Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Someone is wrong on the Internet

This is totally unrelated to anything else I blog about, except that I was looking at some minimalist blogs and kept seeing it. Feel free to roll your eyes and move on.

"The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less." - Socrates

Nope. That's not a quotation from Socrates, the Greek philosopher whose portrait accompanies most of its appearances on various blogs. A small amount of googling shows that it's spoken by a character nicknamed Socrates in a 2006 book by Dan Millman called Way of the Peaceful Warrior. You can find it here on page 162. Totally modern. The character was even played by Nick Nolte in a movie, apparently.

And sure, Socrates was a minimalist, I guess, but only because he thought philosophy was more important than having a job. (Not sure how his wife and kids felt about that.) His philosophy wasn't minimalism, however, and minimalism wasn't one of his philosophical principles.

So just putting that out there. Maybe someday it will be useful to someone trying to find the source of that quotation. It's weird how these false memes replicate themselves.

See also: xkcd.


  1. If someone were ever to make an internet bingo card, misattributed quotes would have to be one square. Not sure what the point of that would be, but yeah. It's surprising how many things folks get wrong and spread and spread and spread and spread....

    1. Definitely! At least I can see how this one came about, unlike some of the weird things attributed to Marilyn Monroe and Abraham Lincoln, et al.


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