Monday, June 13, 2011

Il Faut Cultiver Notre Jardin

That line from Voltaire has been running through my head, partly because I am in my garden tending it and partly because I am tending it as I am avoiding anything that looks like school work and it is impossible to shut off my brain.
Candide said, " I also know that we must cultivate our garden."
Pangloss said, "You are right because, when man was sent from the garden of Eden, he was sent, ut operaretur eum, so that he would work; which proves that man is not born to rest."
Martin said, "Let us work without thinking, it is the only way to make life endurable." (if only I could)
Optimism. Voltaire was making fun of it but, (really) Cunegonde was very ugly but made excellent pastry and what is wrong with that? I must be an optimist too. If Candide had not undergone all those misfortunes, he would not have been sitting with Pangloss discussing philosophy and eating jam and pistachios.
I thought Voltaire was talking about Medieval optimism since A.T Hatto wrote that the people of the Middle Ages were essentially optimists and viewed the crucifixion as a triumph not a tragedy. Voltaire was writing Candide in response to Liebniz but maybe Liebniz's philosophy came out of the Middle Ages.
Writers come in and out of fashion. I have not seen Voltaire on a course list in a really long time. Does anybody read his books anymore? I am off to my garden again; as the last line of Candide is "Cela est bien dit, repondit Candide, mais il faut cultiver notre jardin."

6 comments:

anachronist said...

No, I haven't read Voltaire for some time. When I was at uni I read some excerpts of Candide though. He had interesting life.

The Red Witch said...

He did but I think he has fallen out of favor. Maybe he'll be back.

Tracy said...

You could always start a campaaign to read more Voltaire - on Facebook?

Optimism and the Crucifixion? - the line that runs through my head is the song from Life of Brian :)

The Red Witch said...

Life of Brian - a very good movie. Terry Jones who did a lot of Monty Python's writing is very much into the Middle Ages. He wrote several books on it. One of which I should read - Who Murdered Chaucer.

Tracy said...

Talking of Life of Brian, I thought this might interest you:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-13856561

The Red Witch said...

I remember reading the newspapers about their funding being withdrawn until George harrison stepped in with some money. Then he was laughimg all the way to the bank.