Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Voltaire, pen name of François-Marie Arouet NULL

French Satirist, Essayist, Dramatist, Philosopher and Historian

"Life is bristling with thorns, and I know no other remedy than to cultivate one's garden."

"Long ago, someone said that fools found religions, but the prudent govern them"

"Life resembles the banquet of Damocles; the sword is ever suspended."

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

"Lord, protect me from my friends; I can take care of my enemies."

"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."

"Love truth, but please forgive mistakes."

"Los Padres have everything and the people have nothing; 'tis the masterpiece of reason and justice. For my part, I know nothing so divine as Los Padres who make war on Kings of Spain and Portugal and in Europe act as their confessors; who here kill Spaniards and at Madrid send them to Heaven."

"Luck is a word devoid of sense; nothing can exist without a cause."

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

"Man is a free agent. Were it otherwise, the priests could not damn him."

"Man ought to be content, it is said; but with what?"

"Man is not made ??to work, the proof is that the fatigue."

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

"Mankind have a little corrupted nature, for they were not born wolves, and they have become wolves; God has given them neither cannon of four-and-twenty pounders, nor bayonets; and yet they have made cannon and bayonets to destroy one another."

"Many historians take pleasure in putting into the mouths of princes what they have neither said nor ought to have said."

"Martin especially concluded that man was born to live either in a state of distracting inquietude or of lethargic disgust."

"Marriage is the only adventure open to the cowardly"

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

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

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

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

"Men are in general so tricky, so envious, and so cruel, that when we find one who is only weak, we are happy."

"May we not return to those scoundrels of old, the illustrious founders of superstition and fanaticism, who first took the knife from the altar to make victims of those who refused to be their disciples?"

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

"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"

"Men who are occupied in the restoration of health to other men, by the joint exertion of skill and humanity, are above all the great of the earth. They even partake of divinity, since to preserve and renew is almost as noble as to create."

"Men who look for happiness are like drunkards who cannot find their house but know that they have one."

"Men employ speech only to conceal their thoughts."

"Men must have somewhat altered the course of nature; for they were not born wolves, yet they have become wolves. God did not give them twenty-four-pounders or bayonets, yet they have made themselves bayonets and guns to destroy each other. In the same category I place not only bankruptcies, but the law which carries off the bankrupts’ effects, so as to defraud their creditors."

"Men... must have corrupted nature a little, for they were not born wolves, and they have become wolves. God did not give them twenty-four-pounder cannons or bayonets, and they have made bayonets and cannons to destroy each other."

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

"Money is always to be found when men are to be sent to the frontiers to be destroyed: when the object is to preserve them, it is no longer so."

"Metaphysics consists of two parts, first, that which all men of sense already know, and second, that which they can never know."

"Monsieur l'abbé, I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write."

"Minds differ still more than faces"

"Morality is everywhere the same for all men, therefore it comes from God; sects differ, therefore they are the work of men."

"My prayer to God is a very short one "Oh Lord, make my enemies ridiculous!" God has granted it."

"Most of the great men of this world live as if they were atheists. Every man who has lived with his eyes open, knows that the knowledge of a God, his presence, and his justice, has not the slightest influence over the wars, the treaties, the objects of ambition, interest, or pleasure, in the pursuit of which they are wholly occupied."

"Moses: A prophet inspired of God who gave him a holy and righteous law, which he was obliged to change later on, seeing that it had become worthless.... He was the meekest of men, as he himself tells us."

"Nature has made us frivolous to console us for our miseries."

"My soul is the mirror of the universe, and my body is its frame."

"Needless to say since Christ's expiation not one single Christian has been known to sin, or die."

"Never argue at the dinner table, for the one who is not hungry always gets the best of the argument."

"Never having been able to succeed in the world, he took his revenge by speaking ill of it."

"Neither holy, nor Roman, nor Empire."

"No opinion is worth burning your neighbor for."

"No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking."

"No one snowflake ever feels responsible for the avalanche."

"No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible."