Open Buddha

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Bay Area, California

Candide

My new term in school started on Monday, May 1. This term I am only taking a single class, which is on Rousseau and the Enlightenment. Along with reading Rousseau’s confessions and a number of his political works, we are also reading Candide by Voltaire. In fact, we are starting the class with it, which actually seems to be a bit of a good thing.

I am about 10% through it (which is to say twenty pages), having started this evening. I must say I find Voltaire to be quite funny and charmy. This is probably the most ribald thing I’ve read in ages. From the references to the philosopher Pangloss engaging in “experimental physics” with the maid to prove cause and effect to the scandalous comments about Catholicism and Kings. I am quite surprised that Voltaire was never assassinated by someone. Given the era that he wrote he, I can see why he gained the reputation that lasts to today.