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  • Randi

A Seventeenth Century Rascal

François-Marie Arouet, more commonly known as Voltaire, influenced many prominent Enlightenment figures in the seventeenth century. His works and ideas were radical and at times very controversial. Voltaire was born in Paris, the youngest of five children; and eventually pursued his dream of becoming a writer. He began with poetry and moved on to producing essays and historical studies. Of the many attributes I admire in this philosopher, his wittiness is among my favorite. From what I have read, Voltaire was a rascal (you can even see it in his eyes); and was not keen on keeping his thoughts to himself. But I suppose without his audacity, he might not be as remembered as he is today.

Here is just a sample of a few of Voltaire’s thoughts I find compelling:

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

“Prejudices are what fools use for reason.”

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

“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.”

“If Christians want us to believe in a Redeemer, let them act redeemed.”

“Common sense is not so common.”

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

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

“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.”

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


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