Home » (Experimental Thoughts) » Three Quotes. Of Contrariety.

Three Quotes. Of Contrariety.

In a passaged labeled “Contrariétés,” Pascal said,

Let man now estimate his own worth. Let him love himself, for in him is a nature capable of good; but let him not love himself on account of the baseness that is there. Let him despise himself because this capability is unexercised [vide]; but let him not despise himself on account of this natural capability itself. Let him hate himself, let him love himself: he has in him the ability to know the truth and to be happy, but he has no truth, or constancy, or satisfaction.*

And La Rochefoucauld said,

The imagination could not invent so many diverse contrarieties as there are contrarieties naturally in the heart of each person.**

But Vauvenargues said,

Those who cannot make sense of the varieties of the human spirit suppose it involves unexplainable contrarieties.

How will Kierkegaard and Nietzsche respond? And Freud and Foucault?

Pensées §423, labeled “Contrariétés.”

** Réflexions ou sentences et maximes morales, Maxime 478.

† Opening line of Introduction à la connaissance de l’esprit humain.

(All translations mine.)


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