No El Dorado
"'But, Reverend Father,' said Candide, 'there's a terrible amount of evil in the world.'"
Candide's statement-or rather, plea-to the famous Turkish dervish sadly still rings true today, perhaps even more resoundingly so. The world of 2017 continues to face similar evils that Candide and his companions endured in back in 1759: ignorance, poverty, violence, natural disasters, senseless killing, rape, irrationality, prejudice, greed, and so much more. If Voltaire could witness the modern world, would even he be able to find words scathing enough for our reality?
But this is the world we must live in and even try to flourish in, so we must continue to cultivate our garden. Rather than sit and weep, we must stand and confront. Rather than close our eyes to injustice, we must face it and speak out. Instead of ignoring poverty, we must have gratitude for our own small comforts and give when and where we are able. Nor can we ignore violence and flagrant indecency; we must acknowledge it, take no part in it, and stand up to it to protect others, for no one is immune to it; we can all become the victims of hate, cruelty, and unfairness.
Yes, there is a terrible amount of evil in the world. It seems, sadly, that there always will be. The paradox, of course, is that the evil makes the beautiful possible, and vice versa. Just as we can't see the stars without the darkness, or the love without the hate, the good and the beautiful contrasts the hate, making it visible while simultaneously diminishing it. The more we cultivate our garden, the better we can recognize the evil and face it from a place of beauty and strength.