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99 Top Voltaire Quotes That Will Broaden Your Horizon

Famous As: French Historian and Philosopher Known for His Wit and His Pointed Social Critique
Born On: November 21, 1694
Died On: May 30, 1778
Born In: Paris, France
Died At Age: 83
Historian, Philosopher and one of the greatest French Enlightenment writers, Voltaire is famous for his satirical novel Candide, tragic plays Zaire, Nanine, Mahomet, historical works Essay on the Customs and the Spirit of the Nations, The age of Louise XIV and philosophical compilation Micromegas and Plato’s Dream. He showed his literary talents in diverse fields. An alumni of Jesuit Secondary School (Paris), Voltaire received his classical education at College Louis le Grand, where he started his career as an author. At odds with the French authorities due to his political publication “Letters on the English”, he had to flee to safer pastures. He angered both the government and the church for which, he spent fifteen years in exile and was twice imprisoned. Despite these hardships, Voltaire acquired a unique approach towards arts and social history by tracing the progression of ancient and modern world civilizations. While at Prussia, he served Frederick the Great’s court. Paris witnessed his homecoming in 1778 for his contemporary thinking. His encyclopedic dictionary ‘Dictionnaire Philosophique’ rejected the Roman Catholic Church and embraced Enlightenment’s progressive ideals, for which, he’s appreciated all over the world. Voltaire’s life taught us a valuable lesson on condemning baseless practices and thinking out of the box. Voltaire's intelligence and wit is still commended by many, which makes him one of the greatest French writers and philosophers. He was a prolific writer and attracted controversies due to his thoughts and views about social reforms. His thoughts and words were so iconic and became very famous quotes. We have excerpted Voltaire’s greatest quotes from his work, thoughts and general life observations. Presenting a collection of quotes by Voltaire, one of the greatest philosophers and thinkers.
Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

Voltaire
Common sense is not so common.

Common sense is not so common.

Voltaire
Love truth, but pardon error.

Love truth, but pardon error.

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

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 tienne Nol Damilaville, May 16, 1767)

Voltaire
I don’t know where I am going, but I am on my way.

I don’t know where I am going, but I am on my way.

Voltaire
God is a comedian playing to an audience that is too afraid to laugh.

God is a comedian playing to an audience that is too afraid to laugh.

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

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

Voltaire
Dare to think for yourself.

Dare to think for yourself.

Voltaire
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.

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
Now, now my good man, this is no time to be making enemies.

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.)

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.

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
God is a circle whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere.

God is a circle whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere.

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

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

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

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

Voltaire
Doubt is an uncomfortable condition, but certainty is a ridiculous one.

Doubt is an uncomfortable condition, but certainty is a ridiculous one.

Voltaire
The secret of being a bore is to tell everything.

The secret of being a bore is to tell everything.

Voltaire
It is better to risk saving a guilty person than to condemn an innocent one.

It is better to risk saving a guilty person than to condemn an innocent one.

Voltaire
Think for yourself and let others enjoy the privilege of doing so too.

Think for yourself and let others enjoy the privilege of doing so too.

Voltaire
Faith consists in believing what reason cannot.

Faith consists in believing what reason cannot.

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

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

Voltaire
Ice-cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn't illegal.

Ice-cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn't illegal.

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

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

Voltaire
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.

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
If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.

If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.

Voltaire
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.

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
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.

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.

Voltaire
Prejudices are what fools use for reason.

Prejudices are what fools use for reason.

Voltaire
Optimism,

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

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

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

Voltaire
We never live; we are always in the expectation of living.

We never live; we are always in the expectation of living.

Voltaire
You're a bitter man,

You're a bitter man," said Candide. That's because I've lived," said Martin.

Voltaire
What is history? The lie that everyone agrees on...

What is history? The lie that everyone agrees on...

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

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

Voltaire
Don't think money does everything or you are going to end up doing everything for money.

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

Voltaire
Man is free at the instant he wants to be.

Man is free at the instant he wants to be.

Voltaire
The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.

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

Voltaire
Let us cultivate our garden.

Let us cultivate our garden.

Voltaire
Sensual pleasure passes and vanishes, but the friendship between us, the mutual confidence, the delight of the heart, the enchantment of the soul, these things do not perish and can never be destroyed.

Sensual pleasure passes and vanishes, but the friendship between us, the mutual confidence, the delight of the heart, the enchantment of the soul, these things do not perish and can never be destroyed.

Voltaire
No opinion is worth burning your neighbor for.

No opinion is worth burning your neighbor for.

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

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

Voltaire
But for what purpose was the earth formed?

But for what purpose was the earth formed?" asked Candide. "To drive us mad," replied Martin.

Voltaire
It is with books as with men: a very small number play a great part.

It is with books as with men: a very small number play a great part.

Voltaire
The only way to comprehend what mathematicians mean by Infinity is to contemplate the extent of human stupidity.

The only way to comprehend what mathematicians mean by Infinity is to contemplate the extent of human stupidity.

Voltaire
I loved him as we always love for the first time; with idolatry and wild passion.

I loved him as we always love for the first time; with idolatry and wild passion.

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

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

Voltaire
If this is the best of possible worlds, what then are the others?

If this is the best of possible worlds, what then are the others?

Voltaire
Liberty of thought is the life of the soul.

Liberty of thought is the life of the soul.

Voltaire
The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us

The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us

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

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

Voltaire
One day everything will be well, that is our hope. Everything's fine today, that is our illusion

One day everything will be well, that is our hope. Everything's fine today, that is our illusion

Voltaire
Men are equal; it is not birth but virtue that makes the difference.

Men are equal; it is not birth but virtue that makes the difference.

Voltaire
Perfect is the enemy of good.

Perfect is the enemy of good.

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

Voltaire
One great use of words is to hide our thoughts.

One great use of words is to hide our thoughts.

Voltaire
I read only to please myself, and enjoy only what suits my taste.

I read only to please myself, and enjoy only what suits my taste.

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

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

Voltaire
History never repeats itself. Man always does.

History never repeats itself. Man always does.

Voltaire
She blushed and so did he. She greeted him in a faltering voice, and he spoke to her without knowing what he was saying.

She blushed and so did he. She greeted him in a faltering voice, and he spoke to her without knowing what he was saying.

Voltaire
Our labour preserves us from three great evils -- weariness, vice, and want.

Our labour preserves us from three great evils -- weariness, vice, and want.

Voltaire
The happiest of all lives is a busy solitude.

The happiest of all lives is a busy solitude.

Voltaire
Behind every successful man stands a surprised mother-in-law.

Behind every successful man stands a surprised mother-in-law.

Voltaire
I would rather obey a fine lion, much stronger than myself, than two hundred rats of my own species.

I would rather obey a fine lion, much stronger than myself, than two hundred rats of my own species.

Voltaire
To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid - one must also be polite.

To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid - one must also be polite.

Voltaire
Injustice in the end produces independence.

Injustice in the end produces independence.

Voltaire
The best is the enemy of good.

The best is the enemy of good.

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

If God created us in his own image, we have more than reciprocated." (Notebooks)

Voltaire
To hold a pen is to be at war.

To hold a pen is to be at war.

Voltaire
We are rarely proud when we are alone.

We are rarely proud when we are alone.

Voltaire
Opinions have caused more ills than the plague or earthquakes on this little globe of ours.

Opinions have caused more ills than the plague or earthquakes on this little globe of ours.

Voltaire
Madness is to think of too many things in succession too fast, or of one thing too exclusively.

Madness is to think of too many things in succession too fast, or of one thing too exclusively.

Voltaire
Meditation is the dissolution of thoughts in Eternal awareness or Pure consciousness without objectification, knowing without thinking, merging finitude in infinity.

Meditation is the dissolution of thoughts in Eternal awareness or Pure consciousness without objectification, knowing without thinking, merging finitude in infinity.

Voltaire
What can you say to a man who tells you he prefers obeying God rather than men, and that as a result he's certain he'll go to heaven if he cuts your throat?

What can you say to a man who tells you he prefers obeying God rather than men, and that as a result he's certain he'll go to heaven if he cuts your throat?

Voltaire
When it is a question of money, everybody is of the same religion.

When it is a question of money, everybody is of the same religion.

Voltaire
When a man is in love, jealous, and just whipped by the Inquisition, he is no longer himself.

When a man is in love, jealous, and just whipped by the Inquisition, he is no longer himself.

Voltaire
It is hard to free fools from the chains they revere.

It is hard to free fools from the chains they revere.

Voltaire
If you have two religions in your land, the two will cut each other’s throats; but if you have thirty religions, they will dwell in peace

If you have two religions in your land, the two will cut each other’s throats; but if you have thirty religions, they will dwell in peace

Voltaire
Minds differ still more than faces.

Minds differ still more than faces.

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

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

Voltaire
Four thousand volumes of metaphysics will not teach us what the soul is.

Four thousand volumes of metaphysics will not teach us what the soul is.

Voltaire
In every province, the chief occupations, in order of importance, are lovemaking, malicious gossip, and talking nonsense.

In every province, the chief occupations, in order of importance, are lovemaking, malicious gossip, and talking nonsense.

Voltaire
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 cars in order to win the game.

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 cars in order to win the game.

Voltaire
The discovery of what is true and the practice of that which is good are the two most important aims of philosophy.

The discovery of what is true and the practice of that which is good are the two most important aims of philosophy.

Voltaire
Come! you presence will either give me life or kill me with pleasure.

Come! you presence will either give me life or kill me with pleasure.

Voltaire
Reading nurtures the soul, and an enlightened friend brings it solace.

Reading nurtures the soul, and an enlightened friend brings it solace.

Voltaire
Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien. (The perfect is the enemy of the good.)

Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien. (The perfect is the enemy of the good.)

Voltaire
Being unable to make people more reasonable, I preferred to be happy away from them

Being unable to make people more reasonable, I preferred to be happy away from them

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

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

Voltaire
There is a wide difference between speaking to deceive, and being silent to be impenetrable.

There is a wide difference between speaking to deceive, and being silent to be impenetrable.

Voltaire
If we do not find anything very pleasant, at least we shall find something new.

If we do not find anything very pleasant, at least we shall find something new.

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

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

Voltaire
The greatest consolation in life is to say what one thinks.

The greatest consolation in life is to say what one thinks.

Voltaire
In general, the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.

In general, the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.

Voltaire
Martin in particular concluded that man was born to live either in the convulsions of misery, or in the lethargy of boredom.

Martin in particular concluded that man was born to live either in the convulsions of misery, or in the lethargy of boredom.

Voltaire
Love is a canvas furnished by Nature and embroidered by imagination.

Love is a canvas furnished by Nature and embroidered by imagination.

Voltaire