I like Blaise Pascal. He died at 40 and left some monumental mathematical work and an unfinished collection of papers —-“thoughts”– recording his attempt to defend his passion, Christianity.
I like Pascal more many other Christian writers, such as C.S. Lewis, precisely because he never finished his work. The Pensees read like an analytical genius pointing things out about the heart of our lives and about the magic that is Christianity, but unable to put it all together. I consider his failure to finish his work a true mark of analytical integrity more than any fault. Perhaps he would have eventually if not for his untimely death. But I think that syncretizing his various thoughts might have sacrificed
I can’t put it all together either, I suppose to believe I could would be a sure sign of supreme conceit. I am no genius. I can get behind Pascal because he gets you looking to where he is pointing, and you find yourself nodding your head. This is not because Pascal is convincing, but because–as you read the disjointed stream of pithy paragraphs–you see for yourself what lies behind what he is saying.
These are some of the ones I like recently, but not my favorites– with some other wise words thrown in for good measure:
422 – It is good to be tired and wearied by the vain search after the true good, that we may stretch out our arms to the Redeemer.
414- Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness.
I’ve always been crazy but it’s kept me from going insane
Nobody knows if it’s something to bless or to blame
So far I ain’t found a rhyme or a reason to change
I’ve always been crazy but it’s kept me from going insane — Waylon Jennings
148. We are so presumptuous that we would wish to be known by all the world, even by people who shall come after, when we shall be no more; and we are so vain that the esteem of five or six neighbours delights and contents us.