varia

Blaise Pascal (born 19 June, 1623, died 19 August, 1662), pictured above in a portrait by an artist now unknown, in the collections of the Catholic Archdiocese of Toulouse, France
From the Pensées:
Not to care for philosophy is to be a true philosopher.***Too much and too little wine. Give him none, he cannot find truth; give him too much, the same.***Parents fear lest the natural love of their children may fade away. What kind of nature is that which is subject to decay? Custom is a second nature which destroys the former. But what is nature? For is custom not natural? I am much afraid that nature is itself only a first custom, as custom is a second nature.The nature of man is wholly natural, omne animal.There is nothing he may not make natural; there is nothing natural he may not lose.***Memory, joy, are intuitions; and even mathematical propositions become intuitions, for education produces natural intuitions, and natural intuitions are erased by education.***Man is no more than a reed, the weakest in nature.  But he is a thinking reed.***Misery.—The only thing which consoles us for our miseries is diversion, and yet this it the greatest of our miseries. For it is this which principally hinders us from reflecting upon ourselves, and which makes us insensibly ruin ourselves. Without this we should be in a state of weariness, and this weariness would spur us to seek a more solid means of escaping from it. But diversion amuses us, and leads us unconsciously to death.***Let each one examine his thoughts, and he will find them all occupied with the past and the future. We scarcely ever think of the present; and if we think of it, it is only to take light from it to arrange the future. The present is never our end. The past and the present are our means; the future alone is our end.  So we never live, but we hope to live; and, as we are always preparing to be happy, it is inevitable we should never be so.***We run carelessly to the precipice, after we have put something before us to prevent us seeing it.***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? Nature confutes the sceptics, and reason confutes the dogmatists. What then will you become, O men! who try to find out by your natural reason what is your true condition? You cannot avoid one of these sects, nor adhere to one of them.Know then, proud man, what a paradox you are to yourself…***We desire truth, and find within ourselves only uncertainty.We seek happiness, and find only misery and death.We cannot but desire truth and happiness, and are incapable of certainty or happiness. This desire is left to us, partly to punish us, partly to make us perceive wherefrom we are fallen.***Self is hateful […]  In a word, the Self has two qualities: it is unjust in itself since it makes itself the centre of everything; it is inconvenient to others since it would enslave them; for each Self is the enemy, and would like to be the tyrant of all others.***We must keep silent as much as possible and talk with ourselves only of God, whom we know to be true; and thus we convince ourselves of the truth.

—from the Pensées (first published in 1669; here translated from the French by W. F. Trotter)

Blaise Pascal (born 19 June, 1623, died 19 August, 1662), pictured above in a portrait by an artist now unknown, in the collections of the Catholic Archdiocese of Toulouse, France

From the Pensées:

Not to care for philosophy is to be a true philosopher.


***


Too much and too little wine. Give him none, he cannot find truth; give him too much, the same.


***

Parents fear lest the natural love of their children may fade away. What kind of nature is that which is subject to decay? Custom is a second nature which destroys the former. But what is nature? For is custom not natural? I am much afraid that nature is itself only a first custom, as custom is a second nature.

The nature of man is wholly natural, omne animal.

There is nothing he may not make natural; there is nothing natural he may not lose.


***


Memory, joy, are intuitions; and even mathematical propositions become intuitions, for education produces natural intuitions, and natural intuitions are erased by education.


***


Man is no more than a reed, the weakest in nature.  But he is a thinking reed.


***


Misery.—The only thing which consoles us for our miseries is diversion, and yet this it the greatest of our miseries. For it is this which principally hinders us from reflecting upon ourselves, and which makes us insensibly ruin ourselves. Without this we should be in a state of weariness, and this weariness would spur us to seek a more solid means of escaping from it. But diversion amuses us, and leads us unconsciously to death.


***


Let each one examine his thoughts, and he will find them all occupied with the past and the future. We scarcely ever think of the present; and if we think of it, it is only to take light from it to arrange the future. The present is never our end. The past and the present are our means; the future alone is our end.  So we never live, but we hope to live; and, as we are always preparing to be happy, it is inevitable we should never be so.


***


We run carelessly to the precipice, after we have put something before us to prevent us seeing it.


***


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? Nature confutes the sceptics, and reason confutes the dogmatists. What then will you become, O men! who try to find out by your natural reason what is your true condition? You cannot avoid one of these sects, nor adhere to one of them.

Know then, proud man, what a paradox you are to yourself…


***


We desire truth, and find within ourselves only uncertainty.

We seek happiness, and find only misery and death.

We cannot but desire truth and happiness, and are incapable of certainty or happiness. This desire is left to us, partly to punish us, partly to make us perceive wherefrom we are fallen.


***


Self is hateful […]  In a word, the Self has two qualities: it is unjust in itself since it makes itself the centre of everything; it is inconvenient to others since it would enslave them; for each Self is the enemy, and would like to be the tyrant of all others.


***


We must keep silent as much as possible and talk with ourselves only of God, whom we know to be true; and thus we convince ourselves of the truth.

—from the Pensées (first published in 1669; here translated from the French by W. F. Trotter)