Sunday, 15 March 2009


Manchester United 1, Liverpool 4
"I thought we were the better team, but the score doesn't reflect that."
Sir Alex Ferguson

This is the most intelligent entry I have blogged so far. Because hardly a word is written by me.

Sharp-eyed readers will notice that the picture is not the great Sir Alex. It is of a thinker, equally profound, possibly (in my opinion, at least) even more so.
You be the judge.
It is a portrait of Voltaire, one of the wisest men and greatest men who ever lived. You don´t have to take my word for that, as we will see.
Below is a tiny handful of his thoughts.
I doubt if there is this much wisdom in the Bible and Koran combined. They reveal him to be a man of reason, tolerance, decency and humor remarkable even today. And do not forget he lived in a time when to hold mildly contrary views to those of the current church and government could get a body hanged drawn and quartered - and in public too.

Sir Alex should consider himself lucky.

It is also a pity George W. Bush was not familiar with several of the observations below.


All murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.

An ideal form of government is democracy tempered with assassination.

Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit atrocities.

Behind every successful man stands a surprised mother-in-law.

Clever tyrants are never punished.

Common sense is not so common.

Divorce is probably of nearly the same date as marriage. I believe, however, that marriage is some weeks the more ancient.

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

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

Every one goes astray, but the least imprudent are they who repent the soonest.

Everything's fine today, that is our illusion.

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

Fear follows crime and is its punishment.

God is a comedian, playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.

He is a hard man who is only just, and a sad one who is only wise.

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

He was a great patriot, a humanitarian, a loyal friend; provided, of course, he really is dead.

History is only the register of crimes and misfortunes.

I am very fond of truth, but not at all of martyrdom.

I hate women because they always know where things are.

I have lived eighty years of life and know nothing for it, but to be resigned and tell myself that flies are born to be eaten by spiders and man to be devoured by sorrow.

I know many books which have bored their readers, but I know of none which has done real evil.

Ice-cream is exquisite - what a pity it isn't illegal.

If God created us in his own image, we have more than reciprocated.

Illusion is the first of all pleasures.

Is there anyone so wise as to learn by the experience of others?

It is an infantile superstition of the human spirit that virginity would be thought a virtue and not the barrier that separates ignorance from knowledge.

It is better to risk saving a guilty man than to condemn an innocent one.

It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.

Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.

Let us read and let us dance - two amusements that will never do any harm to the world.

Let us work without theorizing, it is the only way to make life endurable.

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.

Man is free at the moment he wishes to be. (The first existentialist? P.)

Men use thought only as authority for their injustice, and employ speech only to conceal their thoughts.

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

No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.

Nothing can be more contrary to religion and the clergy than reason and common sense.

Of all religions, the Christian should of course inspire the most tolerance, but until now Christians have been the most intolerant of all men. (Pre 9-11, of course. P.)

One great use of words is to hide our thoughts.

One merit of poetry few persons will deny: it says more and in fewer words than prose.

Opinion has caused more trouble on this little earth than plagues or earthquakes.

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

Originality is nothing but judicious imitation. The most original writers borrowed one from another.

Prejudices are what fools use for reason.

Stand upright, speak thy thoughts, declare The truth thou hast, that all may share;
Be bold, proclaim it everywhere: They only live who dare.

Superstition is to religion what astrology is to astronomy the mad daughter of a wise mother. These daughters have too long dominated the earth.

The ancient Romans built their greatest masterpieces of architecture, their amphitheaters, for wild beasts to fight in.

The art of government is to make two-thirds of a nation pay all it possibly can pay for the benefit of the other third.

The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.

The best way to be boring is to leave nothing out.

The Holy Roman Empire is neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire.

The husband who decides to surprise his wife is often very much surprised himself.

The infinitely little have a pride infinitely great.

The multitude of books is making us ignorant.

The opportunity for doing mischief is found a hundred times a day, and of doing good once in a year.

The public is a ferocious beast; one must either chain it or flee from it.

The safest course is to do nothing against one's conscience. With this secret, we can enjoy life and have no fear from death.

The superfluous, a very necessary thing.

The true triumph of reason is that it enables us to get along with those who do not possess it.

The truths of religion are never so well understood as by those who have lost the power of reason.

There are truths which are not for all men, nor for all times.

Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too.

Time, which alone makes the reputation of men, ends by making their defects respectable.

To hold a pen is to be at war.

To the living we owe respect, but to the dead we owe only the truth.

Tyrants have always some slight shade of virtue; they support the laws before destroying them.

Very often, say what you will, a knave is only a fool.

We are all full of weakness and errors; let us mutually pardon each other our follies - it is the first law of nature.

We must cultivate our own garden.

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

What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly - that is the first law of nature.

What most persons consider as virtue, after the age of 40 is simply a loss of energy.

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