June 23, 2008


Filed under: Blog Explanations, Book Reviews, Philosophy — Robert John Ed @ 2:18 am

Just finished Candide by Voltaire. This was a short and worth while read.

(A quick aside: in the next two months, I see this blog being integrated HEAVILY with ideas on psychology, philosophy, sociology and a general musings as to my transition from work to vacation to school again. Marketing will still be addressed, but being that tangible reading materials deviate from “business” books and toward classic literature and scientific explanation; I won’t make any guarantees.)

The protagonist, Candide, falls for a girl Cunegonde and spends the majority of the book chasing her and attempting to restore their established love. The travels and exploits of the young man is fast moving and enjoyable. And although this is the main driver of the stories within the story line (amidst escaping imminent danger and folly), the point of the book is far more philosophical.

A main concern throughout the work is that of criticizing the perspective of “all for the best” which basically describes our existence as the best possible existence that God could have created (made popular by this guy, apparently). Voltaire does this most fruitfully through countless and unending repetition of horrible problems and situations happening to all the main characters. Candide is a philosopher, as are a few of his constituents, and their dialog frequently centers around that world view and differing opinions. Despite these consistent tragedies, all the characters remain resolute and basically upbeat.

I’ll not ruin the ending, but things are left a bit open. The result is a book that leaves more questions than answers.

A few of those questions: How could an all knowing, all powerful God create a world where such suffering can take place? If he did not intend to, is He either of those things mentioned? Is our suffering “all for the best” in that others can truly gain from such? What perspectives offer their holders value?

I’d like to delve further into this, but want to wait until I’ve read another book on order before going into full blown philosophical meanderings.

Bottom line, Candide was quick and worth reading. It offers deep interpretations for those looking and a shallow adventuresome foray for those less inclined to literary dissection.


1 Comment »

  1. Why does God allow their to be suffering? It’s my belief that God isn’t so attune to people as religion would have the faithful believe. We are just as an other animal to him, nothing more, nothing less. Why should it make a difference whether or not we have a pleasurable existence or a wretched one? I don’t think he feels responisbility beyond creating. Even creation could have been an experiment or whim for him for all we know. If he did create suffering for the sake of “bettering” people, then he’s the biggest hypocrite alive. Raping children, drowning babies, beating people to death? We create our own suffering, surely, but it was HE who made it possible. We, as individuals, should not be expected to “tough it out” or change the world. How can we? We can’t control others, and there will ALWAYS be people who help, and people who harm. People have intent, and that is one thing we will never be able to stop every time. We are condemned to suffer.

    As for being “all knowing”, I have only one thing to say: that must be the most dull existence imaginable. It’s no wonder he made aggression to give him some entertainment (if you believe in the who being watched over idea, anyway…).

    Comment by lucienlachance — June 23, 2008 @ 8:10 am

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