38 Most Memorable Quotes By Voltaire


38 Most Memorable Quotes By Voltaire

François-Marie Arouet, or best known as Voltaire (1694 – 1778), 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. He was an outspoken advocate, despite the risk this placed him in under the strict censorship laws of the time. As a satirical polemicist, he frequently made use of his works to criticize intolerance, religious dogma, and the French institutions of his day.

Here are 38 out of his most memorable quotes:

1) “Common sense is not so common.” (A Pocket Philosophical Dictionary)

2) “We never live; we are always in the expectation of living.”

3) “Every man is a creature of the age in which he lives and few are able to raise themselves above the ideas of the time.”

4) “Man is free at the instant he wants to be.”

5) “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” (Questions sur les Miracles à M. Claparede, Professeur de Théologie à Genève, par un Proposant: Ou Extrait de Diverses Lettres de M. de Voltaire)

6) “Prejudices are what fools use for reason.”

7) “The comfort of the rich depends upon an abundant supply of the poor.”

8) “Optimism," said Cacambo, "What is that?" "Alas!" replied Candide, "It is the obstinacy of maintaining that everything is best when it is worst.” (Candide)

9) “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.” (Candide)

10) “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?” (Candide: or, Optimism)

11) “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.”

12) “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.”

13) “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.” (Philosophical Dictionary)

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

15) “It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.” (The Age of Louis XIV)

16) “Cherish those who seek the truth but beware of those who find it.”

17) “It is better to risk saving a guilty person than to condemn an innocent one.” (Zadig)

18) “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.”

19) “Think for yourself and let others enjoy the privilege of doing so too.” (Traité sur la tolérance, à l'occasion de la mort de Jean Calas)

20) "The secret of being a bore is to tell everything" (Sept Discours en Vers sur l'Homme, 1738)

21) “Ice-cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn't illegal.”

22) “Doubt is an uncomfortable condition, but certainty is a ridiculous one.”

23) “Faith consists in believing what reason cannot.” (The Works: Voltaire)

24) “The most important decision you make is to be in a good mood.”

25) “Now, now my good man, this is no time to be making enemies."
(Voltaire on his deathbed in response to a priest asking him that he renounce Satan.)”

26) “God is a circle whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere.”

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

28) “Dare to think for yourself.”

29) “God is a comedian playing to an audience that is too afraid to laugh.”

30) “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.”

31) “I don’t know where I am going, but I am on my way.”

32) “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)

33) “Love truth, but pardon error.”

34) “Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.”

35) “The more I read, the more I acquire, the more certain I am that I know nothing.”

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

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

38) “Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.”

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Thinking Humanity: 38 Most Memorable Quotes By Voltaire
38 Most Memorable Quotes By Voltaire
François-Marie Arouet, or best known as Voltaire (1694 – 1778), 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.
Thinking Humanity
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