From time immemorial, humankind has always written down thoughts and quotes especially on how to live and how to better their personality.
Etched sayings in form of graffiti in the Roman empire and hieroglyphics in the ancient Egyptian empire beamed a laser into how our ancestors lived within the confines of their society.
Such sayings have appeared in the plays of Shakespeare, the Biblical Songs of Solomon and the prescient publications of George Orwell.
These epigrams have always held invaluable lessons on how to handle life. How to relate to other humans. How to respond to adversity. How to think about a Higher Power.
What is an epigram? An epigram refers to the written, historical records, conclusions or suggestions made by important historical figures about how they led their lives.
Below are some wonderful quotes that span across several centuries across different continents. Each is worth remembering as one deals with life’s vicissitudes.
Each will change and evolve with you as you evolve.
“Seek not the favour of the multitude; it is seldom got by honest and lawful means. But seek the testimony of few; and number, not voices, but weigh them”. – Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher who is a central figure in modern philosophy. His popular works include the Critique of Pure Reason and Critique of Judgement.
This quote talks about the unreliability of human nature especially when it comes to making crucial decisions.
It is better to have an honest friend than a hundred dishonest acquaintances.
“The first and greatest victory is to conquer yourself; to be conquered by yourself is of all things most shameful and vile”. – Plato
Plato’s work on the use of reason to develop a fair and just society that is focused on the equality of individuals established the foundation for modern democracy.
In this social media era where almost everybody gives in to their base desires, the ability to conquer one’s desire marks one out as very strong.
“The knowledge of anything, since all things have causes, is not acquired or complete unless it is known by its causes”. – Abu Ali Ibn Sina
Abu Ali Ibn Sina also known as Avicenna was born in the year 980 to Persian parents. At the age of 13, he studied medicine with some of the renowned teachers of the day and he became a respected physician by 16.
This quote is especially relevant in the field of medicine with different discoveries pushing scientific boundaries.
The only way we acquire more knowledge about any particular thing is to know what caused such thing.
“A people that elect corrupt politicians are not victims but accomplices”. – George Orwell
George Orwell, pseudonym of Eric Blair, was born on 25 June 1903 in eastern India, the son of a British colonial civil servant.
He is widely known amongst literary circles for his revelatory works, 1984 and Animal Farm which are still widely read in institutions across the world.
He railed against corrupt politicians and a docile citizenry during his days which begat the aforementioned quote.
“Money is numbers and numbers never end. If it takes money to be happy, your search for happiness will never end”. – Gautama Buddha
Siddhartha Gautama, who would one day become known as Buddha (“enlightened one” or “the awakened”), lived in Nepal during the 6th to 4th century B.C.
He lived a very ascetic life helping people which led to the quote about the relationship between money and happiness.
We all see the news and wonder about why rich celebrities commit suicide which begs the question. Is money truly tied to happiness?
“Governments will use whatever technology is available to them to combat their primary enemy – their own population”. – Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky was born on December 7, 1928, to Jewish immigrants in Philadelphia. He is a philosopher and cognitive scientist who is sometimes described as “the father of modern linguistics”.
In a modern world where governments do whatever means is possible to keep the populace in order, this quote could not have been more prescient.
“Since love and fear can hardly exist together; if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved”. – Niccolo Machiavelli
Niccolò Machiavelli is best known for writing The Prince, a handbook for unscrupulous politicians that inspired the term “Machiavellian” and established the author as the “father of modern political theory.”
He postulated that in order to keep the citizenry in check, it is better to be feared by the majority of them rather than to be loved.
“Social progress can be measured by the social position of the female sex”. – Karl Marx
Born in Prussia on May 5, 1818, Karl became a journalist and he published The Communist Manifesto (with Friedrich Engels) and Das Kapital, anticapitalist works that form the basis of Marxism.
The female gender is crucial to the progress of a society because the education of any particular generation begins from the bosom of mothers.
Educate the woman and the society will be better off.
“Those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted”. – Jesus Christ
Jesus is a religious leader whose life and teachings are recorded in the Bible’s New Testament. He was born in Bethlehem circa 6 B.C during a very tumultuous time for the Jews under the Roma Empire.
This quote is very important especially for people who find themselves in the position of power. The only way from the pinnacle is to spiral downwards and the way you treat people on your way up is what you get on your way down.
“Four things support the world: the learning of the wise, the justice of the great, the prayers of the good, and the valour of the brave”. – Muhammad
Muhammad was the founder of the religion of Islam and of a community at Medina that later developed into the Arab Empire.
The aforementioned quote is like four quotes in one and it talks about what makes the foundation of any society sturdy.
The qualities of the wise, the great, the good and the brave are very important towards ensuring we still retain our humanity.