50 Voltaire Quotes About Life, Injustice and Curiosity

French writer Voltaire

If you’re looking for an intriguing thought or quote about tolerance, acknowledging how little we humans know, or simply staying positive, look no further than Voltaire, or François-Marie Arouet. He was a writer, philosopher, poet, dramatist, historian and polemicist during the French Enlightenment period—and he had a lot to say. Voltaire wrote epic poetry, odes, satire, epistle and light verse. He wrote comedies and tragedies, histories and pamphlets, dialogues and short fictions. It's no wonder we have so many impactful Voltaire quotes to share!

As you’ll see ahead, Voltaire believed in several key themes. He acknowledged the problem of oppression and valued freedom of thought. He encouraged people to not put too much emphasis on money since it can only do so much. He urged people to live their lives to the fullest, to keep learning and to continue asking questions.

Whether or not you agree with his beliefs is up to you, of course—he would probably want you to have your own opinions and way of thinking! And, his thought-provoking ideas are worth consideration.

Without further ado, here are 50 of the most famous quotes from Voltaire.

50 Voltaire Quotes



1. “Better is the enemy of good.”

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

3. “Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.”

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

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

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



7. “Prejudices are what fools use for reason.”

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

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

10. “To hold a pen is to be at war.”

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

12. “I have wanted to kill myself a hundred times, but somehow I am still in love with life."

13. “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.”

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

15. “Is there anyone so wise as to learn by the experience of others?”

16. “Paper money eventually returns to its intrinsic value—zero.”

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

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



19. “Common sense is not so common.”

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

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

22. “You have no control over the hand that life deals you, but how you play that hand is entirely up to you.”

23. “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.”

24. “To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid—one must also be polite.”

25. “Optimism is the madness of insisting that all is well when we are miserable."

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

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

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

29. “Liberty of thought is the life of the soul.”

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

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

32. “My life is a struggle.”

33. “The ear is the avenue to the heart.”

34. "The more often a stupidity is repeated, the more it gets the appearance of wisdom."

35. “Present opportunities are not to be neglected; they rarely visit us twice.”

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36. “The secret of being a bore is to tell everything.”

37. “Fear follows crime and is its punishment.”

38. “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.”

39. “Love truth, but pardon error."

40. “Dare to think for yourself.”

41. “Wherever my travels may lead, paradise is where I am.”

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

43. “All the reasonings of men are not worth one sentiment of women.”

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

45. “It is one of the superstitions of the human mind to have imagined that virginity could be a virtue.”

46. “Let us cultivate our garden.”

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

48. “What a heavy burden is a name that has become too famous.”

49. “The darkness is at its deepest. Just before the sunrise.”

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

Next Up: 50 Thomas Jefferson Quotes About Life, Liberty, and Freedom