Blaise Pascal

Blaise Pascal

Blaise Pascal (19 June 1623 – 19 August 1662) was a French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Christian philosopher. He was a child prodigy who was educated by his father, a tax collector in Rouen. Pascal's earliest work was in the natural and applied sciences where he made important contributions to the study of fluids, and clarified the concepts of pressure and vacuum by generalising the work of Evangelista Torricelli. Pascal also wrote in defence of the scientific method.

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Time heals griefs and quarrels for we change and are no longer the same persons. Neither the offender nor the offended are any more themselves.

Can anything be stupider than that a man has the right to kill me because he lives on the other side of a river and his ruler has a quarrel with mine, though I have not quarrelled with him?

Eloquence is a painting of the thoughts.

Imagination decides everything.

All human evil comes from a single cause, man's inability to sit still in a room.

Faith is different from proof, the latter is human, the former is a Gift from God.

Belief is a wise wager. Granted that faith cannot be proved what harm will come to you if you gamble on its truth and it proves false? If you gain you gain all, if you lose you lose nothing. Wager then without hesitation that He exists.

Evil is easy and has infinite forms.

The consciousness of the falsity of present pleasures, and the ignorance of the vanity of absent pleasures, cause inconstancy.

Desire and force between them are responsible for all our actions, desire causes our voluntary acts, force our involuntary.

The self is hateful.

Concupiscence and force are the source of all our actions, concupiscence causes voluntary actions, force involuntary ones.

Men despise religion. They hate it and are afraid it may be true.

Imagination disposes of everything, it creates beauty, justice and happiness, which are everything in this world.

That we must love one God only is a thing so evident that it does not require miracles to prove it.

Between us and heaven or hell there is only life which is the frailest thing in the world.

He that takes truth for his guide and duty for his end may safely trust to God's providence to lead him aright.

It is the fight alone that pleases us not the victory.

Men often take their imagination for their heart, and they believe they are converted as soon as they think of being converted.

The finite is annihilated in the presence of the infinite and becomes a pure nothing. So our spirit before God so our justice before divine justice.

The last act is bloody however pleasant all the rest of the play is: a little earth is thrown at last upon our head and that is the end forever.

If we must not act save on a certainty we ought not to act on religion for it is not certain. But how many things we do on an uncertainty sea voyages battles!

As men are not able to fight against death misery ignorance they have taken it into their heads in order to be happy not to think of them at all.

If you gain you gain all. If you lose you lose nothing. Wager then without hesitation that He exists.

There are some who speak well and write badly. For the place and the audience warm them and draw from their minds more than they think of without that warmth.

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

When we are in love we seem to ourselves quite different from what we were before.

I can well conceive a man without hands feet head. But I cannot conceive man without thought, he would be a stone or a brute.

Love has reasons which reason cannot understand.

Nature is an infinite sphere of which the center is everywhere and the circumference nowhere.

One must know oneself. If this does not serve to discover truth it at least serves as a rule of life and there is nothing better.

Justice and power must be brought together so that whatever is just may be powerful and whatever is powerful may be just.

Human beings must be known to be loved, but Divine beings must be loved to be known.

We know the truth not only by the reason but also by the heart.

Nothing fortifies scepticism more than the fact that there are some who are not sceptics, if all were so they would be wrong.

Men are so necessarily mad that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness.

Faith indeed tells what the senses do not tell but not the contrary of what they see. It is above them and not contrary to them.

Contradiction is not a sign of falsity nor the lack of contradiction a sign of truth.

You always admire what you really don't understand.

Nothing gives rest but the sincere search for truth.

We sail within a vast sphere ever drifting in uncertainty driven from end to end.

We view things not only from different sides but with different eyes, we have no wish to find them alike.

I have discovered that all human evil comes from this man's being unable to sit still in a room.

Little things console us because little things afflict us.

Our nature consists in motion, complete rest is death.

The present letter is a very long one simply because I had no leisure to make it shorter.

Small minds are concerned with the extraordinary great minds with the ordinary.

There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing but only by God the Creator made known through Jesus.

Thus so wretched is man that he would weary even without any cause for weariness... and so frivolous is he that though full of a thousand reasons for weariness the least thing such as playing billiards or hitting a ball is sufficient enough to amuse him.

Reason commands us far more imperiously than a master, for in disobeying the one we are unfortunate and in disobeying the other we are fools.

The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.

Faith certainly tells us what the senses do not but not the contrary of what they see, it is above not against them.

Truth is so obscure in these times and falsehood so established that unless we love the truth we cannot know it.

The eternal silence of these infinite spaces frightens me.

We are only falsehood duplicity contradiction, we both conceal and disguise ourselves from ourselves.

If man made himself the first object of study he would see how incapable he is of going further. How can a part know the whole?

The greatness of man is great in that he knows himself to be wretched. A tree does not know itself to be wretched.

If all men knew what others say of them there would not be four friends in the world.

Noble deeds that are concealed are most esteemed.

We like security: we like the pope to be infallible in matters of faith and grave doctors to be so in moral questions so that we can feel reassured.

We never love a person but only qualities.

The least movement is of importance to all nature. The entire ocean is affected by a pebble.

Even those who write against fame wish for the fame of having written well and those who read their works desire the fame of having read them.

Our soul is cast into a body where it finds number time dimension. Thereupon it reasons and calls this nature necessity and can believe nothing else.

It is not good to be too free. It is not good to have everything one wants.

I have made this letter longer than usual only because I have not had the time to make it shorter.

The weather and my mood have little connection. I have my foggy and my fine days within me, my prosperity or misfortune has little to do with the matter.

Continuous eloquence wearies. Grandeur must be abandoned to be appreciated. Continuity in everything is unpleasant. Cold is agreeable that we may get warm.

Justice and truth are too such subtle points that our tools are too blunt to touch them accurately.

The last proceeding of reason is to recognize that there is an infinity of things which are beyond it. There is nothing so conformable to reason as this disavowal of reason.

When we see a natural style we are astonished and charmed, for we expected to see an author and we find a person.

Nothing is so intolerable to man as being fully at rest without a passion without business without entertainment without care.

Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much.

The immortality of the soul is a matter which is of so great consequence to us and which touches us so profoundly that we must have lost all feeling to be indifferent about it.

The supreme function of reason is to show man that some things are beyond reason.

Man's true nature being lost everything becomes his nature, as his true good being lost everything becomes his good.

I maintain that if everyone knew what others said about him there would not be four friends in the world.

All men's miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.

The knowledge of God is very far from the love of Him.

Vanity is but the surface.

The only shame is to have none.

It is incomprehensible that God should exist and it is incomprehensible that he should not exist.

Through space the universe encompasses and swallows me up like an atom, through thought I comprehend the world.

Faith embraces many truths which seem to contradict each other.

Justice without force is powerless, force without justice is tyrannical.

In each action we must look beyond the action at our past present and future state and at others whom it affects and see the relations of all those things. And then we shall be very cautious.

The struggle alone pleases us not the victory.

We conceal it from ourselves in vain - we must always love something. In those matters seemingly removed from love the feeling is secretly to be found and man cannot possibly live for a moment without it.

Words differently arranged have a different meaning and meanings differently arranged have different effects.

Vanity of science. Knowledge of physical science will not console me for ignorance of morality in time of affliction but knowledge of morality will always console me for ignorance of physical science.

A trifle consoles us for a trifle distresses us.

The greater intellect one has the more originality one finds in men. Ordinary persons find no difference between men.

Nothing is as approved as mediocrity the majority has established it and it fixes it fangs on whatever gets beyond it either way.

Atheism shows strength of mind but only to a certain degree.

In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don't.

Two things control men's nature instinct and experience.

People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

Justice is what is established, and thus all our established laws will necessarily be regarded as just without examination since they are established.

If our condition were truly happy we would not seek diversion from it in order to make ourselves happy.

Men blaspheme what they do not know.

Law without force is impotent.

Chance gives rise to thoughts and chance removes them, no art can keep or acquire them.

Man's greatness lies in his power of thought.

Custom is our nature. What are our natural principles but principles of custom?

Jesus is the God whom we can approach without pride and before whom we can humble ourselves without despair.

It is natural for the mind to believe and for the will to love, so that for want of true objects they must attach themselves to false.

The charm of fame is so great that we like every object to which it is attached even death.

Happiness is neither without us nor within us. It is in God both without us and within us.

Since we cannot know all that there is to be known about anything we ought to know a little about everything.

Do you wish people to think well of you? Don't speak well of yourself.

If we examine our thoughts we shall find them always occupied with the past and the future.

The strength of a man's virtue should not be measured by his special exertions but by his habitual acts.

People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come in to the mind of others.

The sensitivity of men to small matters and their indifference to great ones indicates a strange inversion.

It is the heart which perceives God and not the reason. That is what faith is: God perceived by the heart not by the reason.

Habit is a second nature that destroys the first. But what is nature? Why is habit not natural? I am very much afraid that nature itself is only a first habit just as habit is a second nature.

Few friendships would survive if each one knew what his friend says of him behind his back.

There are two kinds of people one can call reasonable: those who serve God with all their heart because they know him and those who seek him with all their heart because they do not know him.

We only consult the ear because the heart is wanting.

Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.

It is good to be tired and wearied by the futile search after the true good that we may stretch out our arms to the Redeemer.

Man is but a reed the most feeble thing in nature but he is a thinking reed.

Truly it is an evil to be full of faults, but it is a still greater evil to be full of them and to be unwilling to recognize them since that is to add the further fault of a voluntary illusion.

All of our reasoning ends in surrender to feeling.

There are only two kinds of men: the righteous who think they are sinners and the sinners who think they are righteous.

The gospel to me is simply irresistible.

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

Earnestness is enthusiasm tempered by reason.

To have no time for philosophy is to be a true philosopher.