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Candide and Positive Vibes

I’m no stranger to tirelessly questioning whether man is innately good or innately evil. Evil is taught and being good is repeatedly reinforced—but we can’t speak for the evil thoughts that sneak into our minds now and then. I’m also no stranger to questioning whether man is free, or free within constraints of their own version of freedom. A man who’s only known a cage will believe he is free in a room. My mother who escaped a revolution will believe she is only free in America.

Right now, Americans are given candidates and propositions to freely vote whomever and whatever they choose—from a list with set choices. This is our freedom, within certain constraints.

To avoid driving myself insane, I refuse to be the pessimist thinker. Voltaire, however, is still classified as a pessimist when it comes to humanity, highlighting the foolishness of optimism in his Novella Candide. Candide’s mentor (Pangloss) presents the idea that everything is for the best in this best of all possible worlds”, which in turn, presents great satire throughout the novella. He also argues that all “…things cannot be otherwise than as they are; for as all things have been created for some end, they must necessarily be created for the best end.”

Enlightenment philosophers believed that if there were evil in the world, it would signify that God is not good nor all powerful. To these thinkers, because God exists and is perfect, the world God created is supposedly perfect too. I guess Candide is the reason I always swayed from believing that the universe is in my favor and everything is in order in exactly how the universe wants it to be. All I have to do is manifest, be spiritual, and at least pretend that the Universe is perfect.

I sound like a pessimist but believe me when I say I’m no pessimist. I’m just an optimist at fighting with my teeth for what I want. I signed an invisible contract that is life to repeatedly get rejected. This invisible contract gives me a choice to try again or accept rejection. If I accept failure, I will let the universe do what it wants with me.

Voltaire rejects the all perfect God, and perhaps if he were alive, he’d reject the all perfect universe. He actually mocked the notion that the world is great, having Pangloss (Candide’s mentor), and Candide witness horrors of the world like rape. While Pangloss searches for justifications, experienced elder characters reached a conclusion that humanity is filled with pessimistic conclusions.

There’s also this beautiful (and pessimistic) argument that speculation prevents realistic assessments of the world. Compare it to the current philosophical sentiment that, even with the shit-show that was 2020, all is well and positive in the world.

The philosophies Pangloss holds prevents logic—but perhaps makes him content. When Candide rejects these philosophies, he exchanges them for the ethics of hard work.

I’m not saying to not be positive. We would live a life a misery without being grateful for what we have, for the oxygen and environment surrounding us, for friendship and enjoyments community brings us. I’m saying it’s possible to be positive and live a life wearing realistic lenses. Manifestations work not with positive vibes, but initiation.

But then again, this entire essay is an opinion.

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