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ISBN/ASIN : 0140446451
Manufacturer : Penguin Classics|
Release data : 01 December, 1995
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Poetic, Clear & Truthful.
I have read Pascal's Pensees 2 times now - and cannot but marvel at his depth and Truth. I have been blessed with languages and been able to read this monumental work in its original language of French. The translated book though is good and detracts not from the clear thoughts propounded. Truly an Apologist before any other, Pascal will with clarity, wit, logic and sarcasm, point out the faults of man, his need of God and why there is only one true God. Like a modern Solomon, Pascal states with simplicity many a timeless truth about the human condition. So much of this book could be used as quotes to guide nearly all facets of our lives. This is a must-read for those with an interest either in apologetics or truth.
The depth of thought.. the poetry.. the reasons that are not accesible to reason
My profile- No qualifications as a philosophy critic whatsover
I write this review based on my own experiences while reading it in my early 20's... I was blessed with the time and the setting for it was done in a remote beach town here in Venezuela...indeed if there ever was a good time to read the Pensees it was during this period, where I had the time to read the philosophy, where the spirit was eagerly looking for its tools to discover truth..
The Pensees are even more applyable today (at my 40s) than back then.. its true I no longer follow the precepts of the Roman Catholic Church as I did back then.. to outgrow your religion, your nationality and your family is to me a necessary part of existence.. its ok if you go back to any of them later, but the trip has to be made... and to make this trip this is the book!! sure, it has compelling arguments to turn you into a christian.. but then again, the arguments are compelling for any religion that uses them.. I do not want to give you an impression that this is about religion only.. they are some many themes.. chose your existencialism poetry (young readers take note).. use practical psycology as to classify manking perception modes... laugh at the imagination is a an imperfect tool that exerts its mastery here and wide..
A Spiritual Classic from a Great Scientific Mind
I first picked up Pascal's Pensees because I was intrigued by his reputation as a genius of physics and mathematics. I was not very far into it before I realized that I was reading a Christian spiritual classic, in its own right.
Perhaps because Pascal was such a brilliant physicist and mathematician, his Pensees resonate with my very modern soul, steeped as it is in the scientific mode of thought.
He understands the restlessness of the modern soul in his comments on "diversion" - "If our condition were truly happy we should not need to divert ourselves from thinking about it." And again - "The sole cause of man's unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room." These things are at least as pertinent in the 21st century as they were in the 17th.
His comments on reason (and its limitations) are very sharp - "Reason's last step is the recognition that there are an infinite number of things which are beyond it." Pascal was a world-class scientist of his day, and yet he was very much aware of what reason was and was not capable of.
I especially liked his comments on "The Hidden God" - "[We see] too much to deny and not enough to affirm." Or again, "What can be seen on earth indicates neither the total absence, nor the manifest presence of divinity, but the presence of a hidden God. ... to know that one has lost something one must see and not see; such precisely is the state of nature."
He is also very perceptive in his comments on the simultaneous greatness and smallness, glory and corruption, of human nature.
And I haven't even mentioned the two most famous passages, "The Wager" and "Reasons of the Heart"; this book is dense with nuggets of pure gold.
The Pensees can seem very disjointed, because, in his lifetime, Pascal merely wrote down his thoughts as they occurred to him. What we have are essentially his notes; he died before he could organize them into a coherent work, or develop some of his more obscure themes. A lot falls on the editor/translator to make sense of the material he has to work with, and I think A.J. Krailsheimer has done an admirable job.
This is a wonderful book, and justly counted a classic.