The Other I

October 27, 2012

What I like about Voltaire

Filed under: Just Stuff,Psychology, Philosophy & Personal Nonsense — theotheri @ 2:36 pm
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Buste De Voltaire

All right, I admit I have not spent much time thinking about Voltaire lately.  In fact, I’ve not spent much time thinking about him at all.    I didn’t even make the mistake of thinking he is the one who said  “I disagree with what you say, but I will defend with my life your right to say it.”   I thought it was Thomas Payne addressing the writers of the U.S. Constitution.

But Voltaire did say some insightful, some funny, and some pithy things.  Helped along with a little prodding from Google, below are a few examples I rather like.

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

I have chosen to be happy because it is good for my health.

Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.

Judge a man by his questions, not by his answers.

It is better to risk sparing a guilty person than to condemn an innocent one.

Voltaire was born more than four centuries ago, and it’s still taken me almost a life time to learn some of these things.  I don’t think evolutionary theory has an adequate explanation for why some of us are such slow learners.

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