##### Pascal, Blaise (1623-1662)

We run carelessly to the precipice, after we have put something before us to prevent us from seeing it.

W. H. Auden and L. Kronenberger (eds.) The Viking Book of Aphorisms, New York: Viking Press, 1966.

##### Pascal, Blaise (1623-1662)

Man is full of desires: he loves only those who can satisfy them all. "This man is a good mathematician," someone will say. But I have no concern for mathematics; he would take me for a proposition. "That one is a good soldier." He would take me for a besieged town. I need, that is to say, a decent man who can accommodate himself to all my desires in a general sort of way.

W. H. Auden and L. Kronenberger (eds.) The Viking Book of Aphorisms, New York: Viking Press, 1966.

##### Pascal, Blaise (1623-1662)

Man is equally incapable of seeing the nothingness from which he emerges and the infinity in which he is engulfed.

##### Pascal, Blaise (1623-1662)

Our nature consists in movement; absolute rest is death.

##### Pascal, Blaise (1623-1662)

It is the heart which perceives God and not the reason.

##### Pascal, Blaise (1623-1662)

We are usually convinced more easily by reasons we have found ourselves than by those which have occurred to others.

##### Phillip A. Griffiths

It is a well-kept
secret that doing
mathematics really
is fun--at least for
mathematicians--and
I am amazed at how
often we use the
word "beautiful" to
describe work that
satisfies us. I am
reminded of a remark
by a mathematician .
. . who was talking
with some
anthropologists
about early human
experiments with
fire. One
anthropologist
suggested that these
humans were
motivated by a
desire for better
cooking; another
thought they were
after a dependable
source of heat.
[The mathematician]
said he believed
fire came under
human control
because of their
fascination with the
flame. I believe
that the best
mathematicians are
fascinated by the
flame, and that this
is a good thing . .
. [b]ecause,
fortunately for
society, their
fascination has, in
the end, provided
the good cooking and
reliable heat we all
need.

##### Peirce, Charles Sanders (1839-1914)

...mathematics is distinguished from all other sciences except only ethics, in standing in no need of ethics. Every other science, even logic, especially in its early stages, is in danger of evaporating into airy nothingness, degenerating, as the Germans say, into an arachnoid film, spun from the stuff that dreams are made of. There is no such danger for pure mathematics; for that is precisely what mathematics ought to be.

"The Essence of Mathematics" in J. R. Newman (ed.) The World of Mathematics, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1956.

##### Peirce, Charles Sanders (1839-1914)

Among the minor, yet striking characteristics of mathematics, may be mentioned the fleshless and skeletal build of its propositions; the peculiar difficulty, complication, and stress of its reasonings; the perfect exactitude of its results; their broad universality; their practical infallibility.

"The Essence of Mathematics" in J. R. Newman (ed.) The World of Mathematics, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1956.

##### Peirce, Charles Sanders (1839-1914)

The pragmatist knows
that doubt is an art
which has to be
acquired with
difficulty.