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.