What has not been examined impartially has not been well examined. Skepticism is therefore the first step toward truth.
We swallow with one gulp the lie that flatters us, and drink drop by drop the truth which is bitter to us.
Impenetrable in their dissimulation, cruel in their vengeance, tenacious in their purposes, unscrupulous as to their methods, animated by profound and hidden hatred for the tyranny of man—it is as though there exists among them an ever-present conspiracy toward domination, a sort of alliance like that subsisting among the priests of every country.
There are three principal means of acquiring knowledge available to us: observation of nature, reflection, and experimentation. Observation collects facts; reflection combines them; experimentation verifies the result of that combination. Our observation of nature must be diligent, our reflection profound, and our experiments exact. We rarely see these three means combined; and for this reason, creative geniuses are not common.
To attempt the destruction of our passions is the height of folly. What a noble aim is that of the zealot who tortures himself like a madman in order to desire nothing, love nothing, feel nothing, and who, if he succeeded, would end up a complete monster!
The pit of a theatre is the one place where the tears of virtuous and wicked men alike are mingled.
I like better for one to say some foolish thing upon important matters than to be silent. That becomes the subject of discussion and dispute, and the truth is discovered.
Distance is a great promoter of admiration!.
Ignorance is less remote from the truth than prejudice.
Virtue is praised, but hated. People run from it, for it is ice-cold and in this world you have to keep your feet warm.
The possibility of divorce renders both marriage partners stricter in their observance of the duties they owe to each other. Divorces help to improve morals and to increase the population.
The world is the house of the strong. I shall not know until the end what I have lost or won in this place, in this vast gambling den where I have spent more than sixty years, dicebox in hand, shaking the dice.
Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest
We are far more liable to catch the vices than the virtues of our associates.
No man has received from nature the right to give orders to others. Freedom is a gift from heaven, and every individual of the same species has the right to enjoy it as soon as he is in enjoyment of his reason.
His hands would plait the priests guts, if he had no rope, to strangle kings.
Good music is very close to primitive language.
Philosophy is as far separated from impiety as religion is from fanaticism.
All abstract sciences are nothing but the study of relations between signs.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Voltaire French Philosopher, Author
- Georges Bataille French Essayist, Intellectual
- Marquis de Sade French Political leader
- Albert Camus Algerian-born French Philosopher
- Jean-Paul Sartre French Philosopher
- Simone de Beauvoir French Philosopher
- Roland Barthes French Literary Theorist
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau French Philosopher
- Michel de Montaigne French Essayist
- Pierre Teilhard de Chardin French Jesuit Scientist