful, and then our young men, living as it were in a good climate, will benefit because all the works of art they see and hear influence them for good, like the breezes from some healthy country with what is rational and right.'
'That would indeed be the best way to bring them up.'
'And that, my dear Glaucon,' I said,' is why this stage of education is crucial. For rhythm and harmony penetrate deeply into the mind and have a most powerful effect on it, and if education is good, bring balance and fairness, if it is bad, the reverse. (p142, 401 R)
'Then i must surely be right in saying that we shall not be properly educated ourselves, nor will the guardians whom we are training, until we can recognise the qualities of discipline, courage, generosity, greatness of mind, and others akin to them, as well as their opposites in all their manifestations'. (p143, 402 R)