Saturday, August 12, 2017

Is Optimism a luxury?

I just read a summary of Candide, a work by Voltaire, where he criticizes Leibniz and Optimism.

Before I go ahead, I should add a fair warning - I think of myself as a hard core optimist. I cannot be held down and I also take the "Whatever happens, happens for a reason" (Was that Aristotle who was first documented to have said this? I dont remember) to a different level.

I now wonder, is that a line meant for those who are actually blessed? Like it is not a positive positive sentence, but more something that you say when you are too selfish to acknowledge the blessings you already have? (iphone6 broke, everything happens for a reason, there is 7+ waiting for you, lost a job, there is an offer which is even better..)

I mean think about it, you can hardly say that when something really unspeakable (like murder of a loved one, rape, poverty that you cannot even buy the next meal, natural disaster etc) happens to you. You can only say these things when you can speak about an adversity and after you overcome it. When you are going through something, can you really say this?

After reading the extract of the book, this is what is running through my head. In a way, it makes me more thankful for everything I have and have been able to afford without thinking twice.  It also makes me wonder, how can there be hope for those that truly have none? 

6 comments:

Sun Ray said...

True.. optimism itself seems like a luxury. Never thought about it before!! In Tamil there's a movie song that goes like "there are thousands who toil beneath you, realize it & be at peace".

Am sure you would have maids or elderly people working for you at your service. I try to think what goes on in their minds.. when they clean the room or drive for us or salute us at the gates? What if, we had been born as one of them & they as us ?

Who knows.. maybe we might face such a future as well!!

Harini Padmanabhan said...

Didn't know you were a kannadasan fan. I love that song. How are you up so late?!

Sun Ray said...

:) nice to know. Big fan of Tamil historical novels & philosophy. Kannadasan has some amazing lines to his credit.

Work keeps me up late!! Exam time at school.

Harini Padmanabhan said...

Oh! I forget it's the quarterly exam. Not related to that life any more so wasn't able to correlate.
I'm a huge fan of PBSrinivas and I just love listening to music from that era

Sun Ray said...

Paadadha paatellam paada vandhaal.. one awesome song from pb srinivas... To me the lyrics of these songs were easily understood compared to today's songs where music overpowers the lyrics.. so, the voices of pbs or in later years, ilayaraja, itself had a musical tone in them.

Harini Padmanabhan said...

Yes. That's one favourite. Also kaalangalil aval vasantham