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date: 23 June 2024

Blaise Pascal 1623–62
French mathematician, physicist, and moralist 

  1. I have made this [letter] longer than usual, only because I have not had the time to make it shorter.
    Lettres Provinciales (1657) no. 16; see Thoreau
  2. The last thing one knows in constructing a work is what to put first.
    Pensées (1670, ed. L. Brunschvicg, 1909) sect. 1, no. 19
  3. When we see a natural style, we are quite surprised and delighted, for we expected to see an author and we find a man.
    Pensées (1670, ed. L. Brunschvicg, 1909) sect. 1, no. 29
  4. For after all, what is man in nature? A nothing in respect of that which is infinite, an all in respect of nothing, a middle betwixt nothing and all.
    Pensées (1670, ed. L. Brunschvicg, 1909) sect. 2, no. 72
  5. A trifle consoles us because a trifle upsets us.
    Pensées (1670) no. 77
  6. Had Cleopatra's nose been shorter, the whole face of the world would have changed.
    Pensées (1670, ed. L. Brunschvicg, 1909) sect. 2, no. 162
  7. We never keep to the present. We anticipate the future as if we found it too slow in coming and were trying to hurry it up, or we recall the past as if to stay its too rapid flight. We are so unwise that we wander about in times that do not belong to us, and do not think of the only one that does.
    Pensées (1670, ed. L. Brunschvicg, 1909) sect. 2, no. 172
  8. The eternal silence of these infinite spaces [the heavens] terrifies me.
    Pensées (1670, ed. L. Brunschvicg, 1909) sect. 2, no. 206
  9. We shall die alone.
    Pensées (1670, ed. L. Brunschvicg, 1909) sect. 3, no. 211
  10. ‘God is or he is not.’ But to which side shall we incline?…Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate the two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager then without hesitation that he is.
    known as Pascal's wager
    Pensées (1670, ed. L. Brunschvicg, 1909) sect. 3, no. 233
  11. The sceptical are the most credulous.
    Penseés (1670) no. 257
  12. The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of.
    Pensées (1670, ed. L. Brunschvicg, 1909) sect. 4, no. 277
  13. Man is only a reed, the weakest thing in nature; but he is a thinking reed.
    Pensées (1670, ed. L. Brunschvicg, 1909) sect. 6, no. 347
  14. Continual eloquence is tedious.
    Pensées (1670, ed. L. Brunschvicg, 1909) sect. 6, no. 355
  15. The self is hateful.
    Pensées (1670, ed. L. Brunschvicg, 1909) sect. 7, no. 455
  16. We never do evil so fully and cheerfully as when we do it out of conscience.
    Pensées (1670, ed. L. Brunschvicg, 1909) no. 895
  17. fire. God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, not of the philosophers and scholars. Certainty. Certainty. Feeling. Joy. Peace.
    on a paper, dated 23 November 1654, stitched into the lining of his coat and found after his death