“We are so presumptuous that we would like to be known throughout the world, and even by people who will be there even when we no longer are. And we are so vain that the esteem of five or six people who are close to us is enough to give us pleasure and happiness.”
“If he praises himself, I belittle him.
If he belittles himself, I praise him
And continue to contradict him
Until he understands
That he is an unfathomable monster.”
- Blaise pascal, Pensees (1670)
Image, Charles I at Naseby
“The only thing that consoles us for our miseries is distraction, yet that is the greatest of our wretchednesses. Because that is what mainly prevents us from thinking about ourselves and leads us imperceptibly to damnation. Without it we should be bored, and boredom would force us to search for a firmer way out, but distraction entertains us and leads us imperceptibly to death.”
“The sweetness of fame is so great that whatever we pin to it, we love, even death.”
“Everyone should study their thoughts. They will find them all centred on the past or future. We almost never think of the present, and if we do it is simply to shed some light on the future. The present is never our end. And so we never actually live, though we hope to, and in constantly striving for happiness it is inevitable that we will never achieve it.”
- Blaise Pascal, Pensees, on human nature.
Painting The Dice Players, Mathieu le Nain.