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What do you think about how the pythagorean theroem came about? Like was it by accident that Pythagoras realized it, or did he research on it?

There are no primary sources about Pythagoras. We don't anything that he said. We have some Pythagorean sayings written down three centuries after the event.


  • Do not become accustomed to behaving in anything without rule and without reason.
  • Numbers inevitably will lead a person down the path of reason.
  • Each celestial body, in fact each and every atom, produces a particular sound on account of its movement, its rhythm or vibration. All these sounds and vibrations form a universal harmony in which each element, while having its own function and character, contributes to the whole.

Images evoking the Monad and Tetraktys[edit]

I have once again restored images that represent or indicate some of the ideas and relationships which have been associated with Pythagorean philosophy since ancient times, including those evoking the Monad and the Tetraktys, as well as other symbolic or mathematical ideas of the Pythagoreans. Simply reading some of the material at some of the linked images would provide some idea of why these images were chosen. Though Pythagoras of course mentioned nothing about quark theory, it is rather intriguing how modern quark theory evokes his tetraktys. Noting that that there remain quite a number of familiar but unsourced quotes here, I will probably try to source more of these within the next few days. ~ Kalki 16:04, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

Dear acute fellow, thank you for indicating my obtuseness. Also for indicating the import of the tetractys: You have convinced me that this diagramm is relevant enough to stay.
As for all the rest, I've re-deleted it. Please bear with me being that obtuse, but I still don't think that a dot with a circle around it illustrates the text "above all things reverence thy Self" any more than it would illustrate or symbolically represent the rear end of a cow. As for Pythagoras and quark theory, you yourself state that he "of course mentioned nothing about it", so let's better leave out diagrams about baryons (even though I admit it looks an itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny bit tetractically). But most important, let's leave out obscure private philosophies - this page should strictly and only be about quotes by Pythagoras, not about pictorial representations of somebody's own sharp-minded views on life and existence. I suggest, however, that you integrate them into your own homepage and host it on a server that you pay for.
As for Hoag's object: it surely looks a bit dot-and-circlely, but - again being obtuse - I don't understand how it serves to illustrate "virtue is harmony".
The diagram representing the Pythagorean theorem could well be used to illustrate the Pythagorean theorem, but not as an illustration of the text "you will know, as is right, nature similar in all respects, so that you will neither entertain unreasonable hopes nor be neglectful of anything." And my argument for re-deleting all the other geometrical diagrams would go on similar lines.
Spamming diagrams amounts to spamming the bandwidth of wikiquote's users. Why unnecessarily worsening wikiquote's carbon footprint?
I was a bit sharp here, but you should better think twice before insulting other users. You may explain and justify your choice of illustrations, but please don't edit-war. Thank you. -- 22:39, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
I don't at all mind people being sharp, but I am usually a bit irritated when they think they are very sharp-witted and prove themselves to be in many ways merely shallow and dull. I was insulted by your comments and presumptuous behavior in deleting my work, and it is precisely this which I was criticizing. I do not at all doubt that many of even the most dull of minds can grow in wisdom, but I doubt that they will have many opportunities to do that if the dullest always rule or overrule anyone who is trying to indicate any unfamiliar insights or truths. I am usually a bit more composed in my own language and expressions, but I am a bit irritated right now, because I am in a hurry, have been delayed by many things, have missed the first showing of a movie I had wanted to see, and am working on many things right now so that I can see the final showing of it at the local theatre. I will take the time to explain some of the symbolic, mathematical or aesthetic values of the other images within the next day or two, but please stop deleting them merely because you cannot see the value or worth of them. ~ Kalki 23:04, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
As your diagrams and images really seem to be VERY much beside the point, I feel that (at least in this question) most wikiquote users would probably be as shallow, dull (and maybe as presumptous) as me. So I felt free to re-re-delete your images. Now first, I suggest you don't feel possessive about this page. You may have taken pains to work on it, and no one will doubt your merits. But neither does Pythagoras or the right understanding of his philosophy belong to you, nor does wikiquote. I don't think this here is a platform for ... let's call it self-realization, or for teaching the world your notions of profundity. Please accept that your work here is being filtered by the judgements of others, dull and shallow as they may seem to you. I don't feel like lecturing anyone, but let me say that that's an important part of social competence - the antithesis would be narcissism. So please assume good faith, and act (and talk) accordingly.
Now you don't have to accept these judgements of others as true. But (second suggestion) instead of reacting with insults or starting edit-wars - I hope we haven't entered one already - do what you announced: reinsert these pictures, but not without explaining their import regarding Pythagoras' quotes (the actual text, not some high-flying interpretation). If you illuminate us about the import and relevance of each restored image - please not just summarily, like, by saying that they are OK, but I am just too stupid - then I probably won't object any more. I hope that's fair, but until then I really think stuff like that has to be kept out of wikiquote. No offence. -- 00:25, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
And please think about the carbon print! -- 00:26, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
Please also consider this: In anger we should refrain both from speech and action. Guess who said that. -- 00:33, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
Coming back once more to this page, I started to wonder why some of the quotes need to be set in bold type. Maybe because they are your favourite quotes, or because you deem them as central for interpreting Pythagoras? By doing so, you seem to smuggle in your personal interpretation of his philosophy through the back door, instead of letting Pythagoras speak purely for himself. I mean, this is wikiquote, not wikiteach or wikiilluminate-the-ignorant. I'm not on the warpath here, but I think ultimately also that might be changed. Maybe the whole page needs to be overhauled - as less is sometimes really more. -- 01:12, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
The description page which one finds when one clicks on this image states: "Four is the first number formed by the addition and multiplication of equals. To the Pythagoreans this symbol and number represented justice as it is the first number that is divisible every way into equal parts."
This image, without having much indicating it's relevance on it's description page, yet is one of the most famous illustrations of the famous Pythagorean theorem, and it's relevance to the page is one I truly thought needed no explanation to anyone familiar with either Pythagoras or elementary geometry.
This image is used because this diagram of the fundamental elements of physical matter in quark theory clearly evokes the Tetraktys well, and well fits the quote used with it, on Pythagorean ideas on mathematical and cosmic relationships: "Holding fast to these things, you will know the worlds of gods and mortals which permeates and governs everything."
I recently returned home, and had almost expected your presumptuous deletions to have re-occurred despite my requests that you await my fuller explanation of the reasons for some of the images. Frankly, honestly and to the point, your expressions and behavior have been in many ways far more presumptive than mine. I don't deny at all that I have very strong opinions on many matters, and am not afraid of honestly presenting them and stating them, yet I usually actually do refrain from doing so, out of the limited sensibilities and perceptions of many people. You state that "instead of reacting with insults or starting edit-wars - I hope we haven't entered one already - do what you announced: reinsert these pictures, but not without explaining their import regarding Pythagoras' quotes."
I don't constrain myself to deceptive or misleading words or phrases when I feel the time has come to state my case about anything — and to state about an "edit-war": "I hope we haven't entered one already" when I believe that you are quite aware that there is one going on, when you insist on removing images merely on the supposition that they are not relevant enough, and that apparently nearly any nuance of rationale should be clearly stated to the full satisfaction of anyone who can't see the relevance of things, or insists on them not being relevant enough. There is not time in all of life for much progress to be made if everyone were rigorously constrained to such measures, but I will now comply with the request for stating at least some of the reasons for these.
You state "your diagrams and images really seem to be VERY much beside the point" but I will point out that none of these images are my creations, and I placed the links for many of them here because they were actually categorized as relating to Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans at the Wikimedia Commons; if you had actually had enough curiosity to bother clicking on some of the images before you removed them you would have discovered this, and that not only the Tetraktys, which you seem to have conceded is relevant, but also the Tetrad and other figures as well are highly prominent in Pythagorean symbology. I include some images here, using in the captions some of the descriptions that appear on the pages for them, or some explanation of why they were used. Of those I have not used here, involving pentagrams or pentagonal forms, Wikipedia states: "The Pythagoreans called the pentagram υγεία Hygeia ("health"; also the Greek goddess of health, Hygeia), and saw in the pentagram a mathematical perfection." I also used the image of Hoags object not merely because it evokes the Monad, but also because it well evokes cosmic harmonies at all scales, and used it with the quote: "Virtue is harmony."
You confess that you "felt free to re-re-delete your images" because you did not understand them, and expect that there are few who would. You might very easily say the same about most of the scientific, philosophical and religious works of human history — would you feel that they too should be simply deleted because you and most people can't understand or appreciate them? You express attitudes and assumptions that I make no disguise of reviling and opposing, and I will not mince my words in doing so. This project exists to present quotes from such works, chosen, selected, and presented by those interested enough about the subjects to work on the pages which exist here. I have always been against constraining people from gathering and presenting such ideas and expressions as they find interesting, and presenting it in interesting ways, any more than is actually necessary.
I am not often very angry at things, and usually suppress my potentials for expression of it, but as I have begun to indicate to a few people, here and there, now and then, there are definitely some forms of extreme presumptions and stupidity which deserve expressions of outrage and anger, and when I believe that there are such cases I will state my anger, honestly, and not hypocritically resort to disguising mental daggers in nice soft cushions of polite sounding words, and will bare my sharpest ones openly, and drive my points home quite vigorously.
You are continuing to raise further issues that you object to, but I will state that once again that I have always objected to the blanding down of pages for the satisfactions of the presumptions of dullards. The selections of quotations innately are the indications of opinions — and I have never been at any point dishonest or secretive about my assertions of this, from the very earliest days of the project. Some people find any expression or indications of opinions other than their own something to be deplored and constrained to the maximal possible degree — I believe that permitting and encouraging the honest expression of opinions to the maximal possible degree is usually beneficial and not detrimental.
I tolerate and approve the expression of many opinions other than my own — even those opinions I must most vigorously reject and oppose, but I will not endorse the absolute absurdities and idiocy of those who would imply or even insist that all opinions are innately equal — and should be either equally asserted or equally suppressed — they never have been and never will be, and I will not consent to supporting such delusions or lies of people who would insist otherwise. All opinions that arise about any things are to some extent necessary, and all to some extent inevitable — but not all opinions that arise have equal capacities to survive the tests to Time and Truth — and I am very interested in most respecting and emphasizing those that do — and most exposing and rejecting many of the most common and pervasive ones that do not — be they motivated by any forms of political or religious dogma or any sort of false presumptions.
I will concede that in some ways you seem a very learned — but I will be honest in stating that to me you appear very dimwitted about many things all the same. I am quite aware that there are narcissistic impulses at work in many people, and I won't deny that some of these might be perceived to exist in me — or nearly ANYONE who asserts their own opinions about things, and doesn't bow down to some enshrined herd-think mentality. I am also quite learned in much of the vocabulary of psychology, and I will state that it has been my own observation that those who are most prone to call others narcissists for daring to state their opinions are often among the most smug, self-satisfied narcissists around. Søren Kierkegaard stated "Once you label me you negate me" and narcissism is always a very convenient label for some of the most extremely narcissistic individuals to use in negating the worth of other people's opinions. This is an honest opinion that I have never actually seen any reason for retreating from.
This is a spontaneous response to what appear to be spontaneous remarks by you. I might temper some of my remarks in time, and elaborate upon many of them more, but at this time I do not see any remark that I am willing to retract, erase or apologize for. I am a very intelligent person who does not pretend to always be so wise and prudent as I might be, but I am growing very tired of regularly deferring to dimwits who obviously are inclined to believe that they are, and people should be constrained by such sensibilities as they feel confident enough they can get many other dimwits to agree to. Such people have long caused too many problems in the world, kept people and ideas and life itself far too dull and constrained by very narrow, shallow and limiting regulations and rules. I am honestly stating my opinion here, and I know that many people would object to that — but to hell with all dishonesty and all fear of honest expressions of opinions. I might not seem prudent to many, but I assert that I am extremely respectful of truth, and of the right of people to express their honest opinions, and will not apologize for being so. I expect to be busy for at least several days with various things, but will try to spend some time working on this page and sourcing quotes within the next day or two — and hopefully not arguing too much more about the perceived or unperceived relevance of images. ~ Kalki 06:23, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
Dear fellow, your objections have been registered. Hope you enjoyed your movie show. Please bear with my extreme stupidity - you've indicated that several times now. Seeing the diagrams that you now also inserted on the talk page, let me restate this: (1) "The diagram representing the Pythagorean theorem could well be used to illustrate the Pythagorean theorem, but not as an illustration of the text 'you will know, as is right, nature similar in all respects, so that you will neither entertain unreasonable hopes nor be neglectful of anything.'" So I suggest you use it on another page to illustrate, well, the Pythagorean theorem. Regarding the baryon cuplets, I already admitted that (2) "it looks an itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny bit tetractically" - but as we already have a diagram illustrating the concept of the tetraktys, we really don't need another one that introduces concepts of modern quantum mechanics unarguably alien to the ancient greek "thought world" in which Pythagoras lived and worked. As for (3) the diagram "tetrad.svg", I've inquired about its source and it seems to be some obscure esoteric book on - as its title implies - the divinity of mathematical proportions. If you own a copy of this book, please illuminate us about how and why the author relates that diagram to the Pythagorean concept of he Tetrad. All I can gather from the wikicommons descriptions is that in some solemn and pompous way it illustrates -- the number four. Description: "Four is the first number formed by the addition and multiplication of equals. To the Pythagoreans this symbol [text highlighted by me] and number represented justice as it is the first number that is divisible every way into equal parts.". However, symbols like this (that diagram!) cannot be traced back to the Pythagoreans - excepting the theorem, for reasons of geometrical necessity. As is stated in the wikipedia article, "very little is known about Pythagoras because none of his writings have survived". So this illustration is admittedly not your personal invention; instead it is clearly the fruit of somebody else's romantic creativity (i. e. Priya Hemenway, the famous author of "Ask the Oracle: Answers to Questions of Mind, Heart, and Soul"). There is no rule that tells us we may include such unnecessary nonsense in wikiquote pages just because some wise or confused person got it published in a book. Once we start with that, there'll be no limit, and in the end wikiquote will have turned into a wikilet-everyone-host-all-his/her-esoteric-fancies.
To show my good will, I will refrain from undoing your changes for a while, and won't remove the diagrams for the next few days. Please try to overcome your loathing for interactions with the blunt minds of your contemporaries, and do what you promised: "I ... will try to spend some time working on this page and sourcing quotes within the next day or two". Sourcing alone will not do, of course, unless you use commonly (e. g. academically) acceptable ... pools of knowledge - by which I mean: not oraculous Hemenway and her like. Should you, however, continue to edit-war, to insult me (and pre-emptively everyone else here who disagrees with you), to rant at people like me for their "extreme stupidity" etc., I'll refer this to wikiquote's admins to decide the matter. Thank you and have a nice weekend. -- 15:55, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
I gather from your user page that you have sysop privileges on wikiquote. All the more important that you refrain from abusing them - or rather misinterpreting them - by, like, behaving as the owner of some pages. During the next few days, I'll really be looking forward to find what you promised to give. Your recent behaviour does truly not recommend you for holding privileges! -- 18:58, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
I really do not have the time to make a full response to all of your comments, but will try to do so tomorrow. I have posted more quotes, sourced what I had time to of the unsourced, and added more images you might consider irrelevant — I will discuss matters further later — I must be leaving right now. ~ Kalki 22:43, 8 March 2009 (UTC)


It was through philosophy, he said, that he had come to be surprised at nothing. ~ Plutarch on Pythagoras
It is not proper either to have a blunt sword or to use freedom of speech ineffectually. Neither is the sun to be taken from the world, nor freedom of speech from erudition. ~ Pythagoras
I actually do not presume the worst of people but I am willing to state the worst which I can about various types of destructive action, and react to it as vigorously as seems necessary.
Criticism, whatever may be its pretensions, never does more than to define the impression which is made upon it at a certain moment by a work wherein the writer himself noted the impression of the world which he received at a certain hour. ~ James Branch Cabell

The presentation of ideas is ultimately an art, not a science, though it should always be an art respectful of all forms of science, and many forms of mystery. This project is one which has permitted and and promoted the presentation of many philosophical, political, religious and anti-religious ideas in many ways — and has not yet become so corrupted and constrained as to have given blank license to the unwarranted suppression and removal of them, by those who seek to actually limit the number of ideas which people have available to reflect upon and consider.

It is NOT Wikipedia where the objectives promoted by many seem to be toward some form of "objective" presentation of facts and knowledge — it is a project where notable statements of history are presented, by people actively engaged in gathering and presenting them, whether they can fully agree with them or not.

I certainly do not and cannot agree with all Pythagoras believed or is said to have believed, but I have long admired him as someone who has come to be a largely underrated and important genius who had immense influence in many ways on the course of all subsequent currents of philosophy and many mathematical, scientific and religious traditions. I, as well as others have sought to make this page, or other pages more interesting with the use of images that in some way relate to the subject of various quotes or ideas, presented on the page. As this is not Wikipedia, where images used should clearly have some obvious relation to the subject of the page I have always been inclined to use interesting images that relate to the ideas expressed by certain quotations, and I have been doing such things for several years now, with only very rare objections.

Many have been those who would assert that if a link between ideas or facts is not proven relevant it is a good thing to deny it, erase it, eliminate it, forget about it and all that it might imply to someone who actually uses their imagination and not merely their base intellect and instincts to suppress such things — but the genius of Pythagoras was to link all things from the microscopic to the cosmic with awareness of eternal patterns and evocative "Symbols" and expressions, and I assert that such activity as adorning quote pages with interesting images, which can or do relate to the ideas of the quotations presented, is itself a devotion to the very virtues which Pythagoras exhibited and promoted, even if I cannot embrace all of his particular ideas.

I also assert that to be honestly harsh and assertive of truths, true opinions, and significant relationships is far more an act of friendship than the erasure, denial or obscuration of them — no matter how genial an appearance or sincerely genial a motivation might be involved in such deeds.

Though a focus on plainly beautiful great truths is certainly preferable to many ugly little ones, harsh honesty is more an act of true friendship than gentle or pleasing lies or distortions of truth, and I have very little respect or inclination to respect those who seek to control and constrain the creative or preserving capacities of others while they go about feeling entirely free to be destructive and critical of anyone who expresses themselves beyond the narrow and constrained limits they seek to rigorously define in ways that do not extend very much beyond their own paltry imaginations.

You state rather arrogantly: "To show my good will, I will refrain from undoing your changes for a while, and won't remove the diagrams for the next few days."

It is an all too common thing for people to casually make far too many demands on others, and demand very little of themselves. You, so far as I can tell for certain, are merely a rather presumptive visitor, who is comfortable using what seems to be a roving IP identity, who has done no work at all on the page, in actually gathering information, but seems to think yourself automatically entitled to the rather "possessive" right to delete and remove anything you can't, won't, or do not wish to immediately understand, at least until it is satisfactorily explained to you, even though some of these images have been on the page for years, and are clearly not mere vandalism. Such impulses, unchecked, can do far more damage than mere vandalism ever could.

As I indicated earlier, very little progress would be made in the world were such demands to become to much of a rule among people, and very little of great beauty or worth could be developed or preserved. I have done immense work on this project over the years, and probably am the primary contributor of this particular page and many others — and I don't feel "possessive" of at all, in the sense of limiting it, and feel people should be free to add much more — but when they move to rather presumptuously delete my additions and make the page as dull, characterless, uninteresting and unchallenging as any mindless drone-bot might prefer it to be, and demand meticulous arguments and reasons why they simply should not be permitted to do this — yes — I can get a little impatient and more than a little irritated at such presumptuousness, and am not a bit afraid of indicating it.

It has long been noted by the wise that it is a far harder task to create and preserve things of worth than it is to destroy them, which is one reason I have such strong contempt for the destructive impulse and those who think it is their automatic right and privilege to use it as freely as they see fit.

I don't care if you were actually an official steward — as you might well conceivably be — but in my honest opinion any steward who goes about destroying anyone's work which had existed for some time, without any objections to it prevailing, merely on their own initiative would be behaving as a pretty poor steward. I will confess that I consider myself a very honest and fair administrator, but a very poor bureaucrat — because I am not inclined to pay very much mind to any form of bureaucracy — and am not really inclined to delve into many technical and official issues here any more than I actually have to. But I also would consider myself a very poor human being if I did not react to impulses to presumptuous destruction of anything but obvious vandalism by anyone as vigorously as I possibly could.

You mildly suggest that because I have reacted to some heat, and with some blunt honesty, I am not fit to be an administrator here, with the words "Your recent behaviour does truly not recommend you for holding privileges!" I might mildly suggest cowardly presumptuous hypocrites aren't fit to be human beings, but I sadly know many who are, and am not at all inclined to deny them that status — but I hope that they can gradually learn to become more worthy of the honor they have been given by destiny, to become human beings more capable of thought, emotions and many forms of work, and less presumptive about dishonoring the actual work, emotions, and thoughts of others with a casual dismissal of them being "worthless" or worse. I am actually making no such presumptions regarding you as a person — I state as a strong opinion that I hold your actions to have been far more objectionable than any words or declarations I might have used.

I don't mistakenly take the limited actions people make as providing an adequate measure of their full character, but I do take them to provide indications of what aspects of human character they have yet to fully develop.

Truth gains more even by the errors of one who, with due study and preparation, thinks for himself, than by the true opinions of those who only hold them because they do not suffer themselves to think. ~ John Stuart Mill

I would extend Mill's statement to assert that a benefit exists in even the errors or deficiencies of those presentations which might in some way challenge people to actually do a little investigation, and invite people to think much further for themselves on many matters, more than those which do not invite people have any profound emotional links to truly immortal ideas, but only be provided such coldly proven and largely dead or deadening expressions of mortal facts, as involves very little art of active presentation at all, and only very dismal and mortifying applications of knowledge and will.

People who might for some reasons have come to prefer the promotion of bland, emotionless, presentation of facts to the development and indication of actual ideas about them might gain a cold satisfaction when they can eliminate or prevent the influence of so "foul" and "corruptive" influence as such art, imagery, music and poetry as will not be constrained by their expectations and demands. I cannot even pretend to be respectful of such attitudes. I am continually an advocate of both Justice and Liberty in all things — and not of tyrannically misshapen and misapplied rules nor of other more naked forms of unrestrained freedom to deceive or to diminish and destroy the influences of truth and ideas which require some subtlety of thought and appreciation.

You are offensive,… the bug replied, — because this page has a sword which I chose to say is not a sword. You are lewd because that page has a lance which I prefer to think is not a lance. You are lascivious because yonder page has a staff which I elect to declare is not a staff. And finally, you are indecent for reasons of which a description would be objectionable to me, and which therefore I must decline to reveal to anybody.… ~ James Branch Cabell

You might fear that I am casting you into the role of an absolute "philistine" in the sense of it's definition as someone who is a "smug, ignorant, especially middle-class person who is regarded as being indifferent or antagonistic to artistic and cultural values" — that is certainly not my intention. I do not know you, and do not know who you are — I am only aware of your actions and words, and am reacting to them, even as you are reacting to mine. By addressing you honestly, and directly, as another human being, apart from whatever roles you or I might have, I exhibit at least some regard for your capacities to be or become much more than so simple and easily categorized or summarized a fool as you seem to have taken me to be. But I also exhibit an unwavering opposition to many of the qualities and assumptions you have thus far exhibited by your actions and expressions.

I might have used a few harsh words you that you consider insulting or potentially destructive to your self-image or prestige among others, but I assert you were doing deeds, and making statements that were insulting to my own and other people's intelligence, motivations and work and making far too casual a suppositions about what you and other people are actually doing, whenever you see fit to casually erase another person's efforts at genuine contribution, as if it were to be treated as nothing worthy of anyone's attention. I am here not speaking only to you, but to anyone who is prone to rapidly and casually eliminate the actual work of others that is not in accord with all that they might wish it to be.

I certainly in no way sought to constrain you from any truly constructive or beneficial activity by the use of any admin abilities, or to even mildly threaten to curtail your own contributions, but having found out that I am actually an admin (and as you might now also be aware — I am one of the admins who have been here the longest), you have seized upon that bit of information to suggest that I am not fit to be an admin, because I actually evidenced having so human a quality as an emotional reaction to wanton and arrogant destruction of people's work (which in this particular case, happened to be largely my own), as relates to the work of one of the philosophers whom I most admire, and who is in fact historically noted as being the first man to call himself a "philosopher" — a lover of wisdom.

You also seized upon the very wise admonition of Pythagoras, as if I was unfamiliar with it, in an attempt to both admonition me and belittle the worth of my expressions: "In anger we should refrain both from speech and action."

I assure you I am very much restraining myself from anything approaching the fullest expressions of anger of which I am capable, and I very rarely loose my temper as a person — but I am also very skilled at using what temper I have — and not denying it or hiding it when I feel the time has come to use actually use it, and present the edge of it to the binding cords of particularly bad ideas. I would assert that my willingness to exhibit it at all is not evidence of my lack of control of it, but rather my rigorous control of other passions, such as those fears you seem eager to manipulate with presumptuous words apparently said with far less than kind intentions.

I actually do not presume the worst of people but I am willing to state the worst which I can about various types of destructive action, and react to it as vigorously as seems necessary. I know that I myself might have tempered what I said a little more, but I did not have the time or inclination to do so at the time I acted.

I might be very intelligent and long been cautious and wise enough to refrain from too much open contention with others — but I am growing very weary and very impatient with constant distraction with many very old forms of stupidity, which I personally have grown very weary of dealing with, and I no longer think that, for me, to err on the side of caution is actually always the wisest choice to make, especially when I perceive artistic expressions of profound insight with great actual or potential significance to many people being treated as if they were irrelevant and unimportant trifles.

It is not proper either to have a blunt sword or to use freedom of speech ineffectually. Neither is the sun to be taken from the world, nor freedom of speech from erudition. ~ Pythagoras

I am not a person easily intimidated, and I am not a person who encourages others to be, in their pursuits of Truth, Justice and Awareness, Life and Love. I am a person who has sometimes been willing to be quite intimidating to the presumptions of others to seek to constrain human liberty and who has won the respect of many who have been my adversaries, when they come to gradually perceive a more extensive measure of my character and abilities.

Like Pythagoras I don't rely upon voting to absolutely determine the worth or merit of anything, but I do tend to rely upon the capacities of people to recognize truth to guide them into making mostly proper or appropriate decisions, most of the time, when people are actually so free as they can be to present ideas.

We are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it. ~ Thomas Jefferson

Such words and intentions have long guided me to follow truth and not quake at the admonitions of cowards, villains and other fools who would imply the path of honesty, courage and other crucial virtues are dangerous — far more than most, I know that they are often dangerous and detrimental to many delights and desires of mortal life — but far more dangerous to immortal Life and purposes are such cowardice, foolishness and villainy as others would often have me bow down to, or seek to fully appease.

Because of my normally calm and tolerant disposition, others in the past have sometimes mistaken me for a pacifist, but you seem to think that because I indicated anger and irritation that I might be someone too inclined to be irate, and who might suddenly come to be immensely worried about guarding my own ass, and easily intimidated. I am not. As a rather notable military leader once quite wisely remarked:

Some goddamn fool once said that flanks have got to be secure. Since then sonofabitches all over the globe have been guarding their flanks. I don't agree with that. My flanks are something for the enemy to worry about, not me. Before he finds out where my flanks are, I'll be cutting the bastard's throat. ~ George S. Patton
Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods. ~ Edmund Burke

I certainly don't aim to cut anyone's throat, or assault anyone either physically or officiously, so please don't imply that I do, but I am beginning to speak my mind more fully and vigorously on many matters here and elsewhere, and this is beginning to show in some of the expressions I happen to make, when I perceive it is an appropriate time to make them. I would be quite content to simply plod on as I have done for years, doing minor, mundane and largely unnoticed or unappreciated work here, along with many others of similar and very differing opinions, but you challenged me to give elaborate and extensive reasons for these particular images, in order to justify them to you — someone who as far as I can tell has not done any constructive edits on this or any other page here — and I in response I am motivated to do not merely that, but also indicate my reasons for not retreating from defending my own and other people's right to explore the arts of expression, and for fighting against the will and judgments of those who would be overly constraining of them, and of all the arts of life.

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in that grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat. ~ Theodore Roosevelt

You seek to imply that I am "possessive" of the page or even of this project itself— I actually spend less and less of my time actively concerned with much of it — and am possessive only of my own integrity as a human being — and inclined to be most hostile only to such actions as belittle the worth of any human beings who actually put more thought and effort into their activities than most people are inclined to do.

I am a person who has long been able to guide myself in an instant by many of the insights I took some time to but very briefly indicate here, and many others besides, many times a day, and I will not deny that I sometimes do grow impatient and irritated by people who regularly exhibit far less levels of awareness, who I quite regularly encounter in life — but my actions continue to be tolerant of all but the most foully destructive and pernicious forms of ignorance and confusion. I do not seek to be excused or pardoned from the consequences of any unjust harshness I manifest — but I do assert that what just harshness I have exhibited needs no excusing or further apology.

I regularly make very cutting and acute assessments of situations, but I rarely go so far as most people do in making absolute judgments of either the importance of events or works or people. I in fact quite regularly can laugh at my own follies and forms of foolishness far more freely than most can laugh at those of others, and know that I am for the most part a cheerful fool — even while I must often sorrow that so many other fools are such dreadful and dreary ones.

Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods. ~ Edmund Burke

May blessings arise for you in your life, and come to flow from you towards others, in ever greater awareness and appreciation of the beauty of Reality, and the laughter of the gods. ~ Kalki 19:58, 10 March 2009 (UTC)


I am Ariel, from 'The Pythagoras Portal' In my opinion this page's contribution to 'quotes' and reflections of the source as Pythagoras, are not reflections consistant with the Pythagorean science, nor his philosophies or logical way of thought. Certain quotes are in direct condradiction to each other. This serves an an unreliable field to the contributions of Pythagoras

Ariel du Plume, The Pythagoras Portal

—This unsigned comment is by (talkcontribs) .
Like many ancient figures, especially those from the Pre-Socratic eras, MOST available information on Pythagoras ideas are not anything approaching high reliability or authoritative facts, as nearly all is from records created long after his life, or even speculative interpretations made by others centuries after that. So long as the information is properly sourced, that is all we can rationally expect, and the elements and forms of irrationality in expecting everything to be entirely rational should not be glossed over, by the wise. ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 08:50, 28 October 2011 (UTC)


  • Man know thyself; then thou shalt know the Universe and God.
    • As quoted in Fragments of Reality: Daily Entries of Lived Life (2006) by Peter Cajander, p. 109

I saw this quote on Facebook this week but without attribution, so I investigated the source. This Wikiquotes page is the only place I found a source. Peter Cajander's book uses the quote but does not cite a source. I'm concerned that his source was nothing more than the Internet, that this is not a legitimate Pythagoras quote. If it is, we should cite a more proximate source, preferably something in classical Greek or Latin rather than a modern writer.

Know thyself was one of three or four inscriptions on the entrance to the Temple of Apollo at Delphi: γνῶθι σεαυτόν (gnōthi seautón = know thyself). It is the most famous of the inscription, and was taken seriously by philosophers from Heraclitus to Socrates and beyond. Did Pythagoras, too, wrestle with this inscription? Depending on the age of the quote, he probably did, but this Cajander attribution was the first evidence I've seen that he was quoted or paraphrased on the subject. So far, it's the only evidence I've found.

In The Presocratics, Phillip Wheelwright includes a section about Pythagoras. Although the possibly ersatz Cajander quote is not included, these two from The Golden Verses are:

  • 48. Never put your hand to any undertaking until you have first prayed to the gods that you may accomplish what you are about to attempt.
  • 49-50. When you have made this habit [of prayer to the gods] familiar to yourself, then you will know the constitution of the immortal gods and of men.

The Wikipedia page on The Golden Verses of Pythagoras includes the entire set of verses; the next few are these:

  • 51. Even how far the different beings extend, and what contains and binds them together.
  • 52. Thou shalt likewise know that according to Law, the nature of this universe is in all things alike,
  • 53. So that thou shalt not hope what thou ought'st not to hope; and nothing in this world shall be hid from thee.

A paraphrase of this would read Man, pray to the gods; then thou shalt know the Universe and God. So, unless we can find a better source for the Cajander quote, we should move it to the bottom as a misattribution/incorrect paraphrase.

Frederick D. S. Marshall (Toad) (talk) 04:27, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

Attributions in Dictionary of Foreign Phrases and Classical Quotations[edit]

  • χρὴ σιγᾶν ἢ κρείσσονα σιγῆς λέγειν
    • Either be silent, or speak words that are better than silence
      • Dictionary of Foreign Phrases and classical Quotations, page 180 [1]
  • πράττε μεγάλα, μὴ ὑπισχνούμενος μεγάλα
    • Do great actions, but make no great promises
      • Dictionary of Foreign Phrases and classical Quotations, page 169 [2]

I could not find these quotations in a primary source, IOHANNVSVERVS (talk) 15:55, 9 March 2017 (UTC)

The Sayings of the Wise[edit]

The Sayings of the Wise (1555)[edit]

Dispose thy Soul to all good and necessary things!
Quotes of Pythagoras as translated in The Sayings of the Wise: Or, Food for Thought: A Book of Moral Wisdom, Gathered from the Ancient Philosophers (1555) by William Baldwin [1908 edition]
True and perfect Friendship is, to make one heart and mind of many hearts and bodies.
The best and greatest winning is a true friend; and the greatest loss is the loss of time.
  • When a reasonable Soul forsaketh his divine nature, and becometh beast-like, it dieth. For though the substance of the Soul be incorruptible: yet, lacking the use of Reason, it is reputed dead; for it loseth the Intellective Life.
  • A good Soul hath neither too great joy, nor too great sorrow: for it rejoiceth in goodness; and it sorroweth in wickedness. By the means whereof, when it beholdeth all things, and seeth the good and bad so mingled together, it can neither rejoice greatly; nor be grieved with over much sorrow.
  • Order thyself so, that thy Soul may always be in good estate; whatsoever become of thy body.
  • Dispose thy Soul to all good and necessary things!
  • Patience cometh by the grace of the Soul.
  • True and perfect Friendship is, to make one heart and mind of many hearts and bodies.
  • He is not rich, that enjoyeth not his own goods.
  • By Silence, the discretion of a man is known: and a fool, keeping Silence, seemeth to be wise.
  • A fool is known by his Speech; and a wise man by Silence.
  • The King that followeth Truth, and ruleth according to Justice, shall reign quietly: but he that doth the contrary, seeketh another to reign for him.
  • Tell not abroad what thou intendest to do; for if thou speed not, thou shalt be mocked!
  • If thy fellows hurt thee in small things, suffer it! and be as bold with them!
  • Take not thine enemy for thy friend; nor thy friend for thine enemy!
  • Rejoice not in another man's misfortune!
  • Let thy mind rule thy tongue!
  • Hear gladly!
  • Attempt nothing above thy strength!
  • Be not hasty to speak; nor slow to hear!
  • Wish not the thing, which thou mayest not obtain!
  • If thou intend to do any good; tarry not till to-morrow! for thou knowest not what may chance thee this night.
  • Use examples; that such as thou teachest may understand thee the better!
  • Reason not with him, that will deny the principal truths!
  • Honor Wisdom; and deny it not to them that would learn; and shew it unto them that dispraise it! Sow not the sea fields!
  • Wisdom thoroughly learned, will never be forgotten.
    Science is got by diligence; but Discretion and Wisdom cometh of GOD.
  • Without Justice, no realm may prosper.
  • Happy is that City that hath a wise man to govern it.
  • To use Virtue is perfect blessedness.
  • Envy has been, is, and shall be, the destruction of many. What is there, that Envy hath not defamed, or Malice left undefiled? Truly, no good thing.
  • A solitary man is a God, or a beast.
  • None but a Craftsman can judge of a craft.
  • Repentance deserveth Pardon.
  • The best and greatest winning is a true friend; and the greatest loss is the loss of time.
  • It is better to suffer, than to do, wrong.
  • He is worst of all, that is malicious against his friends.
  • Evil destroyeth itself.
  • Better be mute, than dispute with the Ignorant.

Removed quotations with weak sources[edit]

Truth is so great a perfection, that if God would render himself visible to men, he would choose light for his body and truth for his soul.
Sooner throw a pearl at hazard than an idle or useless word; and do not say a little in many words, but a great deal in a few.
There is no word or action but has its echo in Eternity.
Thought is an Idea in transit, which when once released, never can be lured back, nor the spoken word recalled.
The oldest, shortest words— "yes" and "no"— are those which require the most thought.
Time is the soul of this world.
    • Number rules the universe.
    • As quoted in The Story of a Number‎ (1905) by E. Maor; also in Comic Sections (1993) by Desmond MacHale
  • Sobriety is the strength of the soul, for it preserves its reason unclouded by passion.
    • As quoted in The History of Philosophy: From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Present Century (1819) by William Enfield
    • Sobriety is the strength of the mind; for it preserves reason unclouded by passion.
    • Strength of mind rests in sobriety; for this keeps your reason unclouded by passion.
      • As quoted in Dictionary of Quotations from Ancient and Modern English and Foreign Sources (1899) by James Wood
  • None but God is wise.
  • Silence is better than unmeaning words.
    • As quoted in Encyclopaedia Americana (1832) Vol. X, p. 445 edited by Francis Lieber, E. Wigglesworth, and Thomas Gamaliel Bradford
  • If there be light, then there is darkness; if cold, heat; if height, depth; if solid, fluid; if hard, soft; if rough, smooth; if calm, tempest; if prosperity, adversity; if life, death.
    • As quoted in Bibliotheca Sacra and Theological Review by Vol. IV, No. 8 (1847) by Dallas Theological Seminary, p. 107
  • Rest satisfied with doing well, and leave others to talk of you as they please.
    • As quoted in The World's Laconics: Or, The Best Thoughts of the Best Authors (1853) by Everard Berkeley
    • Variant: Rest satisfied with doing well, and leave others to talk of you as they will.
  • As soon as laws are necessary for men, they are no longer fit for freedom.
    • As quoted in Short Sayings of Great Men: With Historical and Explanatory Notes‎ (1882) by Samuel Arthur Bent, p. 454
  • Friends are as companions on a journey, who ought to aid each other to persevere in the road to a happier life.
    • As quoted in Gems of Thought: Being a Collection of More Than a Thousand Choice Selections, Or Aphorisms, from Nearly Four Hundred and Fifty Different Authors, and on One Hundred and Forty Different Subjects (1888). p. 97 by Charles Northend
  • Anger begins in folly, and ends in repentance.
    • As quoted in Treasury of Thought: Forming an Encyclopædia of Quotations from Ancient and Modern Authors (1894) by Maturin Murray Ballou
  • Choose always the way that seems the best, however rough it may be; custom will soon render it easy and agreeable.
    • As quoted in A Dictionary of Thoughts: Being a Cyclopedia of Laconic Quotations from the Best Authors of the World, both Ancient and Modern (1908) by Tyron Edwards, p. 101
  • It is better wither to be silent, or to say things of more value than silence. Sooner throw a pearl at hazard than an idle or useless word; and do not say a little in many words, but a great deal in a few.
    • As quoted in A Dictionary of Thoughts: Being a Cyclopedia of Laconic Quotations from the Best Authors of the World, both Ancient and Modern (1908) by Tyron Edwards, p. 525
  • Truth is so great a perfection, that if God would render himself visible to men, he would choose light for his body and truth for his soul.
    • As quoted in A Dictionary of Thoughts: Being a Cyclopedia of Laconic Quotations from the Best Authors of the World, both Ancient and Modern (1908) by Tyron Edwards, p. 592
  • There is no word or action but has its echo in Eternity.
    Thought is an Idea in transit, which when once released, never can be lured back, nor the spoken word recalled. Nor ever can the overt act be erased All that thou thinkest, sayest, or doest bears perpetual record of itself, enduring for Eternity.
    • As quoted in Pythagoron: The Religious, Moral, and Ethical Teachings of Pythagoras (1947) by Hobart Huson, p. 99
  • There is geometry in the humming of the strings, there is music in the spacing of the spheres.
    • As quoted in The Mystery of Matter‎ (1965) edited by Louise B. Young, p. 113
  • As long as Man continues to be the ruthless destroyer of lower living beings, he will never know health or peace. For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.
    • Attribution to Pythagoras by Ovid, as quoted in The Extended Circle: A Dictionary of Humane Thought (1985) by Jon Wynne-Tyson, p. 260; also in Vegetarian Times, No. 168 (August 1991), p. 4
  • Time is the soul of this world.
  • Most men and women, by birth or nature, lack the means to advance in wealth and power, but all have the ability to advance in knowledge.
    • As quoted in The Golden Ratio (2002) by Mario Livio
  • Man know thyself; then thou shalt know the Universe and God.
    • As quoted in Fragments of Reality: Daily Entries of Lived Life (2006) by Peter Cajander, p. 109
  • The oldest, shortest words— "yes" and "no"— are those which require the most thought.
    • As quoted in Numerology for Relationships: A Guide to Birth Numbers (2006) by Vera Kaikobad, p. 78
  • indirect quotation:
    • It was a maxim of Pythagoras that the two most excellent things for man were to speak the truth, and to render benefits to each other.
      • Joseph Dame Weeks, History of the Knights of Pythias, with an Account of the Life and Times of Damon and Pythias (1874)
  • There is geometry in the humming of the strings. There is music in the spacings of the spheres.
    • As quoted in the preface of the book entitled Music of the Spheres by Guy Murchie (1961)

Golden Verses[edit]

I propose the Golden Verses have their own independent Wikiquote page as they are unlikely to have been written by Pythagoras himself. IOHANNVSVERVS (talk) 18:41, 9 March 2017 (UTC)

  • Quote about the Golden Verses
    • As a moral philosopher, many of his [Pythagoras'] precepts relating to the conduct of life will be found in the verses which bear the name of the Golden Verses of Pythagoras. It is probable they were composed by some one of his school, and contain the substance of his moral teaching.

Authenticity and source of The Symbols of Pythagoras[edit]

Can we find a source for the Symbols of Pythagoras? It is it said on the Wikiquote that they were recorded by Iamblichus of Chalcis, can this be confirmed? Also, they are unlikely attributable to Pythagoras himself. I think they should be removed. IOHANNVSVERVS (talk) 03:28, 10 March 2017 (UTC)