Candide, ou l’Optimisme

This book’s title was a French satire first published in 1759 by the “Age of Enlightenment” philosopher, Voltaire.

The novella has been widely translated, with English versions titled Candide: or, “All for the Best” (1759); Candide: or, “The Optimist” (1762)

I am drawing a parallel to the Baby Boomer’s disillusionment of seeing their “Golden Retirement Years” being destroyed by the finical pirated Social Security, Medicare Funding, and personal 401K funds, with the reality awakening of the main character Candide’s.

The book begins with a young man, Candide, who is living a sheltered life in an Edenic (Garden of Eden like) paradise and being indoctrinated with Leibnizian optimism (or simply Optimism) by his mentor, Pangloss. The work describes the abrupt cessation of this lifestyle, followed by Candide’s slow, painful disillusionment as he witnesses and experiences great hardships in the world. Voltaire concludes with Candide, if not rejecting optimism outright, advocating an enigmatic precept, “we must cultivate our garden”, in lieu of the Leibnizian mantra of Pangloss, “all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds.”  (The return of the Middle Class’s Reclaiming Power)

Candide is characterised by its sarcastic tone, complimented by an erratic, fantastic and fast moving plot. A humorous story that details the adventures of a roguish hero of low social class, who lives by his wits in a corrupt society with a story similar to that of a more serious “Coming Of Age” story, and it parodies many adventure and romance clichés, plus the struggles of which are caricatured in a tone that is sharply caustic, “Matter Of Fact.”  In essence, Candide is what we would know as “Middle Class” suffering the consequences that were brought on by others and situations beyond his control; much like the current events we are having to deal with today.

In this book Voltaire ridicules religion, theologians, governments, and after its publication, the book was widely banned because it contained religious blasphemy, political sedition, and intellectual hostility hidden under a thin veil of naïveté.

However, with its sharp wit and insightful portrayal of the human condition, the novel has since inspired many later authors and artists to mimic and adapt it.  I suggest the Baby Boomers should too in this November’s elections.

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5 thoughts on “Candide, ou l’Optimisme

  1. ” (The return of the Middle Class’s Reclaiming Power)”

    Interesting POST, Engineer. I, too, have been wondering how the middle-class reclaims its social and economic position in the United States. How is that to be accomplished is a question that worries
    me. You know, with the large gulf between income of the 1% and
    what a middle-class can earn today, how is that reconciled? The wealth of the 1% which they attained in the last 30 years would have to be confiscated in order to level the playing field. And, that is not about ever to happen. The money has left the middle-class and been
    transferred to the elite. So, Engineer, what do you see as some workable solutions to these facts and the middle-class can be
    restored. I mean, if we junk the current tax system, and close every
    loophole, and does that include home mortgage deductions, all that does, it seems to me, is preserve the enormous gains of wealth that the one percenters have taken from the 99%. Where is this middle-
    class renaissance to come from, Engineer?

    1. I was talking to a former merchant marine, a gritty, tenacious guy who was probably younger than his weathered face showed. He was helping spruce up a old antique shop now rented by the Obama campaign. He, too, spoke of what UptheFlag cited above- the great sucking sound of working class dollars into the bank accounts of the 1 percent. His use of words ought not be quoted here. I suggested a new revolution, but he said of the idea of revolution or Occupy that it won’t happen until The People are literally hungry, lining the soup lines of 1928. He’s right. We’re much too comfortable still. The People will wait until it’s ALL GONE before they react.

      1. “He’s right.”

        You know, M_R, I don’t think he is right on that. That is the easy way out, and it just won’t happen…

  2. LEGAL QUESTION: Is public praying at the beginning of a government meeting lead by the officials holding the meeting legal? i.e. Can Toledo City Council start it’s meetings with a prayer?

  3. Until you notify the ACLU and ask them to bring a legal challenge to the practice…..

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