Monday, March 30, 2009

Paraphrasing Pascal: Glorious Garbage

"What a chimera, then, is man! What a novelty! What a monster, what a chaos, what a contradiction, what a prodigy! Judge of all things, imbecile worm of the earth; depositary of truth, a sink of uncertainty and error; the pride and refuse of the universe! Who will unravel this tangle?" (434, W.F. Trotter)

"What a figment of the imagination human beings are! What a novelty, what monsters! Chaotic, contradictory, prodigious, judging everything, mindless worm of the earth, storehouse of truth, cesspool of uncertainty and error, glory and reject of the universe. Who will unravel this tangle?" (164, Honor Levi)

"What sort of freak then is man! How novel, how monstrous, how chaotic, how paradoxical, how prodigious! Judge of all things, feeble earthworm, repository of truth, sink of doubt and error, glory and refuse of the universe! Who will unravel such a tangle?" (131/434, A.J. Krailsheimer)

"We're all abnormal puzzles! Original Frankensteins, disordered opposites, yet remarkably impressive. We judge everything, but are like slugs. Truth is within our reach, but we live in a pit of filth, confused and prone to mistakes. We are the glorious garbage of existence! Who will solve the human paradox?" (Velarde, paraphrase)

2 comments:

Doug Groothuis said...

Truly, one of Pascal's richest selections. This is the problem he addresses in his anthropological argument for Christianity: how to explain these opposites in the same subject.

I develop this argument in chapter eight of On Pascal.

Good paraphrase, Robert!

Jeff LaSala said...

Pascal really likes the worm comparison, doesn't he?