Pensée

From number 136, in the Krailsheimer edition:

Sometime, when I set to thinking about the various activities of men, the dangers and troubles which they face at Court, or in war, giving rise to so many quarrels and passions, daring and often wicked enterprises and so on, I have often said that the sole cause of man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room.

Pascal saw in Man’s constant need for diversion our terror of the abyss of wretchedness we must confront if we are brave enough to look within ourselves. In this he was exactly right.

Man has not changed: the wretchedness is real enough, and the diversion more cacaphonous than ever. What can be done? For Pascal, the answer lay in God. But is God as real as the wretchedness? If not we need another approach.

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