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Quotes of the day: Voltaire

Published Thursday, May 30, 2013 @ 12:45 AM EDT
May 30 2013

François-Marie Arouet (November 21, 1694 - May 30, 1778), known by his nom de plume Voltaire, was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit, his attacks on the established Catholic Church, and his advocacy of freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and separation of church and state. Voltaire was a versatile writer, producing works in almost every literary form, including plays, poems, novels, essays, and historical and scientific works. He wrote more than 20,000 letters and more than 2,000 books and pamphlets. As a satirical polemicist, he frequently made use of his works to criticize intolerance, religious dogma, and the French institutions of his day. (Click for full Wikipedia article.)


A long dispute means that both parties are wrong.

A witty saying proves nothing.

Animals have these advantages over man: They have no theologians to instruct them, their funerals cost them nothing, and no one starts lawsuits over their wills.

Appreciation is a wonderful thing: it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.

Common sense is not so common.

Divorce is probably of nearly the same age as marriage. I believe, however, that marriage is some weeks the more ancient.

Do well and you will have no need for ancestors.

Doubt is not a pleasant state of mind, but certainty is absurd.

Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do.

Every sensible man, every honorable man, must hold the Christian sect in horror.

Faith consists in believing what reason cannot.

History is after all only a pack of tricks we play on the dead.

History supplies little more than a list of people who have helped themselves with the property of others.

I advise you to go on living solely to enrage those who are paying your annuities. It is the only pleasure I have left.

I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: "O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous." And God granted it.

If God did not exist it would be necessary to invent Him. But all nature cries aloud that He does exist; that there is a supreme intelligence, an immense power, an admirable order, and everything teaches us our own dependence upon it.

If this is the best of all possible worlds, what are the others like?

It is amusing that a virtue is made of the vice of chastity; and it's a pretty odd sort of chastity at that, which leads men straight into the sin of Onan, and girls to the waning of their color.

It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.

It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.

It is one of the superstitions of the human mind to have imagined that virginity could be a virtue.

It is with books as with men: a very small number play a great part, the rest are lost in the multitude.

Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.

Life is thickly sown with thorns, and I know no other remedy than to pass quickly through them. The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us.

Love truth, but pardon error.

Man is free at the moment he wishes to be.

Marriage is the only adventure open to the cowardly.

Men who seek happiness are like drunkards who can never find their house but are sure that they have one.

Men will always be mad, and those who think they can cure them are the maddest of all.

One always speaks badly when we have nothing to say.

Originality is nothing but judicious imitation.

Paradise on earth is where I am.

Physicians pour drugs of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less, into humans of which they know nothing.

Prejudice is the reason of fools.

Quite a heavy weight, a name too quickly famous.

The English people are like the English beer. Froth on top, dregs at the bottom, the middle excellent.

The great consolation in life is to say precisely what one thinks.

The ideal form of government is democracy tempered with assassination.

The secret of being a bore is to tell everything.

There are some that only employ words for the purpose of disguising their thoughts.

There has never been a perfect government, because men have passions; and if they did not have passions, there would be no need for government.

Those who can make you believe in absurdities can also make you commit atrocities.

To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered.

Virtue debases in justifying itself.

We should be considerate to the living; to the dead we owe only the truth.

What most persons consider as virtue, after the age of 40 is simply a loss of energy.

When it is a question of money all men are of the same religion.

Work keeps us from three great evils: boredom, vice, and poverty.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Voltaire


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