Blaise Pascal was not a gambler, but he posited one of the most famous wagers of all time: Every man’s life is a bet against God. It is a wager that any man can win, however. Sacrifice earthly pleasures—drink, lust, sin, etc.—and a lifetime of happiness awaits, in this world or the next. Live every day as if God exists, and you can’t lose.
Pascal devised his wager in the seventeenth century, but the lessons written by this brilliant man ring true today. In this collection of fragments intended as a defense of Christianity, everything is up for debate. From the nature of love to the relationship between scientific inquiry and religious faith, Pascal shows that skepticism and devotion go hand in hand.
Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves – and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives – and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are.
Preceded by a valuable introduction, forty-five letters are presented, beginning with a letter written when Pascal was a precocious twenty and ending with his will at thirty-eight.
These remarkable letters, covering a nineteen-year period of intense activity, reflect the variety of Pascal’s interests. For this reason, among others, they are of value, not only to those who are interested in Christianity, but also to those who are interested in physics, or mathematics, or philosophy.
Blaise Pascal bequeathed to the world many tangible legacies, including the calculating machine, the barometer, the hydraulic press, and the omnibus. In his letters he has bequeathed that quality of mind and spirit which surpasses the tangible and illumines life.