Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)

“Justice and power must be brought together, so that whatever is just may be powerful, and whatever is powerful may be just.”

“The heart has reasons that reason cannot know.”

“Men despise religion. They hate it and are afraid it may be true.”

“Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature, but he is a thinking reed.”

“There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.”

“You always admire what you really don’t understand.”

“Imagination decides everything.”

“All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.”

“Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehood so established, that, unless we love the truth, we cannot know it.”

“In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don’t.”

“He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.”

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

“Men blaspheme what they do not know.”

“All of our reasoning ends in surrender to feeling.”

“The present is never our goal: the past and present are our means: the future alone is our goal. Thus, we never live but we hope to live; and always hoping to be happy, it is inevitable that we will never be so.”

“Faith is different from proof; the latter is human, the former is a gift from God.”

“If you gain, you gain all. If you lose, you lose nothing. Wager then, without hesitation, that He exists.”

“The heart has reasons which reason knows nothing of.”

“Love has reasons which reason cannot understand.”

“If our condition were truly happy, we would not seek diversion from it in order to make ourselves happy.”

“Imagination disposes of everything; it creates beauty, justice, and happiness, which are everything in this world.”

“Our achievements of today are but the sum total of our thoughts of yesterday. You are today where the thoughts of yesterday have brought you and you will be tomorrow where the thoughts of today take you.”

“I have made this letter longer than usual, only because I have not had the time to make it shorter.”

“All human evil comes from a single cause, man’s inability to sit still in a room.”

“Happiness is neither without us nor within us. It is in God, both without us and within us.”

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

“Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction.”

“The supreme function of reason is to show man that some things are beyond reason.”

“Faith indeed tells what the senses do not tell, but not the contrary of what they see. It is above them and not contrary to them.”

“People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come in to the mind of others.”

“The last thing one discovers in composing a work is what to put first.”

“Human beings must be known to be loved; but Divine beings must be loved to be known.”

“It is the heart which perceives God and not the reason. That is what faith is: God perceived by the heart, not by the reason.”

“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.”

“That we must love one God only is a thing so evident that it does not require miracles to prove it.”

“Noble deeds that are concealed are most esteemed.”

“There are only three types of people; those who have found God and serve him; those who have not found God and seek him, and those who live not seeking, or finding him. The first are rational and happy; the second unhappy and rational, and the third foolish and unhappy.”

“Little things console us because little things afflict us.”

“Reason is the slow and torturous method by which those who do not know the truth discover it.”

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

“Nothing gives rest but the sincere search for truth.”

“Do you wish people to think well of you? Don’t speak well of yourself.”

“Man’s greatness lies in his power of thought.”

“The least movement is of importance to all nature. The entire ocean is affected by a pebble.”

“Man finds nothing so intolerable as to be in a state of complete rest, without passions, without occupation, without diversion, without effort. Then he feels his nullity, loneliness, inadequacy, dependence, helplessness, emptiness.”

“Since we cannot know all that there is to be known about anything, we ought to know a little about everything.”

“Words differently arranged have a different meaning, and meanings differently arranged have a different effect”

“We view things not only from different sides, but with different eyes; we have no wish to find them alike.”

“The power of a man’s virtue should not be measured by his special efforts, but by his ordinary doing”

“Small minds are concerned with the extraordinary, great minds with the ordinary.”

“Faith embraces many truths which seem to contradict each other.”

“If all men knew what others say of them, there would not be four friends in the world.”

“Clarity of mind means clarity of passion, too; this is why a great and clear mind loves ardently and sees distinctly what he loves.”

“Time heals griefs and quarrels, for we change and are no longer the same persons.”

“We are only falsehood, duplicity, contradiction; we both conceal and disguise ourselves from ourselves.”

“There are only two kinds of men: the righteous who believe they are sinners, the sinners who believe they are righteous.”

“Nature is an infinite sphere whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.”

“Two kinds of persons know Him: those who have a humble heart, and who love lowliness, whatever kind of intellect they may have, high or low; and those who have sufficient understanding to see the truth, whatever opposition they may have to it.”

“We like to be deceived.”

“We are not satisfied with real life; we want to live some imaginary life in the eyes of other people and to seem different from what we actually are.”

“Nature has perfections, in order to show that she is the image of God; and defects, to show that she is only his image.”

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

“Evil is easy, and has infinite forms.”

“Reason’s last step is the recognition that there are an infinite number of things which are beyond it.”

“If we do not know ourselves to be full of pride, ambition, lust, weakness, misery, and injustice, we are indeed blind. And if, knowing this, we do not desire deliverance, what can we say of a man…?”

“What a chimera then is man! What a novelty! What a monster, what a chaos, what a contradiction, what a prodigy! Judge of all things, feeble earthworm, depository of truth, a sink of uncertainty and error, the glory and the shame of the universe.”

“The knowledge of God without that of man’s misery causes pride. The knowledge of man’s misery without that of God causes despair. The knowledge of Jesus Christ constitutes the middle course, because in Him we find both God and our misery.”

“Those who do not hate their own selfishness and regard themselves as more important than the rest of the world are blind because the truth lies elsewhere.”

“The only shame is to have none.”

“Continued eloquence is wearisome.”

“Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.”

“Few men speak humbly of humility, chastely of chastity, skeptically of skepticism.”

“If you want people to think well of you, do not speak well of yourself.”

“It is false zeal to keep truth while wounding charity.”

“Eloquence is a painting of the thoughts.”

“When the passions become masters, they are vices.”

“Between us and heaven or hell there is only life, which is the frailest thing in the world.”

“It is the fight alone that pleases us, not the victory.”

“Beauty is a harmonious relation between something in our nature and the quality of the object which delights us.”

“We must learn our limits. We are all something but none of us are everything.”

“In each action we must look beyond the action at our past, present, and future state, and at others whom it affects, and see the relations of all those things. And then we shall be very cautious.”

“When we read too fast or too slowly, we understand nothing.”

“Force rules the world, and not opinion; but opinion is that which makes use of force.”

“To have no time for philosophy is to be a true philosopher.”

“Man is equally incapable of seeing the nothingness from which he emerges and the infinity in which he is engulfed.”

“Love has its reasons that reason knows not.”

“Sleep, you say, is the image of death; for my part I say that it is rather the image of life.”

“Our nature consist in motion; complete rest is death.”

“Earnestness is enthusiasm tempered by reason.”

“Symmetry is what we see at a glance.”

“The most powerful cause of error is the war existing between the senses and reason.”

“To go beyond the bounds of moderation is to outrage humanity.”

“We only consult the ear because the heart is wanting.”

“Justice without force is powerless; force without justice is tyrannical.”

“Law, without force, is impotent.”

“How hollow and full of ribaldry is the heart of man!”

“Brave deeds are wasted when hidden.”

“Even those who write against fame wish for the fame of having written well, and those who read their works desire the fame of having read them.”

“It is not good to be too free. It is not good to have everything one wants.”

“Animals do not admire each other. A horse does not admire its companion.”

“Great and small suffer the same mishaps.”

“Man is obviously made for thinking. Therein lies all his dignity and his merit; and his whole duty is to think as he ought.”

“Desire and force between them are responsible for all our actions; desire causes our voluntary acts, force our involuntary.”

“Ugly deeds are most estimable when hidden.”

“Mutual cheating is the foundation of society.”

 “I maintain that, if everyone knew what others said about him, there would not be four friends in the world.”

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