“To be a member is to have no life, no being and no movement except through the spirit of the body and for the body. The separated member, no longer seeing the body to which it belongs, has only a wasting and moribund being left. However, it believes itself to be a whole, and, seeing no body on which it depends, believing itself to be dependent only on itself and tries to make itself its own center and body. But, not having in itself any principle of life, it only wanders about and becomes bewildered at the uncertainty of its existence, quite conscious that it is not the body and yet not seeing that it is a member of the body. Eventually, when it comes to know itself, it has returned home, as it were, and only loves itself for the body’s sake. It deplores its past aberrations.
“They allow lust to act, and check scruples; whereas they should do the contrary.”
“The will itself will never bring satisfaction, even if it had power over everything it wanted, but we are satisfied the moment we give it up. Without it we can never be discontented, with it we can never be content.”
“We are full of things that impel us outwards.
Our instinct makes us feel that our happiness must be sought outside ourselves. Our passions drive us outwards, even without objects to excite them. External objects tempt us in themselves and entice us even when we do not think about them. Thus it is no good philosophers telling us: Withdraw into yourselves and there you will find your good. We do not believe them, and those
who believe them are the most empty and silly of all.”
Blaise Pascal, Pensées
He must have excitement. He must delude himself into imagining he would be happy to win what he would not want as a gift..
All men seek happiness. There are no exceptions. However different means they may employ, they all strive towards this goal. The reason why some go to war and some do not is the same desire in both, but interpreted in two different ways. The will never takes the least step except to that end. This is the motive of every act of every man, including those who go and hang themselves.
Yet for very many years no one without faith has ever reached the goal at which everyone is continually aiming. All men complain: princes, subjects, nobles, commoners, old, young, strong, weak, learned, ignorant, healthy sick, in every country, at every time, of all ages, and all conditions.
A test which has gone on so long, without pause or change, really ought to convince us that we are incapable of attaing the good by our own efforts. […] So while the present never satisfies us, experience deceives us, and leads us on from one misfortune to another until death comes as the ultimate and eternal climax.
What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object…
“You are now seated, reading this book. Your past is a memory. Your future is a matter of mere expectation. Both memories and expectations can arise in consciousness only as thoughts in the present moment. Of course, reading is itself a species of thinking. You can probably hear the sound of your own voice reading these words in your mind. These sentences do not feel like your thoughts, however. Your thoughts are the ones that arrive unannounced and steal you away from the text. They may have some relevance to what you are now reading—you may think, “Didn’t he just contradict himself there?”—or they may have no relevance at all. You may suddenly find yourself thinking about tonight’s dinner, or about an argument you had days ago, even while your eyes still blindly scan lines of text. We all know what it is like to read whole paragraphs, and even pages of a book without assimilating a word. Few of us realize that we spend most of our lives in such a state: perceiving the present— present sights, sounds, tastes, and sensations—only dimly, through a veil of thought. We spend our lives telling ourselves the story of past and future, while the reality of the present goes largely unexplored.”
Sam Harris, The End of Faith