What Voltaire Meant by ‘One Must Cultivate One’s Own Garden’

From Candide: I and my children cultivate them; and our labour preserves us from three great evils: weariness, vice, and want.

weariness – reluctance to see or experience any more of something
vice – a habit or practice that degrades or corrupts
want – to suffer from the lack of

From de Botton: For Muslims, because the world at large can never be rendered perfect, it is the task of the pious to try to give a foretaste of what should ideally be in a well tended garden (and where that is not possible, in the depiction of a garden in a rug). There should be four canals that allude to the four rivers of paradise in which were said to flow water, milk, wine and honey and where they intersect represents the umbilicus mundi, the navel of the world, where the gift of life emerged. Gardening is no trivial pastime, it’s a central way of shielding ourselves from the influence of the chaotic, dangerous world beyond while focusing our energies on something that can reflect the goodness and grace we long for.

water – to keep clean, make soup, quench thirst, refreshment, to raise and grow animals and plants for us to eat
milk – to make cheese with and to make coffee taste yummy
wine – for celebrations, to relax, for friendliness
honey – sweeten coffee, dessert