“Il faut cultiver notre jardin”

At the end of a curious, arduous and odd series of adventures Candide and the people who have become his friends by sharing his life he shares theirs conclude that for all their speculation about the meaning of life, the satires on politics and the experience of evil, the best option is to tend the garden. It is an acceptance of how things are, while ignoring how things should be. They raise a white flag of surrender in the struggle against the complexities of life.

Today we cope with the complexities of life by designing devices that can compute, calculate, manage and undertake tasks with more precision and faster than we can, we mere mortals. In doing so we lose control of where we live and lose whatever understanding we may have had about the things that surround us. Banks become more important to us (in our new perception) than the quality of food we eat or air we breathe. Corporations control us, and those unelected enterprises may do so without fear of punishment that is meaningful, because they operate in a world where criminal irresponsibility is passing from leaders of nations to boards of directors of multinational companies.

Where once  a sovereign could act with almost impunity with only rarely a weary oppressed people managing to cut off his head or shoot him in a cellar, today that role of sovereign being able to act  as he desires with little fear of punishment has passed to those who run the multinationals who have one advantage over the Tsar of King Charles; today the directors can act without any fear of punishment; of course the company may fail but such failure usually dooms the assets of the little people;  the wealth of those responsible is quite secure from confiscation and those responsible quite secure from any possibility of punishment.

It is time to get back to our small garden now, a thing that we can understand, and do our work there.

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