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best of all possible worlds, the
Everything is for the best. This expression of blind optimism occurs in Voltaire’s Candide (1758), where through Dr. Pangloss the author pokes fun at the German philosopher Leibnitz. The full saying is “All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds.” It has been identified with overoptimism ever since. On the other hand, all is for the best was already considered a profound if fatalistic truth by the Roman orator Cicero (50 b.c.), was repeated a number of times by Chaucer, and was echoed by modern sages, among them Benjamin Franklin (Poor Richard’s Almanack). Not everyone agrees. “I hate the Pollyanna pest who says that All Is for the Best,” wrote Franklin P. Adams (1924).