François-Marie Arouet (1694-1778)

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

“Prejudices are what fools use for reason.”

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

“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.”

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

“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.”

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

“Every man is guilty of all the good he didn’t do”

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

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

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

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

“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”

“The true triumph of reason is that it enables us to get along with those who do not possess it.”

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

“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.”

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

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

“To enjoy life, we must touch much of it lightly”

“Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd, and bloody religion that has ever infected the world”

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

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

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

“The more I read, the more I meditate; and the more I acquire, the more I am enabled to affirm that I know nothing”

“It is not enough to conquer; one must also know how to seduce”

“Common sense is not so common.”

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

“One always speaks badly when one has nothing to say”

“Once the people begin to reason, all is lost”

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

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

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

“All men have equal rights to liberty, to their property, and to the protection of the laws”

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

“There are men who can think no deeper than a fact”

“Self-love is the instrument of our preservation.”

“To succeed in chaining the multitude, you must seem to wear the same fetters”

“The very impossibility in which I find myself to prove that God is not, discovers to me his existence.”

“Nature has always had more power than education”

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

“The biggest reward for a thing well done is to have done it”

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

“Truth is a fruit which should not be plucked until it is ripe.”

“Doubt is uncomfortable, certainty is ridiculous.”

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

“The pursuit of what is true and the practice of what is good are the two most important objects of philosophy.”

“Exaggeration, the inseparable companion of greatness”

“The truths of religion are never so well understood as by those who have lost their power of reasoning”

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

“We cannot wish for that we know not.”

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

“You can never correct your work well until you have forgotten it”

“Men argue, nature acts”

“To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered.”

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

“He who thinks himself wise, O heavens! is a great fool”

“The great consolation in life is to say what one thinks”

“Your destiny is that of a man, and your vows those of a god.”

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

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

“I keep to old books, for they teach me something; from the new I learn very little.”

“To believe in God is impossible – to not believe in Him is absurd”

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

“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.”

“To announce truths is an infallible receipt for being persecuted.”

“There are truths that are not for all men, nor for all occasions”

“One of the chief misfortunes of honest people is that they are cowardly.”

“For seventeen hundred years the Christian sect has done nothing but harm”

“Everything persecutes me in this world, even things that do not exist”

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

“If God created us in His image we have certainly returned the compliment.”

“Every abuse ought to be reformed, unless the reform is more dangerous than the abuse itself.”

“Only your friends steal your books”

“When its a question of money, everybody is of the same religion.”

“It is far better to be silent than merely to increase the quantity of bad books”

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

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

“Of all religions, Christianity is without a doubt the one that should inspire tolerance most, although, up to now, the Christians have been the most intolerant of all men”

“Philosopher: A lover of wisdom, which is to say, Truth”

“Poetry is the music of the soul, and, above all, of great and feeling souls.”

“Man is free at the moment he wishes to be.”

“We are all full of weakness and errors; let us mutually pardon each other our follies it is the first law of nature.”

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

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

“True greatness consists in the use of a powerful understanding to enlighten oneself and others”

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

“Work spares us from three evils: boredom, vice, and need”

“To hold a pen is to be at war.”

“I know of no great men except those who have rendered great service to the human race.”

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

“I cannot imagine how the clockwork of the universe can exist without a clockmaker.”

“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.”

“A witty saying proves nothing.”

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

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

“All succeeds with people who are of cheerful disposition”

“A long dispute means both parties are wrong”

“Marriage is the only adventure open to the cowardly”

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

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

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

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

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

“History is nothing but a pack of tricks that we play upon the dead”

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

“Men appear to prefer to ruin one another’s fortunes, and to cut each other’s throats over a few miserable villages, than to extend the means of human happiness”

“The ear is the avenue to the heart.”

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

“Tears are the silent language of grief”

“Indeed, history is nothing more than a tableau of crimes and misfortunes.”

“Injustice in the end produces independence.”

“History is fables agreed upon.”

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

“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.”

“When we hear news we should always wait for the sacrament of confirmation”

“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”

“If you wish to converse with me, define your terms”

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

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

“All the citizens of a state cannot be equally powerful, but they may be equally free”

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

“It is as impossible to translate poetry as it is to translate music.”

“Pleasure is the object, duty and the goal of all rational creatures.”

“Since the whole affair had become one of religion, the vanquished were of course exterminated”

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

“The punishment of criminals should be of use; when a man is hanged he is good for nothing”

“The true character of liberty is independence, maintained by force”

“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.”

“Clever tyrants are never punished.”

“We owe respect to the living. To the dead we owe only truth.”

“Governments need to have both shepherds and butchers.”

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

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

“Tyrants have always some slight shade of virtue; they support the laws before destroying them”

“Prejudice is the reason of fools”

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

“It requires ages to destroy a popular opinion”

“We must distinguish between speaking to deceive and being silent to be reserved.”

“Prejudice is an opinion without judgment”

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

“Whatever you do, stamp out abuses, and love those who love you.”

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

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

“A man loved by a beautiful woman will always get out of trouble”

“The poor man is never free; he serves in every country”

“Love truth, but pardon error”

“Work is often the father of pleasure.”

“Nature has made us frivolous to console us for our miseries”

“Verses which do not teach men new and moving truths do not deserve to be read.”

“Smart tyrants retire rich”

“History is no more than the portrayal of crimes and misfortunes”

“Man is a free agent; were it otherwise, the priests could not damn him”

“Providence has given us hope and sleep as a compensation for the many cares of life”

“All the known world, excepting only savage nations, is governed by books.”

“Superstitious man is to the rogue what the slave is to the tyrant”

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

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

“The Pope is an idol whose hands are tied and whose feet are kissed.”

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

“Anything too stupid to be said is sung.”

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

“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.”

“To be at peace in crime! ah, who can thus flatter himself.”

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

“I advice you to go on living solely to enrage those who are paying you annuities.”

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

“My prayer to God is a very short one: ”O Lord, make my enemies look ridiculous!” God has granted it.”

“What will the preachers say? … to teach men not to persecute men: for, while a few sanctimonious humbugs are burning a few fanatics, the earth opens and swallows up all alike.”

“In this country it’s a good thing to kill an admiral now and then to encourage the others.”

“A fool is a person who guesses and gets it wrong, a clever man is one who guesses, regardless of time period, and gets it right”

“I am convinced that everything has come down to us from the banks of the Ganges, – astronomy, astrology, metempsychosis, etc. It is very important to note that some 2,500 years ago at the least Pythagoras went from Samos to the Ganges to learn geometry…But he would certainly not have undertaken such a strange journey had the reputation of the Brahmins’ science not been long established in Europe.”

“The fate of a nation is often dependent upon the good or bad digestion of a prime minister.”

“Regimen is superior to medicine, especially as, from time immemorial, out of every hundred physicians, ninety-eight are charlatans”

“The superfluous, a very necessary thing”

“Some will shine in the second rank who are lost in the first”

“The history of human opinion is scarcely anything, more than the history of human errors”

“Needless to say since Christ’s expiation not one single Christian has been known to sin, or die”

“If death did not exist today, it would be necessary to invent it”

“Antiquity is full of eulogies of another more remote antiquity”

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

“Those who are absent, by its means become present: it (mail) is the consolation of life”

“It is easier to write on money than to obtain it, and those who gain it, jest much at those who only know how to write about it”

“Liberty guest amiable, Plants both elbows on the table”

“One merit of poetry few persons will deny; it says more, and in few words, than prose”

“I doubt not that in due time, when the arts are brought to perfection, some means will be found to give a sound head to a man who has none at all”

“The United States has subcontracted Brazil for security and Canada for economic development. But they’re all reporting to Washington. The final decisions are made there,”

“What’s been happening here is that vendors are coming out with so many different products, the carrier’s main concern is how to manage their bandwidth,”

“What will the preachers say?”

“This interim government would have fallen without the United States,”

“The United States is speaking out of both sides of its mouth,”

“Once: a philosopher… twice: a pervert.”

“Once: a philosopher… twice: a pervert.”

“Doubt is not a pleasant mental state, but certainty is a ridiculous one.”

“God is always on the side of the heaviest battalions.”

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

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

“This self-love is the instrument of our preservation; it resembles the provision for the perpetuity of mankind: it is necessary, it is dear to us, it gives us pleasure, and we must conceal it.”

“My life is a struggle.”

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

“All styles are good except the tiresome kind.”

“Everything is for the best in this best of possible worlds.”

“Originality is nothing but judicious plagiarism.”

“Independence in the end is the fruit of injustice.”

“All people are equal, it is not birth, it is virtue alone that makes the difference.”

“Work banishes those three great evils: boredom, vice and poverty.”

“Friends should be preferred to kings.”

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

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

“Prejudice is opinion without judgement.”

“Society therefore is an ancient as the world.”

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