You are watching: Better to be socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied


Source: Utilitarianism

Author: John Stuart Mill

"It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied."

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It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, is of a different opinion, it is only because they only know their own side of the question.


This quote is taken from the philosophical book Utilitarianism, which John Stuart Mill published in 1863.

John Stuart Mill throws down this quote at the beginning of the second chapter of his book Utilitarianism. In this quote, he argues that no reasonable person would ever want to be a dog or a pig just for the sake of being more comfortable. Yes, being human can sometimes cause stress that animals or fools don"t have to deal with. But Mill totally can"t imagine someone wanting to give up their human brain just for the comfort of animal life. Although, sometimes you"ve got to wonder how quite it"d be…

Where you"ve heard it

It doesn"t pop up in any famous movies, books, or songs, but chances are that this quote has reached you in some way. Just imagine yourself looking at a dog and thinking, "Oh man, that dog lives a better life than me." This is the point where you might hear the ghost of J.S. Mill in your head yelling, "You fool! How can you think such a thing?" And if J.S. Mill is right about all this, then it seems as though  The Aristocats has been lying to us all these years.

Pretentious Factor

If you were to drop this quote at a dinner party, would you get an in-unison "awww" or would everyone roll their eyes and never invite you back? Here it is, on a scale of 1-10.


The amount of pretentiousness you"ll show for saying this quote really depends on how much of the thing you say. If you stop after "pig satisfied," you might get away with it. But if you keep going all the way to the end, your level of pretentiousness will go up with every extra word. So if you"re thinking about expressing this kind of thought, you might want to go with something like, "It"s better to be an unhappy person than a happy pig."