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Pascal's Pensées

Blaise Pascal

Book Overview: 

Pascal's Pensées is widely considered to be a masterpiece, and a landmark in French prose. " In Pensées, Pascal surveys several philosophical paradoxes: infinity and nothing, faith and reason, soul and matter, death and life, meaning and vanity—seemingly arriving at no definitive conclusions besides humility, ignorance, and grace. Rolling these into one he develops Pascal's Wager. (Summary from Wikipedia)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .They are still Frenchmen, but not the same.

123

He no longer loves the person whom he loved ten years ago. I quite believe it. She is no longer the same, nor is he. He was young, and she also; she is quite different. He would perhaps love her yet, if she were what she was then.

124

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

125

Contraries.—Man is naturally credulous and incredulous, timid and rash.

126

Description of man: dependency, desire of independence, need.

127

Condition of man: inconstancy, weariness, unrest.

128

The weariness which is felt by us in leaving pursuits to which we are attached. A man dwells at home with pleasure; but if he sees a woman who charms him, or if he enjoys himself in play for five or six days, he is miserable if he returns to his former way of living. Nothing is more common than that.Read More

Community Reviews

Pascal seems to have been born for greatness. At a young age he displayed an intense talent for mathematics, apparently deducing a few propositions of Euclid by himself; and he matured into one of the great mathematical minds of Europe, making fundamental contributions to the science of probability.

“Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature; but he is a thinking reed. The entire universe need not arm itself to crush him. A vapour, a drop of water suffices to kill him. But, if the universe were to crush him, man would still be more noble than that which killed him, because he knows

Religious Thoughts of a Mathematician
29 August 2016 - Paris, France

When I was learning French I was rather thrown by the way their numbers work after about 60, as is demonstrated by this picture, which shows how English, German, and French construct the number 98:

My first thought was 'this is abso

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