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Blaise Pascal: The Issue of Free Will

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Are we free? We feel free. We think and act to our own volition, but are we? We feel that our actions and beliefs are from our own choosing and understanding in our environment. However, can our actions be determined by past events. Like in Einstein law on inertia for every action there is an equal but opposite reaction. This is the question that Blaise Pascal is trying to answer in his literary work about religion, human reasoning in life, and human conditioning.

When Pascal is talking about religion, He tell the reader all about the problems that humanity has like illness, poverty and war all to convey the idea of conversion. Then he set up a wager and the best bet would be to believe in god. He come to that conclusion by asking the question what if your wrong because if you’re a real believer the reward is heaven. However, if it turns out that god does not exist than you don’t lose anything. Therefore, if one meets god and is not a believer then one is fated to damnation or if god does not exist than the believer loses nothing. One’s choice is at matter people would choose the path with the most benefit to one’s self. What Pascal implies in this wager is that people are pragmaticistic when giving the event leading to choose This is the question that Blaise Pascal is trying to answer in his literary work about religion that human behavior and actions are wholly determined by external factors. Therefore, humans do not have genuine free will or ethical accountability.

Pascal would reason that human “choices” are just dominate desires of the individual. As Pascal said “I have discovered that all unhappiness of men arises from one single, fact that they cannot stay quietly in their own chamber” meaning that we as people prefer distractions in our own lives rather than face our problems head on. That people are tortured from their own passions in life. That the idea of completing a challenge and overcome it is hollow because once it over the idea of boredom set in. With this Pascal tells us that happiness is an illusion as he states “A mere trifle consoles us, for a mere trifle distresses us”. That means that the mere distraction is what we live for since boredom is misery. That know of boredom will do anything and everything to combat it. This is the question that Blaise Pascal is trying to answer that human behavior and actions are wholly determined by external factors. Therefore, humans do not have genuine free will or ethical accountability.

Pascal considers human to be what he calls “miserable” and “grandeur” due to the human nature of being fragile letting unknown powers and common constants getting in the way of one’s way of being happy is both within itself a nobility and a curse. Pascal views on humans being doomed, frequently bound to be misled by powers such as narcissism, self – scrutiny and other influences. In the other hand believes in the pureness in the aspect of humans being able to recognize our own damnation that we as a species are able to notice that ultimately were living a broken life but that’s is the bitter sweetness pascal refers to as its own way of nobility within or human failures and flaws. Pascal takes on the human psychology and incorporates some outstanding verdicts on the human condition, political authority and norms. Pascal is progressive enough that he recognizes how the things are developing on human nature and in that capacity and as such offer better understanding towards of the effects of “free will”. Pascal could argue since us humans can see our flaws and we know of them and respecting the embodiment that gives us a bittersweet nobility could say that everything is more beautiful because we are flawed. That you will never be that same as you are known since we will never be here again once we pass on to the afterlife.

We think and act to our own volition, but are we? We feel that our actions and beliefs are from our own choosing and understanding in our environment. However, can our actions be determined by past events. Like in Einstein law on inertia for every action there is an equal but opposite reaction. This is the question that Blaise Pascal is trying to answer in his literary work about religion, human reasoning in life, and human conditioning. What Pascal implies in this wager is that people are pragmaticistic when giving the event leading to Pascal considers human to be what he calls “miserable” and “grandeur” due to the human nature of being fragile letting unknown powers and common constants getting in the way of one’s way of being happy is both within itself a nobility and a curse choose. Pascal would reason that human “choices” are just dominate desires of the individual. This is the question that Blaise Pascal is trying to answer that human behavior and actions are wholly determined by external factors. Therefore, humans do not have genuine free will or ethical accountability. So, when it comes down to it doe human truly posses free will or is there a divine intervention that challenges that theory. Do we choose our own path or is it that it has been made already it as if we choose it ourselves put it has been predetermined? Human by nature find themselves to sin and to resist grace, and since the time of their corruption they always have a great amount of consciousness of our choices which increases this power of resistance towards own peace. Nevertheless when it comes to god does he make us do as he foresaw or how he wishes since he is never to be wrong god disposes free will of humans without imposing anything on them.

Bibliography

  1. Wood, William D. “Axiology, Self-Deception, and Moral Wrongdoing in Blaise Pascal’s Pensées.” Journal of Religious Ethics, vol. 37, no. 2, June 2009, pp. 355–384.
  2. Pascal, Blaise.” Pensées” DOVER PHILISOPHICAL CLASSICS, translated by W.F. Trotter, Introduction by T.S Eliot page, 59-61. Courier Corporation , 2013

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