Să vă mai zic despre cărți! Am citit o carte superinteresantă, ușoară la suprafață, mai greuță în profunzime, și anume ”Candide, or Optimism”, de Voltaire. Onestamente, eu de Voltaire știam ”by default”, cumva era acolo la iluminismul francez, și cam atât. N-am căutat niciodată să aflu mai multe despre filozofia lui, sau ce rol a jucat, spre exemplu, în revoluția franceză. (sau poate am învățat asta la istorie, dar am uitat) ”Candide, or Optimism (we must cultivate our garden)” mi-a parvenit pe un site întâmplător, unde era un top al recomandărilor clasice, sau așa ceva.
Ediția mea de la Penguin Books include și note explicative foarte utile citirii acestei povești relativ scurte, dar și un extract din Scrisorile filozofice ale lui Voltaire, unde contextul determinismului/existenței umane din perspectiva lui sunt mult mai bine evidențiate. Numele personajelor sunt foarte sugestive, începând chiar cu personajul principal: Candide, bastardul surorii baronului Thunder-ten-Tronckh, îndrăgostit de Cunegonde, fiica baronului. Candide e îndrumat de Profesorul Pangloss, care are o filozofie a lui aparte, reprezentând, de fapt, o satiră la adresa filozofului german Gottfried Leibniz (mai degrabă a ideilor lui). În accepțiunea lui, această lume pe care o trăim trebuie să fie ”cea mai bună din toate variantele posibile” (un scurt rezumat a ceea ce înseamnă ”optimism”). Voltaire nu e de acord cu această idee fatalistă, așa că pe parcursul cărții, prin diversele întâmplări prin care trece Candide în călătoriile sale, ia în batjocură această filozofie.
”Pangloss taught metaphysico-theologico-cosmo-nigology. He could prove to wonderful effect that there was no effect without cause, and that, in this best of all possible worlds, His Lordship the Baron’s castle was the finest of castles and Her Ladyship the best of all possible baronesses.
‘It is demonstrable’, he would say, ‘that things cannot be other than as they are: for, since everything is made to serve an end, everything is necessarily for the best of ends. Observe how noses were formed to support spectacles, therefore we have spectacles. Legs are clearly devised for the wearing of breeches, therefore we wear breeches. Stones were formed to be hewn and made into castles, hence his Lordship’s beautiful castle, for the greatest baron in the province must perforce be the best housed; and since pigs were made to be eaten, we eat pork all year round; consequently, those who have argued that all is well have been talking nonsense: they should have said that all is for the best.”
Candide ajunge să călătorească în toată lumea, trece prin diverse peripeții care mai de care mai trăsnite, ajunge până și în tărâmul fantastic, ideal, ”El dorado”, unde oamenii trăiau în pace, era, practic, ca grădina Raiului. Dar nici acolo nu îi e bine (era prea…. ”bine”), și pleacă mai departe, convins că El dorado este ”cea mai bună variantă a lumii”, și că totuși există.
”Candide was indefatigable in his questioning by proxy of this worthy old gentleman; he wanted to know how one prayed to God in Eldorado. ‘We do not pray to him at all,’ said the honourable sage. ‘We have nothing to ask of him; he has given us everything we need; we thank him unceasingly.‘”
Tânărul experimentează și părțile mai nefericite ale lumii (sclavii), întrebându-se constant dacă această variantă a lumii este cea mai bună care există, cum e posibil să existe atâta suferință, și atâta ”rău”? (idea de bine/rău apare frecvent în carte)
”When we work in the sugar-mills and get a finger caught in the machinery, they cut off the hand; but if we try to run away, they cut off a leg; I have found myself in both situations. It is the price we pay for the sugar you eat in Europe.
Dogs, monkeys and parrots are a thousand times less miserable than we are; the Dutch fetishes who converted me to their religion tell me every Sunday that we are all children of Adam, whites and black alike. I am no genealogist; but if these preachers are telling the truth, then we are all second cousins. In which case you must admit that no one could treat his relatives more horribly than this.”
Povestea se sfârșește cu o concluzie simplă, cumva că n-ar trebui să ne mai gândim la toate aceste lucruri și să le găsim explicații, ci mai bine să ne facem existența suportabilă făcând lucruri, muncind, bucurându-ne de ce avem (”we must cultivate our garden”). Apoi, ca appendix, urmează câteva extrase lămuritoare din gândurile lui Voltaire asupra determinismului, Dumnezeu, bine și rău. (fragmente din faimoasele Scrisori filozofice)
Întotdeauna mi s-a părut interesant cum printr-o satiră, sau o poveste aparent simplă, se pot ascunde atâtea idei filozofice, moraliste, legând cu umor întrebări la care uneori nu avem răspuns. Sau nu vrem să avem. Cât de greu ar fi pentru noi oamenii să ”renunțăm” la conceptul de Dumnezeu? Care ne-ar mai fi rostul? De unde vine răul? De ce există rău? TREBUIE să existe rău, dacă asta într-adevăr e varianta lumii așa cum o știm acum, și e cea mai bună posibilă, din atâtea altele care ar putea fi? 🙂
Mie mi-a lăsat un gând predominant cartea asta, și anume că încercăm să îl explicăm pe Dumnezeu din prisma lui Dumnezeu, uitând că suntem oameni, nu Dumnezeu (sau orice forță divină, energie, karma, forțe universale, natura etc.). Eu nu sunt o persoană religioasă, dar sunt o persoană spirituală, și normal că îmi pun și eu întrebări existențiale … nevrând să iau de-a bună ce mi s-a zis, doar pentru că ”așa se știe”, ”așa e datina”, sau ”așa se face”. Iar Candide, or Optimism e o carte perfectă pentru dezvoltarea acestor perspective, printr-un umor subtil, îmbrăcat într-o poveste cu aventuri colorate, dar care face apel la rădăcinile lumești. E o carte oglindă perfectă a cum am fost, cum suntem, și cel mai probabil, cum vom fi în continuare… (nu că n-aș spera la mai bine, dar …)
Aș fi vrut să scriu mai multe despre Voltaire, dar poate o să fac asta cu altă ocazie – a fost un rebel, adică așa cum îmi place mie. 🙂 Vreau să citesc de la el și Zadig, și poate mai revin atunci cu altele.
Câteva citate mai de Doamne-ajută:
”Mankind must have corrupted nature just a little,’ he would say, ‘for men are not born wolves, yet they have become wolves. God gave them neither twenty-four-pounders nor bayonets, yet they have made themselves bayonets and twenty-four-pounders to destroy each other.”
”But don’t you accept, replied Martin, ‘that hawks have always killed pigeons when they come across them?’ – ‘Without a doubt,’ said Candide. -‘Well, then,’ said Martin, if hawks have always had the same nature, why do you expect men to change theirs?’”
”But a wise man, who has since had the misfortune to be hanged, taught me that there is in these things a perfect propriety; like the shadows in a beautiful painting.”
”’I am not sure what scales your Pangloss could have used to weigh the misfortunes of men and calibrate their sufferings,’ said Martin. ‘I can only presume that there are millions of people on this Earth who are many times more to be pitied than King Charles Edward, or Emperor Ivan, or Sultan Achmed.’”
”Martin in particular came to the conclusion that man was born to endure either the convulsions of anxiety or the lethargy of boredom.”
”There lived in the neighbourhood a celebrated dervish, who was said to be the greatest philosopher in Turkey; they went to consult him; Pangloss acted as spokesman, and asked him: ‘Master, we have come to beg you to tell us why so curious a creature as man was ever created’. -‘And what has it to do with you?’ answered the dervish. ‘Is it any business of yours?’ -‘But surely, Reverend Father,’ said Candide, ‘there is a dreadful amount of evil in the world’. –‘And what does it matter,’ said the dervish. ‘if there is evil or if there is good? When His Highness the Sultan sends a ship to Egypt, does he worry whether the mice on board are comfortable or not?’ -‘So what must we do?’ said Pangloss. -‘Keep your mouth shut,’ said the dervish. -‘I flattered myself,’ said Pangloss, ‘that you and I might have a little discussion about effects and causes, about the best of possible worlds, the origin of evil, the nature of the soul, pre-established harmony…’ – At which the dervish slammed the door in their faces.”
”’I have but twenty acres,’ replied the Turk. ‘I cultivate them with my children; our work keeps at bay the three great evils: boredom, vice, and necessity.’
‘And you must also know…’ -‘All I know,’ said Candide, ‘is that we must cultivate our garden.’
‘You are right,’ said Pangloss, ‘for when man was placed in the garden of Eden, he was put there ut operaretur eum, so that he might work: which proves that man was not born for rest.’ –‘Let us set to work and stop proving things,’ said Martin, ‘for that is the only way to make life bearable.’”
”If the order of thing requires that everything should be as it is, then human nature has not been corrupted, and consequently has no need of a Redeemer. If this world, just as it is, is the best of all possible worlds, we have no room to hope for a happier future state. If all the evils by which we are overwhelmed contribute to the general good, then all civilized nations have been misguided in endeavouring to trace out the origin of moral and physical evil. If a man devoured by wild beasts brings about the well-being of those brutes and thereby contributes to the order of the universe; if the miseries of individuals are merely the by-product of this general and necessary order, then we are nothing more than cogs which serve to keep the great machine in motion; we are no more precious in the eyes of God than the animals by which we are devoured.‘”
”What! to be chased from a place of delights, where we would have lived for ever if an apple had not been eaten! What! produce in wretchedness children who will suffer everything, who will make others suffer everything! What! to undergo every illness, feel every sorrow, die in pain, and for refreshment be burned in the eternity of centuries! Is this really the best lot that was available? This is not too good for us; and how can it be good for god?”
”Every effect obviously has its cause, which can be retraced from cause to cause into the abyss of eternity; but every cause does not have its effect to the end of time. I admit that all events are produced by one another. If the past gives birth to the present, the present gives birth to the future. All things have fathers, but not all things have children. (…) But whether Magog spat to the right or to the left near mount Caucasus, whether he made two rings in a well or three, whether he slept on his left side or his right, I do not see that this has much influenced our present affairs. (..) Therefore the events of the present are not the children of all past events. They have their direct lines of descent, but a thousand little collateral lines are of no use to them. Once again, every being has its father, but not every being has children.”
”Philosophers never needed either Homer or the Pharisees to convince themselves that all events are governed by immutable laws, that all is arranged, that all is a necessary effect. Either the world subsists by its own nature, by its physical laws, or a supreme being formed it in accordance with his supreme laws. In either case these laws are immutable. In either case all is necessary. Heavy bodies tend towards the centre of the earth, incapable of tending to rest in the air. Pear trees can never bear pineapples. The instinct of a spaniel cannot be the instinct of an ostrich. All is arranged, geared and limited.”
”If you could alter the fate of a fly there would be nothing to prevent you from creating the fate of all the other flies, all the other animals, all men, all nature. When all is said and done, you would find yourself more powerful than god.”
”There are, they say, necessary events, and others that are not necessary. It would be laughable for one part of this world to be arranged, and not the other, if one part of what happens had to happen, and another part of what happens did not have to happen. When one examines this closely it is seen that the doctrine opposed to fate is absurd. But there are many people fated to reason badly, others not to reason at all, others to persecute those who reason.”
”The owl, who feeds on mice in his shanty, said to the nightingale: ‘Stop singing in your shady trees, come into my hole for me to devour you’; and the nightingale replied: ‘I was born to sing here and to laugh at you.’”