Blaise Pascal on the Human Condition
by Kenneth Samples
Poets, playwrights, philosophers, and psychologists all take their turns offering insights on the “human condition.” They seek to explain the basic nature, identity, struggle, and aspirations of human beings. In fact, all philosophies and religions try to define and explain humanity’s underlying condition. But do any of them succeed?
One Christian author who I think has written candidly and insightfully about the state of human beings is French scholar Blaise Pascal (1623–1662). (Of course, I share Pascal’s faith so I’m hardly neutral on the matter.) Pascal was a founding father of the scientific revolution in the seventeenth century. A true Renaissance man, Pascal was a mathematician, physicist, logician, inventor, and an intuitive Christian thinker and apologist.
In his theological and philosophical masterwork Pensées (French for “Thoughts” or “Reflections”) Pascal develops a provocative outlook on human beings. Here’s a handful of his perspectives on the general state of humanity and a brief explanation…