Page:Blaise Pascal works.djvu/41

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conquest. We must therefore conclude, and, after having examined her powers in their effects, observe them in themselves, and see if she has a nature and a grasp capable of laying hold of the truth.]


A letter on the foolishness of human knowledge and philosophy.

This letter before Diversion.

Felix qui potuit … Nihil admirari.

280 kinds of sovereign good in Montaigne.


Part I, 1, 2, c. 1, section 4. [Probability.—It will not be difficult to put the case a stage lower, and make it appear ridiculous. To begin at the very beginning.] What is more absurd than to say that lifeless bodies have passions, fears, hatreds—that insensible bodies, lifeless and incapable of life, have passions which presuppose at least a sensitive soul to feel them, nay more, that the object of their dread is the void? What is there in the void that could make them afraid? Nothing is more shallow and ridiculous. This is not all; it is said that they have in themselves a source of movement to shun the void. Have they arms, legs, muscles, nerves?


To write against those who made too profound a study of science: Descartes.


I cannot forgive Descartes. In all his philosophy he would have been quite willing to dispense with God. But he had to make Him give a fillip to set the world in motion; beyond this, he has no further need of God.


Descartes useless and uncertain.