Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Voltaire Almighty II

On a day of Fox & Hound Tax Day Tea Party demonstrations, seems as good time as any for a return to Voltaire, European wild man and champion of free speech.

Though Voltaire wrote all sorts of things, he's probably best known outside of France for Candide, ou l'Optimisme / Candide, or Optimism (1959), written in his early-to-mid sixties and published when he turned 65. I love Candide for its ribald wit and continued relevance, its Enlightenment values and keen understanding of human nature.

Still not quite through with Roger Pearson's packed biography, Voltaire Almighty: A Life in Pursuit of Freedom (2005), with Voltaire in his seventies. For now, I'll make my leave with the following statements by Voltaire about everything happening in the world: "Reader, you must reflect. Develop this truth: draw your own conclusions." And, "What should we conclude? You who are reading and thinking, you conclude." (Pearson, p. 299). Amen, brother. Much of the rest is Death and Taxes.

Today's Rune: Partnership.


the walking man said...

What I have never understood about the Age of Enlightenment is...was it the following Industrial Age and the quest for profit of the few on the backs of the many that took the light out of enlightenment?

Replacing the light for this when the wealthy began to feel that they were entitled by simply securing a position under the dragon's belly?

disa said...

I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool Thanks.