Friday, December 6, 2013

Purposeful Isolation vs. Complacency

I know we talked about this a bit in class regarding the conclusion, but I wanted to talk about it a little more. I personally think Voltaire wanted to present the complacency like that of the sailor who let Jacques drown as something different from the old man's shunning of the the rest of the world. I disagree with this view. I really don't see how they are very different, especially since both approaches lead to inaction, which then leads to no one stopping others from suffering. If both lead to suffering of others, how is purposeful ignorance any better than complacency? Candide's little group may be able to find something like happiness, but if they don't share that happiness with others, how are they any less greedy than they were when they were seeking material wealth?


Amy Clement said...

Although the ending of the novella does seem to contradict much of Voltaire's stance on complacency, I do see the incident with the sailor and the garden as different. The sailor was completely aware of the suffering his inaction would cause, yet still chose to do nothing. The group, while technically not using their free will to combat the evil in the world, are focusing their energy on the garden, but their inaction does not directly cause the suffering of anyone else.

Miranda Martinez said...

This is a good point. I agree with Amy. Although the group remains focused on their garden, they do not cause any suffering to anyone around them. Isolated ignorance doesn't necessarily mean complacency. However, I do think Voltaire suggests humans shouldn't get involved at the very end, which does seem quite complacent.