December 1, 2016

Voltaire Quotes

“A witty saying proves nothing.”

“All men are born with a nose and ten fingers, but no one was born with a knowledge of God.”

“All murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.”

“All sects are different, because they come from men; morality is everywhere the same, because it comes from God.”

“All styles are good except the tiresome kind.”

“All the reasonings of men are not worth one sentiment of women.”

“An ideal form of government is democracy tempered with assassination.”

“Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices.”

“Anyone who seeks to destroy the passions instead of controlling them is trying to play the angel.”

“Anything that is too stupid to be spoken is sung.”

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

“As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities.”

“Ask a toad what is beauty…; he will answer that it is a female with two great round eyes coming out of her little head, a large flat mouth, a yellow belly and a brown back.”

“Better is the enemy of good.”

“Business is the salt of life.”

“By appreciation, we make excellence in others our own property.”

“Chance is a word void of sense; nothing can exist without a cause.”

“Clever tyrants are never punished.”

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

“Do well and you will have no need for ancestors.”

“Doctors are men who prescribe medicines of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less, in human beings of whom they know nothing.”

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.”

“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.”

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

“Every man is the creature of the age in which he lives; very few are able to raise themselves above the ideas of the time.”

“Every one goes astray, but the least imprudent are they who repent the soonest.”

“Everyone should be his own physician. We ought to assist and not force nature. Eat with moderation what agrees with your constitution. Nothing is good for the body but what we can digest. What medicine can produce digestion? Exercise. What will recruit strength? Sleep. What will alleviate incurable ills? Patience.”

“Everything’s fine today, that is our illusion.”

“Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe.”

“Fear follows crime and is its punishment.”

“Friendship is the marriage of the soul, and this marriage is liable to divorce.”

“Froth at the top, dregs at bottom, but the middle excellent.”

“God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.”

“God is a comedian, playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.”

“God is not on the side of the big battalions, but on the side of those who shoot best.”

“God prefers bad verses recited with a pure heart, to the finest verses possible chanted by the wicked.”

“Governments need to have both shepherds and butchers.”

“He is a hard man who is only just, and a sad one who is only wise.”

“He must be very ignorant for he answers every question he is asked.”

“He shines in the second rank, who is eclipsed in the first.”

“He was a great patriot, a humanitarian, a loyal friend; provided, of course, he really is dead.”

“He who has not the spirit of this age, has all the misery of it.”

“He who is not just is severe, he who is not wise is sad.”

“Historians are gossips who tease the dead.”

“History is a pack of lies we play on the dead.”

“History is only the pattern of silken slippers descending the stairs to the thunder of hobnailed boots climbing upward from below.”

“History is only the register of crimes and misfortunes.”

“History should be written as philosophy.”

“How I like the boldness of the English, how I like the people who say what they think!”

“How inexpressible is the meanness of being a hypocrite! how horrible is it to be a mischievous and malignant hypocrite.”

“How pleasant it is for a father to sit at his child’s board. It is like an aged man reclining under the shadow of an oak which he has planted.”

“I am very fond of truth, but not at all of martyrdom.”

“I die adoring God, loving my friends, not hating my enemies, and detesting superstition.”

“I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.”

“I hate women because they always know where things are.”

“I have always made one prayer to God, a very short one. Here it is: My God, make our enemies very ridiculous! God has granted it to me.”

“I have lived eighty years of life and know nothing for it, but to be resigned and tell myself that flies are born to be eaten by spiders and man to be devoured by sorrow.”

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

“I know many books which have bored their readers, but I know of none which has done real evil.”

“I should like to lie at your feet and die in your arms.”

“Ice-cream is exquisite – what a pity it isn’t illegal.”

“Ideas are like beards; men do not have them until they grow up.”

“If God created us in his own image, we have more than reciprocated.”

“If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him.”

“If there were no God, it would be necessary to invent him.”

“Illusion is the first of all pleasures.”

“In every author let us distinguish the man from his works.”

“In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one class of citizens to give to another.”

“In this country it is a good thing to kill an admiral from time to time to encourage the others.”

“Injustice in the end produces independence.”

“Is there anyone so wise as to learn by the experience of others?”

“It is an infantile superstition of the human spirit that virginity would be thought a virtue and not the barrier that separates ignorance from knowledge.”

“It is better to risk saving a guilty man than to condemn an innocent one.”

“It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.”

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

“It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.”

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

“It is lamentable, that to be a good patriot one must become the enemy of the rest of mankind.”

“It is not enough to conquer; one must learn to seduce.”

“It is not known precisely where angels dwell whether in the air, the void, or the planets. It has not been God’s pleasure that we should be informed of their abode.”

“It is not love that should be depicted as blind, but self-love.”

“It is not sufficient to see and to know the beauty of a work. We must feel and be affected by it.”

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

“It is said that the present is pregnant with the future.”

“It is the flash which appears, the thunderbolt will follow.”

“It is vain for the coward to flee; death follows close behind; it is only by defying it that the brave escape.”

“Let us read and let us dance – two amusements that will never do any harm to the world.”

“Let us work without theorizing, tis the only way to make life endurable.”

“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 has features which pierce all hearts, he wears a bandage which conceals the faults of those beloved. He has wings, he comes quickly and flies away the same.”

“Love is a canvas furnished by nature and embroidered by imagination.”

“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 are in general so tricky, so envious, and so cruel that when we find one who is only weak, we are too happy.”

“Men hate the individual whom they call avaricious only because nothing can be gained from him.”

“Men use thought only as authority for their injustice, and employ speech only to conceal their thoughts.”

“Men use thought only to justify their wrong doings, and employ speech only to conceal their thoughts.”

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

“My life is a struggle.”

“Nature has always had more force than education.”

“Never argue at the dinner table, for the one who is not hungry always gets the best of the argument.”

“No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking.”

“Nothing can be more contrary to religion and the clergy than reason and common sense.”

“Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.”

“Of all religions, the Christian should of course inspire the most tolerance, but until now Christians have been the most intolerant of all men.”

“One day everything will be well, that is our hope: Everything’s fine today, that is our illusion.”

“One great use of words is to hide our thoughts.”

“One merit of poetry few persons will deny: it says more and in fewer words than prose.”

“Opinion has caused more trouble on this little earth than plagues or earthquakes.”

“Optimism is the madness of insisting that all is well when we are miserable.”

“Originality is nothing but judicious imitation. The most original writers borrowed one from another.”

“Our country is that spot to which our heart is bound.”

“Paradise was made for tender hearts; hell, for loveless hearts.”

“Perfection is attained by slow degrees; it requires the hand of time.”

“Prejudices are what fools use for reason.”

“Present opportunities are not to be neglected; they rarely visit us twice.”

“Satire lies about literary men while they live and eulogy lies about them when they die.”

“Shun idleness. It is a rust that attaches itself to the most brilliant metals.”

“Society therefore is an ancient as the world.”

“Stand upright, speak thy thoughts, declare The truth thou hast, that all may share; Be bold, proclaim it everywhere: They only live who dare.”

“Superstition is to religion what astrology is to astronomy the mad daughter of a wise mother. These daughters have too long dominated the earth.”

“Superstition sets the whole world in flames; philosophy quenches them.”

“Tears are the silent language of grief.”

“The ancient Romans built their greatest masterpieces of architecture, their amphitheaters, for wild beasts to fight in.”

“The ancients recommended us to sacrifice to the Graces, but Milton sacrificed to the Devil.”

“The art of government is to make two-thirds of a nation pay all it possibly can pay for the benefit of the other third.”

“The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.”

“The best government is a benevolent tyranny tempered by an occasional assassination.”

“The best is the enemy of the good.”

“The best way to be boring is to leave nothing out.”

“The ear is the avenue to the heart.”

“The first step, my son, which one makes in the world, is the one on which depends the rest of our days.”

“The flowery style is not unsuitable to public speeches or addresses, which amount only to compliment. The lighter beauties are in their place when there is nothing more solid to say; but the flowery style ought to be banished from a pleading, a sermon, or a didactic work.”

“The Holy Roman Empire is neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire.”

“The husband who decides to surprise his wife is often very much surprised himself.”

“The infinitely little have a pride infinitely great.”

“The instruction we find in books is like fire. We fetch it from our neighbours, kindle it at home, communicate it to others, and it becomes the property of all.”

“The man who leaves money to charity in his will is only giving away what no longer belongs to him.”

“The public is a ferocious beast; one must either chain it or flee from it.”

“The secret of being a bore… is to tell everything.”

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

“Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too.”

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

“To hold a pen is to be at war.”

“We cannot always oblige; but we can always speak obligingly.”

“We have a natural right to make use of our pens as of our tongue, at our peril, risk and hazard.”

“We must cultivate our garden.”

“What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other’s folly – that is the first law of nature.”

“Whoever serves his country well has no need of ancestors.”

“Woe to the makers of literal translations, who by rendering every word weaken the meaning! It is indeed by so doing that we can say the letter kills and the spirit gives life.”

“Work saves us from three great evils: boredom, vice and need.”

“You despise books; you whose lives are absorbed in the vanities of ambition, the pursuit of pleasure or indolence; but remember that all the known world, excepting only savage nations, is governed by books.”

“You must have the devil in you to succeed in the arts.”