A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“Golf and sex are about the only things you can enjoy without being good at it” (11/23)
“An onion will make you cry, but they never have invented a vegetable that will make you laugh” (11/23)
“Some debts are fun when you’re acquiring them, but none are fun when you’re retiring them” (11/23)
“Facebook is like jail” (joke) (11/22)
“If people are trying to bring you down, it only means that you are above them” (11/22)
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Entry from December 04, 2012
“We forgive a child afraid of the dark; the real tragedy is when men are afraid of the light”

"We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light” has been frequently credited since the 1960s to the Greek philosopher Plato (424/423 BC – 348/347 BC), but there is no evidence that Plato ever wrote it. “One can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark, but one cannot forgive a man who is afraid of the light” was cited in print in 1952. “Who is more foolish, the child afraid of the dark of the man afraid of the light?” was cited in print in 1954.

The motivational proverb has been frequently cited in print since the 1950s.


Statements that Plato never made!
(1) “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” This one is repeated multiple times at these sites, for instance:

http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/25669.html
http://www.memorable-quotes.com/plato,a65.html
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/p/plato.html
[It’s even on a T-Shirt!] http://t-shirts.cafepress.com/item/plato-dark-tshirt/80727557

3 September 1952, Bismarck (ND) Tribune, “Dr. Sommerness Emphasizes New Institution Needed,” pg. 5, col. 4:
Dr. Sommerness summed up his speech by stating, “One can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark, but one cannot forgive a man who is afraid of the light.”
(Dr. M. Duane Sommerness, state psychiatrist, speaking before the Bismarck Association for the Handicapped—ed.)

18 September 1954, The Daily Reporter (Dover, OH), pg. 10, col. 4:
SECOND SERMON. Who is more foolish, the child afraid of the dark of the man afraid of the light?

3 January 1955, Holland (MI) Evening Sentinel, pg. 4, col. 2:
It is natural for a little child to be afraid of the dark. it is unnatural for a an adult to be afraid of the light.

8 November 1956, The Times Herald (Carroll, IA), “Across the Principal’s Desk” by Merle M. Reisner, pg. 12, col. 1:
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark, the real tragedy is when men are afraid of the light.

29 January 1957, Nevada State Journal (Reno, NV), pg. 8, col. 1 ad:
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark. The real tragedy is when men are afraid of the light...Anonymous
Walton Funeral Home

Google Books
Apples of Gold
By Jo Petty
Norwalk, CT: C.R. Gibson
1962
Pg. 71:
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark. The real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.

7 August 1964, Christian Science Monitor, pg. 16:
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.—PLATO

14 March 1969, Omaha (NE) World-Herald, “So They Said,” pg. 34, col. 2:
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.—Plato.

Google Books
20,000 Quips & Quotes
By Evan Esar
New York, NY: Barnes & Noble Books
1995, ©1968
Pg. 304:
Too many children are afraid of the dark, and too many adults are afraid of the light.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Tuesday, December 04, 2012 • Permalink