“If you want 2019 to be your year, Don’t sit on the couch and wait for it. Go out. Smile more. Throw out what you’ve been cluttering. Unfollow negative people. Go to bed early. Be fierce. Don’t gossip. Show more gratitude. Be brave”.
Before I take a closer look at this little piece of philosophy, first a quote about Voltaire”s Candide:
“Candide, ou l’Optimisme is a French satire first published in 1759 by Voltaire. It begins with a young man, Candide, who is living a sheltered life in an Edenic paradise and being indoctrinated with Leibnizian optimism by his mentor, Professor Pangloss. The work describes the abrupt cessation of this lifestyle, followed by Candide’s slow and painful disillusionment as he witnesses and experiences great hardships in the world.” (Incidentally, the great earthquake and Tsunami of 1755 had recently decimated Lisbon killing an estimated 200 000 people). “Voltaire concludes with Candide, if not rejecting Leibnizian optimism outright, advocating a deeply practical precept, “we must cultivate our garden”, in lieu of the Leibnizian mantra of Pangloss, “all is for the best” in the “best of all possible worlds”.
So let us examine the Panglossian, Leibnizian mumbojumbo expressed in the motivational quote:
Can’t argue with that. ‘Rah rah over the top boys’ – and don’t mind the Jerry machine guns, the barbed wire or the bombs. Except that when you read the firsthand accounts of the men in the trenches, you’ll find this blab by non-noncombatants insulting. Facing death, fear was a constant companion and no insult to bravery. Read Siegfried Sassoon’s poems and feel his contempt for the officers, politicians and society which demanded bravery of the common soldier.