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BLAISE PASCAL
French philosopher, physicist, geometer and writer
(1623 - 1662)
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Necessity, that great refuge and excuse for human frailty, breaks through all law; and he is not to be accounted in fault whose crime is not the effect of choice, but force.
      - [Necessity]

Not the zeal alone of those who seek Him proves God, but the blindness of those who seek Him not.
      - [Zeal]

Nothing is thoroughly approved but mediocrity. The majority have established this.
      - [Mediocrity]

One-half of life is admitted by us to be passed in sleep, in which, however, it may appear otherwise, we have no perception of truth, and all our feelings are delusions; who knows but the other half of life, in which we think we are awake, is a sleep also, but in some respects different from the other, and from which we wake when we, as we call it, sleep. As a man dreams often that he is dreaming, crowding one dreamy delusion on another.
      - [Sleep]

Opinion is the queen of the world.
  [Lat., Della opinione regina del mondo.]
      - quoted as the title of an Italian work
        [Opinion]

Opinion is, as it were, the queen of the world, but force is its tyrant.
      - [Opinion]

Orthodoxy on one side of the Pyrenees may be heresy on the other.
      - [Opinion]

Our imagination so magnifies this present existence, by the power of continual reflection on it, and so attenuates eternity, by not thinking of it at all, that we reduce an eternity to nothingness, and expand a mere nothing to an eternity; and this habit is so inveterately rooted in us that all the force of reason cannot induce us to lay it aside.
      - [Eternity]

Our senses will not admit anything extreme. Too much noise confuses us, too much light dazzles us, too great distance or nearness prevents vision, too great prolixity or brevity weakens an argument, too much pleasure gives pain, too much accordance annoys.
      - [Extremes]

Parents fear the destruction of natural affection in their children. What is this natural principle so liable to decay? Habit is a second nature, which destroys the first. Why is not custom nature? I suspect that this nature itself is but a first custom, as custom is a second nature.
      - [Custom]

Perfect clarity would profit the intellect but damage the will.
      - [Perfection]

Piety is different from superstition. To carry piety to the extent of superstition is to destroy it. The heretics reproach us with this superstitious submission. It is doing what they reproach us with.
      - [Superstition]

Power is the queen of the world, not opinion; but opinion makes use of power.
      - [Power]

Pride counterbalances all our miseries, for it either hides them, or, if it discloses them, boasts of that disclosure. Pride has such a thorough possession of us, even in the midst of our miseries and faults, that we are prepared to sacrifice life with joy, if it may but be talked of.
      - [Pride]

Reason's last step is the recognition that there are an infinite number of things which are beyond it.
      - [Reason]

Reflect on death as in Jesus Christ, not as without Jesus Christ. Without Jesus Christ it is dreadful, it is alarming, it is the terror of nature. In Jesus Christ it is fair and lovely, it is good and holy, it is the joy of saints.
      - [Death]

St. Augustine teaches us that there is in each man a Serpent, an Eve, and an Adam. Our senses and natural propensities are the Serpent; the excitable desire is the Eve; and reason is the Adam. Our nature tempts us perpetually; criminal desire is often excited; but sin is not completed till reason consents.
      - [Temptation]

Symmetry is what we see at a glance.
      - [Perception]

That queen, of error, whom we call fancy and opinion, is the more deceitful because she does not always deceive. She would be the infallible rule of truth if she were the infallible rule of falsehood; but being only most frequently in error, she gives no evidence of her real quality, for she marks with the same character both that which is true and that which is false.
      - [Fancy]

The authority of reason is far more imperious than that of a master; for he who disobeys the one is unhappy, but he who disobeys the other is a fool.
      - [Reason]

The Church limits her sacramental services to the faithful. Christ gave Himself upon the cross a ransom for all.
      - [Christianity : Churches]

The Eternal Being is forever if He is at all.
      - [God]

The finite is annihilated in the presence of infinity, and becomes a simple nothing.
      - [Infinite]

The highest order of mind is accused of folly, as well as the lowest. Nothing is thoroughly approved but mediocrity. The majority has established this, and it fixes its fangs on whatever gets beyond it either way.
      - [Mediocrity]

The last thing one discovers in composing a work is what to put first.
      - [Beginnings]


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