“By a peculiar prerogative, not only each individual is making daily advances in the sciences, and may makes advances in morality, but all mankind together are making a continual progress in proportion as the universe grows older; so that the whole human race, during the course of so many ages, may be considered as one man, who never ceases to live and learn.
“When I consider the small span of my life absorbed in the eternity of all time, or the small part of space which I can touch or see engulfed by the infinite immensity of spaces that I know not and that know me not, I am frightened and astonished to see myself here instead of there... now instead of then.
“The Knowledge of God is very far from the love of Him.
“We must learn our limits. We are all something, but none of us are everything.
“Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction.
“Fear not, provided you fear but if you fear not, then fear.
“For after all what is man in nature? A nothing in relation to infinity, all in relation to nothing, a central point between nothing and all and infinitely far from understanding either. The ends of things and their beginnings are impregnably concealed from him in an impenetrable secret. He is equally incapable of seeing the nothingness out of which he was drawn and the infinite in which he is engulfed.
“I have made this letter longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter.
“We think very little of time present; we anticipate the future, as being too slow, and with a view to hasten it onward, we recall the past to stay it as too swiftly gone. We are so thoughtless, that we thus wander through the hours which are not here, regardless only of the moment that is actually our own.
“All the miseries of mankind come from one thing, not knowing how to remain alone.
French mathematician and philosopher and Jansenist; invented an adding machine; contributed (with Fermat) to the theory of probability (1623-1662)
“The spice extends life. The spice expands consciousness.
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