Words of Wisdom—Voltaire

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François-Marie Arouet (November 21st, 1694 – May 30th, 1778), also known as his pen name Voltaire, was one of the first internationally successful writers. He wrote more than 2,000 books and pamphlets and 20,000 letters, along with plays, essays, poems, and scientific expositions. He was an advocate of freedom of speech and religion.

Below are words of wisdom from Voltaire.

“If you want to know who controls you, look at who you are not allowed to criticize.”

“If there’s life on other planets, then the earth is the Universe’s insane asylum.”

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

“The more often a stupidity is repeated, the more it gets the appearance of wisdom.”

“So long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannize will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious and otherwise, to put shackles upon sleeping men.”

“The right to free speech is more important than the content of the speech.”

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

“Doctors put drugs of which they know little into bodies of which they know less for diseases of which they know nothing at all.”

“Many are destined to reason wrongly; others, not to reason at all; and others, to persecute those who do reason.”

“Those who can be made to believe absurdities can be made to commit atrocities.”

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

“It is dangerous to be right in matters where established men are wrong.”

“Everything you say should be true, but not everything true should be said.”

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

“The mirror is a worthless invention. The only way to truly see yourself is in the reflection of someone else’s eyes.”

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

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

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

“Is politics nothing other than the art of deliberately lying?”

“Beware of the words “internal security,” for they are the eternal cry of the oppressor.”

“The more a man knows, the less he talks.”

“Don’t think money does everything or you are going to end up doing everything for money.”

“It is not inequality which is the real misfortune, it is dependence.”

“Animals have these advantages over man: they never hear the clock strike, they die without any idea of death, they have no theologians to instruct them, their last moments are not disturbed by unwelcome and unpleasant ceremonies, their funerals cost them nothing, and no one starts lawsuits over their wills.”

“Prejudices are what fools use for reason.”

“Give me the patience for the small things of life, courage for the great trials of life. Help me to do my best each day and then go to sleep knowing God is awake.”

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

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

“Dare to think for yourself.”

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

“Common sense is not so common.”

“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.”

“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.”

“We are all guilty of the good we did not do”

“It is clear that the individual who persecutes a man, his brother, because he is not of the same opinion, is a monster.”

“The happiest of all lives is a busy solitude.”

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

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

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One thought on “Words of Wisdom—Voltaire

  1. Mary Jayne Herfurth

    My personal favorite of all the quotes listed here: “If there’s life on other planets, then the earth is the Universe’s insane asylum.”


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