By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A College Student's Collection of Quotes to Ponder

Cropped image of a Socrates bust for use in ph...Image via WikipediaWhile cleaning out old boxes in the basement, I came across something that earnest college students do: I found a collection of typewritten quotes that, as a college student, I was moved to collect on various legal size sheets of paper. I am amazed at the persistence of my interests. The interests of youth are for many the father of the adult man or woman decades later. Some people I recall were very materialistic and status-seeking, they seem to have ended up that way. Some were, let us say, promiscuous, and seem to have ended up with no credibility or honor. You do seem to reap what you sow, decades later. That's why our decisions and preferences in youth are dramatically important, although certainly reversible.

So I will reprint here my earnest college quotations from great thinkers, quotations that struck me during those years and that I still find striking. I begin with Socrates:

[I]f . . . you were to acquit me on those terms [i.e., that he stop practising philosophy] I would say: "Gentlemen of the jury, I am grateful and I am your friend, but I will obey the god rather than you, and as long as I draw breath and am able, I shall not cease to practice philosophy, to exhort you and in my usual way to point out to any one of you whom I happen to meet: "Good Sir, you are an Athenian, a citizen of the greatest city with the greatest reputation for both wisdom and power; are you not ashamed of your eagerness to possess so much wealth, reputation and honours as possible, while you do not care for nor give thought to wisdom or truth, or the best possible state of your soul?" Then, if one of you dispute this and says he does care, I shall not let him go at once or leave him, but I shall question him, examine him and test him, and if I do not think he has attained the goodness that he says he has, I shall reproach him because he attaches little importance to the most important things and greater importance to inferior things. I shall treat in this way anyone I happen to meet, young and old, citizen and stranger, and more so the citizens because you are more kindred to me.

Apology, 399 B.C.

[My private college quote collection did not cite the exact modern sources from which the quotes were taken. All that was documented was the title of the original work. Since I cannot reconstruct those modern sources used decades ago, the above is the best I can do for citation purposes.]

Over 25 years later, I still love the above quote and fully embrace it. Maybe, one day Congress will erect a monument in D.C. and have this quote inscribed in full on marble for all Americans to contemplate.
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