To Drive Us Mad–Candide


          “But what was this world created for?” asked Candide.
          “To drive us mad,” replied Martin.
          “You remember that story I told you,” continued Candide, “about the love of those two Oreillon girls for their monkeys. Doesn’t that astonish you?”
          “Not at all,” said Martin. “I don’t see anything strange in an infatuation like that. I have seen so many extraordinary things, that nothing is extraordinary any longer.”
          “Do you think,” said Candide, “that men have always massacred each other, as they do to-day, that they have always been false, cozening, faithless, ungrateful, thieving, weak, inconstant, mean-spirited, envious, greedy, drunken, miserly, ambitious, bloody, slanderous, debauched, fanatic, hypocritical, and stupid?”
          “Do you think,” said Martin, “that hawks have always eaten pigeons when they could find them?”
          “Of course I do,” said Candide.
          “Well,” said Martin, “if hawks have always had the same character, why should you suppose that men have changed theirs?”
          “Oh, but there’s a great difference,” said Candide; “for Free 
Will . . .”
          They were still talking when the ship reached Bordeaux.

–from Voltaire’s Candide

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