Pensées "The Heart Has Its Reasons"
by Blaise Pascal

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"The Heart Has Its Reasons"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

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Context: Blaise Pascal, who was a mathematician as well as a religious philosopher, discusses here submission unto God. His submission is predicated upon reason. But, "if we submit everything to reason, our religion will have no mysterious and supernatural element. If we offend the principles of reason, our religion will be absurd and ridiculous." So runs the thought in an earlier "thought." What man needs is a rule, but reason is too pliable to be followed utterly as a "rule"; one must sometimes follow the heart, rely upon one's intuition, for it is "the heart which experiences God, and not the reason." This, then, is what constitutes faith:

The heart has its reasons, which reason does not know. We feel it in a thousand things. I say that the heart naturally loves the Universal Being, and also itself naturally, according as it gives itself to them; and it hardens itself against one or the other at its will. You have rejected the one and kept the other. Is it by reason that you love yourself?