I’m an optimist, most of the times, who see the glass as being half full, but this girl is no Dr. Pangloss. You may remember Dr. Pangloss from Voltaire’s glorious work of satire Candide. In this novel, Dr. Pangloss clings to a view of unreasonable optimism even when his life experiences constantly contradict his philosophy.
Sadly, Dr. Pangloss never makes the mental leap that their outlook on life is dead wrong. Rather he continues to adhere to a ridiculous philosophy that has caused much pain. Keep in mind this is a man riddled with syphilis, nearly hung and almost dissected, but he never abandoned his dead headed philosophy.
In many ways, Dr. Pangloss was the anti-Voltaire espousing and championing ideals that Voltaire shunned. As Voltaire so eloquently said, “it is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.” Pangloss was not willing to drop the chains of his broken ideals.
Admittedly, there is no coincidence in my writing about Voltaire’s Candide. In many ways, we face similar difficulties as Pangloss. Sometimes we don’t want to accept reality as reality. Instead we tend to explain circumstances away, make excuses for people that mistreat us all while hanging on to our beliefs. As a consequence, we stay in relationships, we stay in jobs, or we stay in friendships that are no longer healthy.
Sometimes, as hard as it may be, we have to accept reality, reset our mindset and move on. In the immortal words of Ace of Base, “I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes. I saw the sign. Life is demanding without understanding. ” If you are unwilling to pivot when life calls for it, you may find yourself in a Candide like misadventure. Let me be clear here that what I’m advocating is being realistic and not blindly optimistic.