Friday, July 9, 2010

Modern Diversions

165. Thoughts … If our condition were truly happy, we not need diversion from thinking of it in order to make ourselves happy.

166. Diversion.--Death is easier to bear without thinking of it than is the thought of death without peril.

167. The miseries of human life have established all this: as men have seen this, they have taken up diversion.

168. Diversion.--As men are not able to fight against death, misery, ignorance, they have taken it into their heads, in order to be happy, not to think of them at all.

169. Despite these miseries, man wishes to be happy, and only wishes to be happy, and cannot wish not to be so. But how will he set about it? To be happy he would have to make himself immortal; but, not being able to do so, it has occurred to him to prevent himself from thinking of death.

170. Diversion.--If man were happy, he would be the more so, the less he was diverted, like the Saints and God. Yes; but is it not to be happy to have a faculty of being amused by diversion? No; for that comes from elsewhere and from without, and thus is dependent, and therefore subject to be disturbed by a thousand accidents, which bring inevitable griefs.

171. Misery.--The only thing which consoles us for our miseries is diversion, and yet this is the greatest of our miseries. For it is this which principally hinders us from reflecting upon ourselves and which makes us insensibly ruin ourselves. Without this we should be in a state of weariness, and this weariness would spur us to seek a more solid means of escaping from it. But diversion amuses us, and leads us unconsciously to death. 

Blaise Pascal 
(1623–1662),
Pensees

No comments: