Posts Tagged ‘Blaise Pascal’

Pride and the esteem of others

September 19, 2009

Our desire for the esteem of those around us is such that pride will dominate us even in the midst of all our miseries and errors. We would even die gladly, provided people talked about it. we want to lead an imaginary life in the eyes of others, and so we are constantly trying to make impressions. We strive to embellish and improve our image, and so neglect the true self. So if we are at peace, or generous, or loyal, we are anxious to let it be known so that we can attach these virtues to our imaginary existence. Indeed, we prefer to detach them from our real self so as to project them upon the other. Cheerfully, we would be cowards if that was the way we could acquire a reputation for bravery! Fame is so sweet that we love anything with which we connect it, even death.



I cannot forgive Descartes

September 16, 2009

I cannot forgive Descartes. In all his philosophy he would have been quite willing to dispense with God. But he had to make Him give a fillip to set the world in motion; beyond this, he has no further need of God.

 Blaise Pascal

Original Sin – It seems harsh, but it explains man

September 12, 2009

This transmission of sin, not only seems to us impossible, but very unjust ; for what is more contrary to the rules of our miserable justice, than to condemn an infant, incapable of volition, to eternal punishment, for a sin in which he appears to have so little part, that it was committed six thousand years before he was in being? Nothing, certainly, can strike us more harshly than this doctrine ; and yet without this most incomprehensible of all mysteries, we are incomprehensible to ourselves. The knot of our condition, finds its entanglements and contortions in this inexplicable fact; so that man is more inconceivable without this mystery, than this mystery is inconceivable to man.


The last scene of the play is bloody

September 10, 2009

Imagine a number of prisoners on death row, some of whom are killed each day in the sight of the others. The remaining ones see their condition is that of their fellows, and looking at each other with grief and despair, await their turn. This is a picture of the human condition…The last scene of the play is bloody, however fine the rest of it. They throw earth over your head, and it is finished forever.


Over 500,000 die every year in the UK.


September 10, 2009
Miracles do not serve to convert, but to condemn.


‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.” Luke 16.31

What a chimera then is man!

September 8, 2009

What a chimera then is man! What a novelty, what a monster, what a chaos, what a contradiction, what a prodigy! Judge of all things, imbecile worm of the earth; depositary of truth, a sink of uncertainty and error; the pride and refuse of the universe! Who will unravel this tangle?

Blaise Pascal

Man’s wretched condition – Pascal

September 8, 2009

...if man had never been corrupt, he would enjoy in his innocence both truth and happiness with assurance; and if man had always been corrupt, he would have no idea of truth or bliss. But, wretched as we are, and more so than if there were no greatness in our condition, we have an idea of happiness and can not reach it. We perceive an image of truth and possess only a lie. Incapable of absolute ignorance and of certain knowledge, we have thus been manifestly in a degree of perfection from which we have unhappily fallen.


A featherless two-footed animal

September 7, 2009

Plato had defined man as  a featherless two-tooted animal, and his students agreed. The next day, Diogenes pulled the feathers off a cock and took it to Plato.

“Here’s Plato’s man,” he said.

Thereafter Plato corrected the definition to “a featherless two-footed animal with flat nails.

Raymond Abba comments:

Human personality is a fact which must be reckoned with. Man may be only a reed, but, as Pascal said, he is a thinking reed.

R.Abba, Nature and Authority of the Bible, p.109

man is a featherless biped with a soul.

Voltaire, Candide

Man is the only animal that eats when he is not hungry, and drinks when he is not thirsty.


Man is only a reed, the weakest in nature, but he is a thinking reed. There is no need for the whole universe to take up arms to crush him: a vapour, a drop of water is enough to kill him. But even if the universe were to crush him, man would still be nobler than his slayer, because he knows that he is dying and the advantage the universe has over him. The universe knows none of this.


man is of a being of dependence, longing for independence

September 6, 2009

A definition of man is of a being of dependence, longing for independence, and having needs

Blaise Pascal.

We must only love God, and we must only hate ourselves.

September 4, 2009

We must only love God, and we must only hate ourselves. These two laws are enough to rule the whole Christian republic better than all political laws.


“Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” Rom.13.10