Voltaire – The satirist:


This quote is a product of the mind of your everyday French satirist François-Marie Arouet. He is known to you as his pen name; Voltaire. Voltaire had brilliant wit and used it to analyze everything from your everyday problems to politics and law. Voltaire is by many regarded as the voice of the enlightenment.


When reading up on Voltaire I came across over hundreds of quotes said by this one guy, that I find amazing. How did this guy ever have the time to sleep?  He did not just say smart things, he did also write one of the most influential literary works in the history of time; Candide.


As the quote machine he was chose he sad many wise words but I found one quote more interesting than the rest of them. “Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers” he said. I think that it is a very reflecting quote, and I believe that he has a point. Think about Sir Isaac Newton and his discovery of gravity. He did not discover it because he had all the right answers; it was because he asked the right questions. Why do the apple fall down from the tree he wondered, and then he used his brilliant brain to work out a theory on universal gravitation. It all started with the question.


I see one limitation in Voltaire’s quote though, I do not believe in judging people. Do not judge one if you do not know the person in question, because you will almost certain get the wrong impression of the person. But as judging goes it is better to judge one by the questions rather than answers, because without the questions you have no answers. With questions come knowledge and with knowledge come the answers. That is why the questions say more about one than the answers he or she has.


What about Voltaire then? I said before that he was a satirist. You might ask what that is, what is satire? Satire is a form of literature, which holds up an object’s shortcomings with the intent of shaming individuals or maybe even society itself. Satire often involves ironic and sarcasm, often with wit, making it very funny. Today we often see it at television, two of the most prominent examples is the American cartoons; “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy.”  A Swedish example is the politic satire comedy “Parlamentet.”  Where comedians are divided into two political blocks and debate the issues of the day.


One might even say that Voltaire is an ancestor of “Family Guy”. That makes Voltaire in my mind a very cool philosopher. What about you, do you see the connection between the satiric quotes of François-Marie and today’s satiric comedy? What do you think of satire, do you enjoy it as much as I do when shows like Family Guy makes fun of celebrities?


Do you want to read up on Voltaire? Then check this link out!



Are you interested in the art of satire? Check out this summary on satire, and this  list of satires and satirists, I bet you will recognize a whole lot of them!




By: Andreas Larsson

Postat av: gzylvo











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2011-11-29 @ 04:05:28
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