Voltaire's Solution to a Life Full of Thorns: Tend to Your Garden

"Life is bristling with thorns, and I know no other remedy than to cultivate one's garden."


François-Marie Arouet, a.k.a. Voltaire (1694-1778) was a French Enlightenment writer and philosopher famous for his many witty works of satire. Voltaire was a major advocate of the garden-variety Enlightenment ideals: freedom of religion, separation of church and state, and freedom of expression. The Catholic Church was a frequent target of his writing, as well as other sources of what he perceived to be intolerance, unfettered dogma, and overall French stuffiness. Among his most famous works are the polemic satire Candide and his 1764 Dictionnaire philosophique.

"Life is bristling with thorns, and I know no other remedy than to cultivate one's garden."

From a Letter to Pierre-Joseph Luneau de Boisjermain (21 October 1769), from Oeuvres Complètes de Voltaire: Correspondance [Garnier frères, Paris, 1882], vol. XIV, letter # 7692 (p. 478). (h/t Wikiquote)

Understand your own mind and goals via bullet journaling

Journaling can help you materialize your ambitions.

  • Organizing your thoughts can help you plan and achieve goals that might otherwise seen unobtainable.
  • The Bullet Journal method, in particular, can reduce clutter in your life by helping you visualize your future.
  • One way to view your journal might be less of a narrative and more of a timeline of decisions.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

Car culture and suburban sprawl create rifts in society, claims study

New research links urban planning and political polarization.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
  • Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
  • People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
Keep reading Show less