A few more thoughts on Pascal and our dying West...
The highlight of my university days was European Intellectual History class. Of the dozen or so philosophers and scientists we read up on during the course of the semester, three stood out and the reactions each induced in me remain stark in my memory to this day:
Descartes - Ice-cold robot. Instinctively hated him with a passion. Made a god of Reason and Science.
Voltaire - Rutting animal, bitchy little critic. If he were alive today he'd be one of those fruity guys on TMZ.
Pascal - Sticks of dynamite going off in my brain! Heart and soul, fire, a man who adamantly refused to hide from the unpleasant facts about the human condition.
He's painted as this ultra-pessimist but I immediately embraced the warmth of his convictions. A hard truth is a million times more enjoyable to ponder than an effete, self-indulgent lie or some damn "I think therefore I am" machine-like BS.
Pascal was so much more brilliant and so much more human than anyone else we learned about in that class. And it wasn't even close.
Unfortunately, the world went in the direction of the robots and the perverts.
Gee, it's all turned out so well, hasn't it?