Monday, November 23, 2009

November 23: Less Than Stardust (Vol. 48, pp. 26-36)

Pascal began writing his "Thoughts" this day in 1654. Today's selection is "Misery of Man Without God." He was apparently a Jansenist — one of the offshoots of post-Reformation Catholicism that resembled Calvinism in its insistence on grace and predestination of the soul at the expense of free will.

While Pascal wrote with fierce logic and reason — maybe with too much of these qualities — he goes spinning off into a meditation of man's place in the universe and concludes we rest somewhere between the infinite and the nothingless void.

Best observation here: "One must know oneself. If this does not serve to discover truth, it at least serves as a rule of life, and there is nothing better."

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