Pensees (Penguin Classics)

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Pensees Penguin Classics by Pascal, Blaise. Mankind emerges from Pascal's analysis as a wretched and desolate creature within an impersonal universe, but who can be transformed through faith in God's grace. This masterly translation conveys Pascal's disarmingly personal tone and captures all the fire and passion of the original.

Also contained in this volume are a comparison between different editions, appendices and a bibliography. Blaise Pascal, the precociously brilliant contemporary of Descartes, was a gifted mathematician and physicist, but it is his unfinished apologia for the Christian religion upon which his reputation now rests.

Pascal had intended to write an ambitious apologia for Christianity but his untimely death prevented the work's completion. The fragments remain a vital part of religious and philosophical literature. View all 6 comments. He then blindly submissive to his desires. And finally, it is unable to be between the infinitely large and the infinitely small.

It is in this fact lies the whole basis of Pascal's thought. According to Pascal, which is essential escapes him, the man is not able to grasp what is secondary knowledge science! Therefore, so the efforts of moralists and philosophers appear terribly ridiculous: Only the heart is the inner being of man, he said, in Thoughts. It is the seat of the immediate intimate knowledge and unprovable: By extension, instead of developing its nature, in the love of God, man unfortunately folds over itself in its own worship.

Therefore, to assume its contradictions, he can not but turn to God solely able to explain the enigma he represents the man has his greatness but also his misery. It is within these two ends he finds his equilibrium and consequently one that will lead, also, to God. View all 5 comments. Not to be mixed up with his first, somewhat less mature work of theology, "Peeneses," this collection of aphorisms and assorted sentence-long bits of wisdom has been pleasing everyone it could since it was written nearly eight thousand years ago.

Pascal's influence on such diverse thinkers as Dostoevsky and Wittgenstein has been incalculable, though his fame probably reached its apex when the world-famous comic strip "Modesty Blaise" was named in his honor. I am no worshipper of the Christ, but B Not to be mixed up with his first, somewhat less mature work of theology, "Peeneses," this collection of aphorisms and assorted sentence-long bits of wisdom has been pleasing everyone it could since it was written nearly eight thousand years ago.

I am no worshipper of the Christ, but Blaise does a good job of demonstrating the impossibility of life without faith I think of him as a precursor of the critics of Enlightenment like Kierkegaard, but I'm probably overstating my case. He was definitely a precursor of John Updike's, though, and some would say that's enough. View all 17 comments. I haven't finished this and I still feel almost ready to give it a 5, Be sure what you believe from the Bible.

But read this for insight even should you disagree with it. I'd call this a book to "read in" rather than a book to read only cover to cover, just me,. This is a tough one. There are two reasons why I read this book: On the back cover of every issue was: Pascal, who was also a famous mathematician, died in , almost two hundred years before Darwin published On The Origin of Species.

He died before he could actually write it. So I finally read this book. And I hated it. I found one insightful passage in the entire thing: No, for he is not thinking of me in particular. But someone who loves a person for her beauty, does he love her? No, because smallpox, which will destroy her beauty without destroying the person, will ensure that he no longer loves her. No, because I can lose these qualities without losing myself. Where is the self, then, if it is neither in the body nor the soul? And how can you love the body or the soul except for its qualities, which do not make up the self, since they are perishable?

That is impossible, and would be unjust. Therefore we never love a person, only qualities. For we love no one except for his borrowed qualities. In other words covetousness, gluttony, et al. We are therefore all condemned to eternal damnation upon our deaths and the only way out of all this is through belief in Jesus Christ as embodied in the Holy Roman Catholic Church, this belief coming not by use of the mind but from the heart.

He goes to great pains to explain the difference in one tedious argument after another, giving examples, analogies … ad infinitum. Bruno went even further, proclaiming the sun to be just one of many of the stars in the night sky and that the universe itself was infinite. I absolutely abhor organized religion of ANY kind. Wow- I read the edited version, which the Levis got down to about , plus a few other essays which were reasonably helpful. Having done this, I'm pretty happy saying that someone should really do a 90 page version, which would give you much of the important material, without any of the random notes.

When people read, say, Heidegger or Dostoevsky, they don't feel obliged to read the notes they made on the back of restaurant menus along the lines of "look up Kierkegaard on the color green" or "t Wow- I read the edited version, which the Levis got down to about , plus a few other essays which were reasonably helpful.

When people read, say, Heidegger or Dostoevsky, they don't feel obliged to read the notes they made on the back of restaurant menus along the lines of "look up Kierkegaard on the color green" or "think through monasticism viz self-hatred". But apparently you need them for Pascal. Well, it ruins the reading experience. Also ruining the reading experience is Pascal being a Jansenist, which raises my Pelagian hackles; and his droning on about miracles, which raises my rationalist hackles. Really, nobody alive today who is reading Pascal needs 40 pages on miracles.

Despite which, I can see that this would have been a really amazing book if he'd lived to re-draft it about a billion times. Start with the modern, reflective, rational self; add grand conversion experience. Okay- now think about 'human nature,' concluding that it's a combination of reason and passions; of will and heart and so on.

Look around you and realize that everything is shitty, thanks to original sin. Remember that you've only been happy since you converted: Don't you want other people to be like that? Of course you do. You think everyone's an asshole, but you're nice enough to wish they weren't, and that they were happy. Because you're a Jansenist jerk you believe that conversion comes from the grace of God, and only from God.

Now you're in a bind: Yes, reason is important, but it can't help us be happy. Yes, eternal happiness is the most important thing, but there's nothing we can do to be happy. Begin angsting in a highly entertaining, intelligent way, which anticipates, among others, Kant and Adorno. That happens to be pages too long thanks to the inclusion of nonsense about miracles. The famous wager's pretty boring by comparison to all that: Anyway, these editors do a fantastic job giving you a way in to this mess, which is otherwise totally overwhelming qua quantity and underwhelming qua quality.

Nov 27, Sophia rated it liked it. Blaise Pascal only cared about pleasure and friends and living a life of happiness Pascal was out late that night with his buddies when he had a near death experience. A runnaway cart nearly crushed the young men. Pascal fainted on the street and had a vision.

When Blaise had regained consiousness he immeadiately wrote a note to himself, which he never told anyone about. Pascal dthen dedicated his life to God. After his death the note was found by hi Blaise Pascal only cared about pleasure and friends and living a life of happiness After his death the note was found by his servant, sewed into his coat.

God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, not of the philosophers and the scholars…" and concluded by quoting Psalm Jul 01, Gary rated it liked it. There are multiple levels to this book. It works best when he's sharing his wisdom by using aphorisms short pithy and usually wise statements. They're so many pearls within this book that it wouldn't be worthwhile to highlight with a highlighter because you would highlight over half of the book. Pascal really has a great way of looking at the world and giving a smart sounding soundbite.

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Matter of fact, I would say this is one of the best self help books I've ever came across. He clearly also h There are multiple levels to this book. He clearly also had parts of a book ready to be published before he died. That's the parts where he proves the truth of the Christian faith by prophecy and its miracles with plenty of bible quotes and those parts flowed more like a book.

From time to time, I dip my toes into apologetic modern writers and not a one has done as well as Pascal does with this book.

Pensées / Pascal ; translated with an introduction by A.J. Krailsheimer - Details - Trove

In addition, Pascal does a really good job of using reason to show that reason can't give you faith, and, furthermore it will take away the mysteries that he holds so dearly. I had recently read Hobbes "Leviathan" and the contrast with this book is enlightening. Hobbes sees the world 'deductively' and would starts with axioms, definitions and universals and then argue his points. Pascal does the opposite for the most part, he goes to the particular to the particular and then to the general.

Both touch on many of the same themes, but, for example, Hobbes will argue the Papist are flawed and miracles are suspect, while Pascal will argue for the truth of the only true universal church Catholicism and miracles are necessary for Christianity. To Pascal tradition, culture and faith rule supremely, Hobbes says the opposite.

It's clear which of the two the Enlightenment embraced and which one they ignored. The book is much more than just about religion though a lot of it is. His world view and his use of aphorisms cohere much more than Nietzsche's do. These two thinkers, Nietzsche and Pascal are completely antithetical but use a similar approach in edifying. I have a problem with using aphorisms for making your points. One can read into them something that is not true and almost always there opposite can be just as true. But wait it can be just as true that "the wise should always speak after all he is wise ".

He's good at his logic. One of my favorites was something like "the epicureans and stoics conclusions are right but we know they are wrong since if there premises were negated they would still be just as true". That's a really interesting way of demonstrating proof by contradiction, but the same logic could be applied to his core beliefs too I suspect.

I had to reflect on his statement "that we know there is one true religion because there are very many false religions". I realized he is actually right, but it's for an obscure reason and I'll let the reader figure out for himself. Oh heck, I'll tell ya. For there to be a 'false religion' there must be a true religion otherwise there can be no such thing as religion. Look it's his argument not mine. Overall his method of argumentation is better than most modern day apologia, there is a large portion of the book that deals with witty sayings that can help one cope with the day-to-day, most modern day apologetic arguments go no further than what's in this book, and it's fun to watch someone using reason to defeat reason.

Feb 08, Adriane Devries rated it it was amazing Shelves: For all his deep thoughts of faith and reason, the wretchedness of man, theology and the controversial schisms of the church during his time, the heart of Blaise Pascal, French philosopher and physicist of the s and author of his famous Wager encouraging belief over apathetic agnosticism, can perhaps be best summed up in this simple declaration: I love poverty because he loved it.

I love wealth because it affords me the means of For all his deep thoughts of faith and reason, the wretchedness of man, theology and the controversial schisms of the church during his time, the heart of Blaise Pascal, French philosopher and physicist of the s and author of his famous Wager encouraging belief over apathetic agnosticism, can perhaps be best summed up in this simple declaration: I love wealth because it affords me the means of helping the needy.

I keep faith with everyone. I do not render evil to those who do evil to me, but wish them a condition like my own, in which one receives neither good nor evil at the hands of men. I try to be just, genuine, sincere and loyal to all men, and I feel special affection for those to whom God has most intimately joined me. And whether I am alone or in the sight of others, in all my doings I am in the sight of God, who must judge them and to whom I have devoted them all. These are my feelings. And all the days of my life I bless my Redeemer, who implanted them in me and who made a man full of weakness, wretchedness, concupiscence, pride and ambition into one free from all these evils, by the power of his grace, to which all glory for this is due, since nothing but wretchedness and error come from me.

May 10, Spoust1 rated it really liked it. The highlight, aside from the famous section on "the wager," was Pascal's sense of the human situation as fundamentally divided, torn between spirit and body, good and evil, divine and and mortal, finite and infinite.

Christianity's truth, for Pascal, consists in part in how it makes room for the duality inherent in the human. This leads him to a conception of faith as being not beyond reason, exactly, because there are "signs," and there is truth in Christianity see: Pascal's theology of the human leads him to take a lot of these interesting in-between positions. Most of the writing is quite enjoyable. Hume mixed with Kierkegaard, aphorism-style. Some of the bits towards the end on scripture and miracles and other such things are tedious and will be flatly unconvincing to the modern reader.

Which is not to say that his reading of Christianity is itself outdated. That, scattered throughout and not only -- or primarily -- contained in these later chapters, is strikingly modern. He speaks to us still, as a contemporary as so many do. Feb 16, Marie rated it it was amazing Shelves: I sure do have a lot to think about after reading this in its entirety, and worse, in a day. Even getting more difficult for those who are not familiar with latin or Bible towards the end, it's worth reading.

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I have had the luck to be able to read the edition with T. Eliot's introduction right from Project Gutenberg. I do recommend that one as well, if you can find it in a printed v I sure do have a lot to think about after reading this in its entirety, and worse, in a day. I do recommend that one as well, if you can find it in a printed version, so as not to be desperately scrolling through endless pages.

A lot of what I had been discussing and thinking about in my actual process of converting is present here, and exposed with such intelligence and apparent simplicity that it's frightening. Jan 02, Doutor Branco rated it it was amazing Shelves: It really is a fantastic book. It's rich in so many different ways.

Apr 02, Nick Gibson rated it it was amazing. A dreamlike read - like when a character in a film drifts in and out of consciousness and catches only bits and pieces of the surrounding events. But then Pascal will suddenly explode from the page with insight earnestly expressed and original in perspective. A few themes worth calling out First, a deep interest in the role of the Jewish people in God's plan, especially A dreamlike read - like when a character in a film drifts in and out of consciousness and catches only bits and pieces of the surrounding events.

First, a deep interest in the role of the Jewish people in God's plan, especially as witnesses for Christ despite their denial of His identity as Messiah. Especially because of that denial, in fact. Second, surprising ideas about the divine logic behind the quirks of special revelation. Third, a beautifully Biblical perception of the inadequacy of human reason and the need for graceful, special revelation to think rightly.

He wasn't orthodox - from a Reformed Protestant perspective. But he did try to think biblically. He held to biblical distinctions in defiance of his Enlightenment context.


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He struggled against the Jesuits. He sympathized with the Jansenists. He held fast to his encounter with the real, personal, living God. And he did all this in less than forty years while breaking new ground in the study of vacuum, fluids, calculators, geometry, and probability. Oh, and he didn't buy into the hype around Descartes and Montaigne.

Jul 18, Simon Robs rated it really liked it. Zizek, excerpted from piece in today's: One of the guys who really got what modernity is about is Blaise Pascal. As such, he understood much Zizek, excerpted from piece in today's: As such, he understood much better what was emerging with modern science than all those scientific empiricist enthusiasts or whatever. What may appear as a conservative move is something that enables you to see things that others may not see.

Dec 04, Deni rated it it was amazing. Pensamientos sueltos, repleto de citas impresionantes que no puedo enumerar una a una. Encuentro la cancha cuando leo a Pascal. La necesidad que produce estar vivo, el verdadero dolor, el tedio, la angustia. Y somos tan vanos que la estima de cinco o seis personas que nos rodean nos entretiene y contenta'. Y se pone super bajonero si le pinta. Y las cosas que dice de Dios Pascal gets four stars. Pascal is a Reformation-era Roman Catholic in good standing. He is Augustinian, and therefore Calvinist in many respects, but despises Calvin.

To top it off, he's a mathematician, not a theologian. So the outcome can be quite scattered at times. Still, for a book that he never actually wrote, this is a remarkable book. The introduction also misrepresents Calvin so blatantly as to be embarrassing coming from such a reputable scholar. Also, the notes aren't as helpful as I'd hoped they would be and are hidden away at the end of the book vs.

Overall, Pascal is well worth the read. Jul 16, Andrew added it Shelves: I'm the wrong person for this, the wrong person entirely. It's hard to fault Pascal's prose, and while a lot of these little aphorisms are rather wonderful, melancholy mutterings. And in fact, it comes off as rather desperate towards the end, which, perhaps can be expected from t I'm the wrong person for this, the wrong person entirely.

And in fact, it comes off as rather desperate towards the end, which, perhaps can be expected from the father of fake-it-til-you-make-it theology. Some beautiful bits though, especially earlier on. Augustine, with a precursor of Existentialism. Pascal is an existentialist. Please try your search again later. For warranty information about this product, please click here.

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