Blaise Pascal quotes

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Blaise Pascal

Birthdate: 19. June 1623
Date of death: 19. August 1662

Blaise Pascal was a French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Catholic theologian. He was a child prodigy who was educated by his father, a tax collector in Rouen. Pascal's earliest work was in the natural and applied sciences, where he made important contributions to the study of fluids, and clarified the concepts of pressure and vacuum by generalising the work of Evangelista Torricelli. Pascal also wrote in defence of the scientific method.

In 1642, while still a teenager, he started some pioneering work on calculating machines. After three years of effort and 50 prototypes, he built 20 finished machines over the following 10 years, establishing him as one of the first two inventors of the mechanical calculator.Pascal was an important mathematician, helping create two major new areas of research: he wrote a significant treatise on the subject of projective geometry at the age of 16, and later corresponded with Pierre de Fermat on probability theory, strongly influencing the development of modern economics and social science. Following Galileo Galilei and Torricelli, in 1647, he rebutted Aristotle's followers who insisted that nature abhors a vacuum. Pascal's results caused many disputes before being accepted.

In 1646, he and his sister Jacqueline identified with the religious movement within Catholicism known by its detractors as Jansenism. Following a religious experience in late 1654, he began writing influential works on philosophy and theology. His two most famous works date from this period: the Lettres provinciales and the Pensées, the former set in the conflict between Jansenists and Jesuits. In that year, he also wrote an important treatise on the arithmetical triangle. Between 1658 and 1659, he wrote on the cycloid and its use in calculating the volume of solids.

Throughout his life, Pascal was in frail health, especially after the age of 18; he died just two months after his 39th birthday. Wikipedia

Works

Pensées
Pensées
Blaise Pascal

„I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.“

—  Blaise Pascal

Often misattributed to Twain, this is actually by Blaise Pascal, "Lettres provinciales", letter 16, 1657:
Je n'ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n'ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte.
Translation: I have only made this [letter] longer, because I have not had the opportunity to make it shorter.
Misattributed
Source: The Provincial Letters

„All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.“

—  Blaise Pascal, Pensées

Variant: All men's miseries derive from not being able to sit quiet in a room alone.
Source: Pensées

„Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much“

—  Blaise Pascal

Variant: Kind words don't cost much. Yet they accomplish much.

„Your soul and your body are, of themselves, indifferent to the state of boatman or that of duke; and there is no natural bond that attaches them to one condition rather than to another.“

—  Blaise Pascal

Discourses on the Condition of the Great
Context: This right which you have, is not founded any more than his upon any quality or any merit in yourself which renders you worthy of it. Your soul and your body are, of themselves, indifferent to the state of boatman or that of duke; and there is no natural bond that attaches them to one condition rather than to another.

„All who say the same things do not possess them in the same manner“

—  Blaise Pascal

Montaigne, Essais, liv. III, chap. viii.—Faugère
The Art of Persuasion
Context: All who say the same things do not possess them in the same manner; and hence the incomparable author of the Art of Conversation http://books.google.com/books?id=iRBEAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA452& pauses with so much care to make it understood that we must not judge of the capacity of a man by the excellence of a happy remark that we heard him make.... let us penetrate, says he, the mind from which it proceeds... it will oftenest be seen that he will be made to disavow it on the spot, and will be drawn very far from this better thought in which he does not believe, to plunge himself into another, quite base and ridiculous.

„Whilst in speaking of human things, we say that it is necessary to know them before we can love them…the saints on the contrary say in speaking of divine things that it is necessary to love them in order to know them, and that we only enter truth through charity.“

—  Blaise Pascal

The Art of Persuasion
Context: Whilst in speaking of human things, we say that it is necessary to know them before we can love them... the saints on the contrary say in speaking of divine things that it is necessary to love them in order to know them, and that we only enter truth through charity.

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„If you act externally with men in conformity with your rank, you should recognize“

—  Blaise Pascal

Discourses on the Condition of the Great
Context: If you act externally with men in conformity with your rank, you should recognize, by a more secret but truer thought, that you have nothing naturally superior to them.

„All the excesses, all the violence, and all the vanity of great men, come from the fact that they know not what they are“

—  Blaise Pascal

Discourses on the Condition of the Great
Context: All the excesses, all the violence, and all the vanity of great men, come from the fact that they know not what they are: it being difficult for those who regard themselves at heart as equal with all men... For this it is necessary for one to forget himself, and to believe that he has some real excellence above them, in which consists this illusion that I am endeavoring to discover to you.

„These two states which it is necessary to know together in order to see the whole truth, being known separately, lead necessarily to one of these two vices, pride or indolence“

—  Blaise Pascal

Conversation on Epictetus and Montaigne
Context: These two states which it is necessary to know together in order to see the whole truth, being known separately, lead necessarily to one of these two vices, pride or indolence, in which all men are invariably led before grace, since if they do not remain in their disorders through laxity, they forsake them through vanity, so true is that which you have just repeated to me from St. Augustine, and which I find to a great extent; for in fact homage is rendered to them in many ways.

„One of the principal reasons that diverts those who are entering upon this knowledge so much from the true path which they should follow, is the fancy that they take at the outset that good things are inaccessible, giving them the name great, lofty, elevated, sublime. This destroys everything. I would call them low, common, familiar“

—  Blaise Pascal

The Art of Persuasion
Context: One of the principal reasons that diverts those who are entering upon this knowledge so much from the true path which they should follow, is the fancy that they take at the outset that good things are inaccessible, giving them the name great, lofty, elevated, sublime. This destroys everything. I would call them low, common, familiar: these names suit it better; I hate such inflated expressions.

„We rise to attain it and become removed from it: it is oftenest necessary to stoop for it.“

—  Blaise Pascal

The Art of Persuasion
Context: It is not among extraordinary and fantastic things that excellence is to be found, of whatever kind it may be. We rise to attain it and become removed from it: it is oftenest necessary to stoop for it.

„For this it is necessary for one to forget himself, and to believe that he has some real excellence“

—  Blaise Pascal

Discourses on the Condition of the Great
Context: All the excesses, all the violence, and all the vanity of great men, come from the fact that they know not what they are: it being difficult for those who regard themselves at heart as equal with all men... For this it is necessary for one to forget himself, and to believe that he has some real excellence above them, in which consists this illusion that I am endeavoring to discover to you.

„Do not pretend then to rule them by force or to treat them with harshness. Satisfy their reasonable desires“

—  Blaise Pascal

Discourses on the Condition of the Great
Context: It is not your strength and your natural power that subjects all these people to you. Do not pretend then to rule them by force or to treat them with harshness. Satisfy their reasonable desires; alleviate their necessities; let your pleasure consist in being beneficent; advance them as much as you can, and you will act like the true king of desire.

„The method of not erring is sought by all the world.“

—  Blaise Pascal

The Art of Persuasion
Context: The method of not erring is sought by all the world. The logicians profess to guide it, the geometricians alone attain it, and apart from science, and the imitations of it, there are no true demonstrations.

„As to the objection that these rules are common in the world“

—  Blaise Pascal

The Art of Persuasion
Context: As to the objection that these rules are common in the world, that it is necessary to define every thing and to prove every thing, and that logicians themselves have placed them among their art, I would that the thing were true and that it were so well known... But so little is this the case, that, geometricians alone excepted, who are so few in number that they are a single in a whole nation and long periods of time, we see no others that know it.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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