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  1. #1
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Default On Blaise Pascal

    Here's someone who I've felt some level of kinship with, yet haven't seriously read through his material. I'll paste some things in here that i have found kinship with as I've read.

    Mathematics, intuition.--True eloquence makes light of eloquence, true morality makes light of morality; that is to say, the morality of the judgement, which has no rules, makes light of the morality of the intellect.

    For it is to judgement that perception belongs, as science belongs to intellect. Intuition is the part of judgement, mathematics of intellect.

    To make light of philosophy is to be a true philosopher.
    My new tagline. Those who strive to be something usually fail because they are caught up in the structure of it -- of how to BE that thing, of how to MAKE that thing happen. They try too hard.

    To whit, people who try to be eloquent fail -- they mistake complexity for beauty.

    Those who try to be moral fail -- they mistake rigidity and specificity for virtue.

    Those who try to be philosophical fail -- they mistake abstractions for things of relevance.

    People seek control, to CREATE these things.
    But it's about tapping into something deeper.
    Something of simplicity that doesn't need to complicated structure in order to be implemented.


    When we wish to correct with advantage and to show another that he errs, we must notice from what side he views the matter, for on that side it is usually true, and admit that truth to him, but reveal to him the side on which it is false. He is satisfied with that, for he sees that he was not mistaken and that he only failed to see all sides. Now, no one is offended at not seeing everything; but one does not like to be mistaken, and that perhaps arises from the fact that man naturally cannot see everything, and that naturally he cannot err in the side he looks at, since the perceptions of our senses are always true.
    Beautiful words, especially for a diverse discussion site. If people would approach discussions here with this attitude, much fighting might be averted.

    People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come into the mind of others.
    When we arrive at an idea ourselves, it sticks and it's ours.

    That is why good teachers teach their students how to THINK rather than beat finished conclusions into their heads. Teaching someone how to think allows them to own their conclusions.

    Words differently arranged have a different meaning, and meanings differently arranged have different effects.
    Context and arrangement is everything.
    And even words are made of the same letters in different configurations and placement in time.

    eloquence: It requires the pleasant and the real; but the pleasant must itself be drawn from the true.
    eloquence without truth at the root of its pleasantness is hollow and tasteless at core.

    We should not be able to say of a man, "He is a mathematician," or "a preacher," or "eloquent"; but that he is "a gentleman." That universal quality alone pleases me. It is a bad sign when, on seeing a person, you remember his book.
    Ideas often inspire positive thoughts towards the thinker. So, when we meet a man, if we are forced to remember just his ideas, after be predisposed otherwise, it says something poor of his character than we could not make that transference intuitively.

    Do you wish people to believe good of you? Don't speak.
    lol. yeah.

    A maker of witticisms, a bad character.
    Better yet.

    You are ungraceful: "Excuse me, pray." Without that excuse I would not have known there was anything amiss. "With reverence be it spoken..." The only thing bad is their excuse.
    Sometimes we're our own worst critics, and the bad is merely in our own eyes; others see nothing.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  2. #2
    The Black Knight Domino's Avatar
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    I love Blaise. I read his "Pensees" and filled up a notebook with passages that I really loved, including the second quote about perspective.
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  3. #3
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    Pascal is one of my great mentors of faith. I could engage in endless discussion with the man. I'm hoping to obtain Peter Kreeft's commentary on Pensees in the near future.

    Here are some of my favorite sayings of his(then again, I quote entire chapters from him):


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

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

    "Men despise religion; they hate it and fear it is true."

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

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

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

    "Human beings must be known to be loved; but Divine beings must be loved to be known."

  4. #4
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    Pascal is one of my great mentors of faith. I could engage in endless discussion with the man. I'm hoping to obtain Peter Kreeft's commentary on Pensees in the near future.
    I think that's the version I own; but I was at work, so I had to settle for a free online copy today. I'll be digging through my boxes for it here and hopefully will find it.

    Good quotes, all of them.

    I find this one intriguing:
    "Men despise religion; they hate it and fear it is true."

    You'd think that if someone did not believe religion true, they could shrug it off (aside from perhaps hating the impact it has had on particular cultures). But often an individual's negative response puts out a vibe that they do have an underlying fear that it could be true after all but don't want to accept it.

    I think I had looked up Fidelism the other day and laughed because the four thinkers mentioned in conjunction with it (not necessarily Christians, but contributing a philosophy that said reason was NOT dependable enough to discern ultimate truth) were ones I had always been fascinated by: Pascal, Kierkegaard, William James, and Wittgenstein.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  5. #5
    Senior Member animenagai's Avatar
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    i'm shocked that no one has mentioned pascal's wager. don't have any direct quotes, but i'll paraphrase it.

    one either believes in god or one doesn't. god either exist or he doesn't. let us draw up a table for all the possibilities (i'm not actually gonna draw one :P). you can believe in god and god can exist, you can believe in god and god can not exist, you may not believe in god and god may exist, you may not believe in god and god may not exist. now, let us think about the consequences of believing/not believing in god. if i believe in god, i'll have to give up a certain number of 'happiness points' so i could go to church every sunday, not drink all the time etc. for the sake of simplicity, let's call this arbitary number 500 happiness points. therefore, if i don't believe in god and god does not exist, i would have earned +500 happiness points. if i don't believe in god and god does exist, i go to hell. that's an eternity of suffering and hence negative infinite amount of happiness points. however, if i believe in god and god does exist, i get to go to heaven. that's eternal bliss. by definition, that's an infinite amount of happiness points. if i believe in god but god doesn't exist, i lost out going to church when i coulda been with my friends. that's negative 500 points worth of happiness, or 500 happiness points lost.

    given this, if i believe in god i can either gain an infinite amount of happiness or lose say 500 units of happiness. if i don't believe in god i can gain a set unit of happiness (500) and lose an infinite amount of happiness. given this, your odds of winning out in terms of happiness are much better if you believe in god. hence if you are on the fence, the logical thing is to believe in god.

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    Quote Originally Posted by animenagai View Post
    i'm shocked that no one has mentioned pascal's wager. don't have any direct quotes, but i'll paraphrase it...
    That's quite a cluster**** Pascal has come up with: Focus on one aspect of the argument, pick one religion out of a hat, etc. And it's patently selfish.

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    Senior Member LostInNerSpace's Avatar
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    He once abandoned mathematics because he considered it a form of sexual indulgence. I'm considering doing the same of posting here.

  8. #8
    Sniffles
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I find this one intriguing:
    "Men despise religion; they hate it and fear it is true."

    You'd think that if someone did not believe religion true, they could shrug it off (aside from perhaps hating the impact it has had on particular cultures). But often an individual's negative response puts out a vibe that they do have an underlying fear that it could be true after all but don't want to accept it.
    Many religious writers have dealt with this issue. Kierkegaard termed this as Despair to be oneself. People in this state reject the idea of God and religion simply because they cannot tolerate the idea of being told what to do. And of course this bravado is often conducted in an attempt to overcome one's deep insecurities.

    So while many talk about the psychology of religion, there's also much that can be said about the psychology of irreligion. Irreligion is as much a crutch as any religion.

  9. #9
    The Black Knight Domino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LostInNerSpace View Post
    He once abandoned mathematics because he considered it a form of sexual indulgence. I'm considering doing the same of posting here.
    lol... Oh, Blaise, your equations are so very big!
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by animenagai View Post
    i'm shocked that no one has mentioned pascal's wager.
    Yes and many have pointed out the flaws of Pascal's wager. I agree with the argument that such critiques often miss the major point presented.

    Pascal's argument may not be as air-tight as he thought, but it still raises an important issue we all have to face: we all have a fundamental choice to make in regards to our ultimate fate, and when we make that choice we are essentially wagering that our choice is the right one.

    It's the ultimate Either/Or situation. Although Kierkegaard insisted that logic and mathematical probability is largely irrelevant in this kind of situation, one can only make the decision upon faith.

    So we see the difference between the NT(Pascal) and the NF(Kierkegaard) approach to the same issue.

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