Quotes by Voltaire

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François Marie Arouet (who later assumed the name Voltaire) was born in Paris on November 21, 1694. The family was wealthy, his father was a notary and his mother maintained contacts with friends interested in belles-lettres and Deism.

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May God defend me from my friends; I can defend myself from my enemies.

Judge a person by their questions, rather than their answers.
I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
In my life, I have prayed but one prayer: oh Lord, make my enemies ridiculous. And God granted it.
It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.
If we do not find anything very pleasant, at least we shall find something new.
If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him.
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.
We are all full of weakness and errors; let us mutually pardon each other our follies it is the first law of nature.
As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities.
To the living we owe respect, but to the dead we owe only the truth.
Common sense is not so common.
The only way to compel men to speak good of us is to do it.
The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.
It is hard to free fools from the chains they revere.
Work banishes those three great evils: boredom, vice and poverty.
Prejudices are what fools use for reason.
It is not love that should be depicted as blind, but self-love.
I know of no great man except those who have rendered great services to the human race.
The husband who decides to surprise his wife is often very much surprised himself.
You must have the devil in you to succeed in the arts.
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.
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.
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.
Originality is nothing but judicious plagiarism.
The punishment of criminals should serve a purpose. When a man is hanged he is useless.
Many are destined to reason wrongly; others, not to reason at all; and others, to persecute those who do reason.
I should like to lie at your feet and die in your arms.
Chance is a word void of sense; nothing can exist without a cause.
I know of nothing more laughable than a doctor who does not die of old age.
A long dispute means that both parties are wrong
Tears are the silent language of grief.
When it is a question of money, everybody is of the same religion.
He must be very ignorant for he answers every question he is asked.
The best government is a benevolent tyranny tempered by an occasional assassination.
To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered.
Do well and you will have no need for ancestors.
He is a hard man who is only just, and a sad one who is only wise.
Love is a canvas furnished by Nature and embroidered by imagination.
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.
Superstition is to religion what astrology is to astronomy; the mad daughter of a wise mother.
The best is the enemy of the good.
All people are equal, it is not birth, it is virtue alone that makes the difference.
Divorce is probably of nearly the same date as marriage. I believe, however, that marriage is some weeks the more ancient.
Doubt is not a pleasant mental state, but certainty is a ridiculous one.
We never live; we are always in the expectation of living.
If there were only one religion in England there would be danger of despotism, if there were two, they would cut each other's throats, but there are thirty, and they live in peace and happiness.
Perfection is attained by slow degrees; she requires the hand of time.
Pleasure is the object, duty and the goal of all rational creatures.
Verses which do not teach men new and moving truths do not deserve to be read.
The infinitely little have a pride infinitely great.
No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking.
The true triumph of reason is that it enables us to get along with those who do not possess it.
Rest is a good thing, but boredom is its brother.
I believe that there never was a creator of a philosophical system who did not confess at the end of his life that he had wasted his time. It must be admitted that the inventors of the mechanical arts have been much more useful to men that the inventors of syllogisms. He who imagined a ship towers considerably above him who imagined innate ideas.
Shun idleness is the rust that attaches itself to the most brilliant metals.
By appreciation, we make excellence in others our own property.