Man is only a reed (thought 63)

A film by Benoît Labourdette (1’30s, 2020).
10 August 2020. Published by Benoît Labourdette.
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Facing the power of the world, what is the specificity of the human being, his deepest essence?

Text of “Tought 63” by Blaise Pascal}} Text located on page 347 of the original manuscript.

Man is only a reed, the weakest of nature; but he is a thinking reed. The whole universe must not arm itself to crush him: a vapour, a drop of water, is enough to kill him. But, when the universe would crush it, man would be even more noble than that which kills him, since he knows that he is dying, and the advantage that the universe has over him; the universe knows nothing of it.

All our dignity therefore consists in thought. It is from there that we must rise, and not from space and time, which we cannot fill. So let us work to think well: that is the principle of morality.

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) was a philosopher, engineer and mathematician of genius. Among other major scientific and philosophical advances, he invented and built the first mechanical calculating machine in 1645, thus laying the concrete foundations of computer science. The “Thoughts” are a collection of very short texts, divided into many themes, which were found after the death of Blaise Pascal. The “Thoughts” are Blaise Pascal’s most illustrious and striking work, which is also very accessible. This series of films, directed by Benoît Labourdette and others in various contexts, is based on (...)