- Author: Blaise Pascal
- Title: Pensées
- Published: 1670 (incomplete at death)
- Language: French
- Edition: Le Livre de Poche ISBN 978225316960
- List Reading Challenges 2018
- Monthly planning
- Classic Club Master list
- Difficult, difficult..very difficult to read in French!
- I realized the edition I had was more than just Pensées.
- Of the 736 pages I read the first part (pg 5-257)
- …and that was enough!
- But, no matter how difficult this book was
- …I never gave up.
- I knew there had to be some ‘gems’
- of wisdom waiting for me.
- Pascal was a genius in his time.
- He excelled in science and mathematics
- …before his turn to religion.
- Pensées captures his insights in elegant
- pithy (difficult) phrases.
- His words at times went over my head (existential)
- …but at other times his words went straight to my heart.
- I will end with one of his most famous quotes:
- “Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît point”
- The heart has its reasons which reason does not know.
- Yes, I had thoughts….about Pascal’s thoughts!
- Here are a few things I jotted down while reading.
- This is a #Classic…and I am glad I can
- …say I have a general idea what it is about!
Humor: (pg 51)
The causes and effects of love:
… if Cleopatra’s nose had been shorter
….it would have changed the face of the world!
Faith: …beautifully said! (pg 55)
Faith is in our heart and
makes us NOT say I know….but I believe.
Chiasmus: (pg 66)
The sentence is grammatically the same, even when it is reversed!
Peu de chose nous console parce que
Peu de chose nous afflige
A few things console us because
A few things distress us
I skipped a few long discussions
about imagination vs reason….it was just too long
too complicated. (pg 66-73) Forgive me…
pyrrhonism – I skipped pg 113 – 119… Forgive me…
disproportion of man – I skipped pg 161 – 171… Forgive me…
These are not ‘short thoughts’ (pensées)…they are small essays!
that are difficult in English…not to mention in French.
Pascal uses (…what I call) 1-2-3 — 3-2-1 logic!
The words are reversed to give another meaning.
This ‘redoubles’ its complexity!
I have to read these fragments very slowly and let the thought sink in!
Here is an example:
Il soit force (1) d’obéir (2) à la justice. (3)
Il soit juste (3) d’obéir (2) à la force. (1)
It is forced to obey justice
…it is just to obey force. (pg 93)
Amusement (pg 121)
Men attempt to forget their misery
rather than find true happiness.
Only amusement permits him to flee
…his tragic existence.
Religion: (pg 151)
- There are a few true Christians.
There are those who believe
- …but through superstition.
There are those who do not believe
- …through the lack of moral restraint.
Few are in between
Religion: (pg 154)
Faith says what the senses cannot say
not the contrary of what they (senses) say.
Faith is well above…and not against.
Thought: (Pensée) (pg171)
Our dignity is contained in the mind (pensée)
It is there that we pick ourselves up again….
Try to think.