POC Blog

The random technotheolosophical blogging of Reid S. Monaghan

A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Question of God - Part VI

…continued from Part V


Blaise Pascal was another hitchhiker that lived long ago.  He was a French philosopher and ground breaking mathematician who tended to ask some pesky questions along the roadways to the question of God.  The question of our ultimate destiny made his thoughts often.  I’ll quote him at length:

I know not who put me into the world, nor what the world is, nor what I myself am. I am in terrible ignorance of everything. I know not what my body is, nor my senses, nor my soul, not even that part of me which thinks what I say, which reflects on all and on itself, and knows itself no more than the rest. I see those frightful spaces of the universe which surround me, and I find myself tied to one corner of this vast expanse, without knowing why I am put in this place rather than in another, nor why the short time which is given me to live is assigned to me at this point rather than at another of the whole eternity which was before me or which shall come after me. I see nothing but infinites on all sides, which surround me as an atom and as a shadow which endures only for an instant and returns no more. All I know is that I must soon die, but what I know least is this very death which I cannot escape.

“As I know not whence I come, so I know not whither I go. I know only that, in leaving this world, I fall for ever either into annihilation or into the hands of an angry God, without knowing to which of these two states I shall be forever assigned. Such is my state, full of weakness and uncertainty. And from all this I conclude that I ought to spend all the days of my life without caring to inquire into what must happen to me. Perhaps I might find some solution to my doubts, but I will not take the trouble, nor take a step to seek it; and after treating with scorn those who are concerned with this care, I will go without foresight and without fear to try the great event, and let myself be led carelessly to death, uncertain of the eternity of my future state.”[1]

Many wise people from the past have encouraged us to think about the destination of life as we set about living it. Soren Kierkegaard once said life should be understood backwards but it must be lived forward and many a business leader has echoed the sentiment that we must begin with the end in mind. If the journey has a destination, we are wise to live in light of this. 

However, many of us would rather just be distracted than to think about our destiny.  We are all pretty much on our way towards our own funeral; but that is a bit heavy to think about while reading your RSS feeds.  It is much easier to reach for the remote control than to contemplate dying.  Yet death seems to be a clue to me as well.  It is a constant to life but it also seems like a constant enemy.  It should be the most natural thing in the world, but when it visits life around us we are shocked, perplexed, angry and wounded.  Perhaps death is actually an alien invader to life and that we are supposed to live forever. If this is true, we need to take it seriously and give some concern to our destination.

Continued with Has God Shown Up?

[1] Blaise Pascal, Penses, SECTION III: OF THE NECESSITY OF THE WAGER - you can read this online at - http://www.leaderu.com/cyber/books/pensees/pensees-SECTION-3.html