Voltaire Quotes

A list created by Lee sonogan

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From a man that would say a witty quote means nothing, the writer and philosopher of the 17h France century was known as a satirical polemicist with the gift of the gab. An advocate of civil liberties his work focused on freedom of speech, freedom of religion and separation of church and state. Fighting censorship at the time, he consistently criticized intolerance and what he considered religious dogma at French institutions of his day.

  • “Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.” ― Voltaire
  • “Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” ― Voltaire
  • “It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.” ― Voltaire
  • “The more I read, the more I acquire, the more certain I am that I know nothing.” ― Voltaire
  • “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”Voltaire, Questions sur les Miracles à M. Claparede, Professeur de Théologie à Genève, par un Proposant: Ou Extrait de Diverses Lettres de M. de Voltaire
  • “Common sense is not so common.” ― Voltaire, A Pocket Philosophical Dictionary
  • “I have wanted to kill myself a hundred times, but somehow I am still in love with life. This ridiculous weakness is perhaps one of our more stupid melancholy propensities, for is there anything more stupid than to be eager to go on carrying a burden which one would gladly throw away, to loathe one’s very being and yet to hold it fast, to fondle the snake that devours us until it has eaten our hearts away?” ― Voltaire, Candide: or, Optimism
  • “The human brain is a complex organ with the wonderful power of enabling man to find reasons for continuing to believe whatever it is that he wants to believe.” ― Voltaire
  • “Don’t think money does everything or you are going to end up doing everything for money.” ― Voltaire
  • “I should like to know which is worse: to be ravished a hundred times by pirates, and have a buttock cut off, and run the gauntlet of the Bulgarians, and be flogged and hanged in an auto-da-fe, and be dissected, and have to row in a galley — in short, to undergo all the miseries we have each of us suffered — or simply to sit here and do nothing?’That is a hard question,’ said Candide.” ― Voltaire, Candide
  • “I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: Oh Lord, make my enemies ridiculous. And God granted it.” (Letter to Étienne Noël Damilaville, May 16, 1767)” ― Voltaire
  • “God is a comedian playing to an audience that is too afraid to laugh.”Voltaire
  • “Fools have a habit of believing that everything written by a famous author is admirable. For my part I read only to please myself and like only what suits my taste.” ― Voltaire, Candide
  • “Despite the enormous quantity of books, how few people read! And if one reads profitably, one would realize how much stupid stuff the vulgar herd is content to swallow every day.” ― Voltaire
  • “God is a circle whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere.” ― Voltaire
  • “The secret of being a bore is to tell everything.” ― Voltaire
  • “Think for yourself and let others enjoy the privilege of doing so too.” ― Voltaire, Traité sur la tolérance, à l’occasion de la mort de Jean Calas
  • “Our wretched species is so made that those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road.” ― Voltaire, Philosophical Dictionary
  • “Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her; but once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game.” ― Voltaire
  • “One great use of words is to hide our thoughts.” ― Voltaire
  • “I would rather obey a fine lion, much stronger than myself, than two hundred rats of my own species.” ― Voltaire
  • “History never repeats itself. Man always does.” ― Voltaire
  • “The happiest of all lives is a busy solitude.” ― Voltaire
  • “Ice-cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal.” ― Voltaire

There is probably hundred more good ones that I have missed for this list. These pioneers of thought are always a credible source to research on a particularly engaging piece of history. Writing over 20,000 letters and 2000 books, the man should be talked about more as an important figure of the world.



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