One time we happened to argue with an eccentric girlfriend about a favorite on both topics. She loves to excel in antiquity and reminds me of what enlightened people "once upon a time" was. "In antiquity and the Middle Ages," she says, "writers and people of the arts were involved in too many diverse activities." And he gives me as an example Leonardo Da Vinci - an artist, inventor and more, Archimedes - mathematician, astronomer and physicist, etc. This means that once upon a time people of art have experienced a much greater thirst for knowledge, while today the pursuit of a narrow specialization.

 

In this sense, the former creators were more widely adopted, and therefore more remarkable and intriguing as individuals. And the present too often remind us of "brick in the wall", with its strictly conventional interests, pursuits, approaches and achievements. Unlike my girlfriend, I have no sentiment to "that time." I can not assume that then all the creative artists worked, whereas today it is filled with only the impersonal.

 

It is a fact that through antiquity and the Middle Ages, science has yet to pass, which allows people with a more awake mind to express themselves as scientists and creators. While today millions of books are being published in each of the fields of science and the arts. Today there is a lack of time and physical ability for artists to be competent in several separate fields.

 

"Still," my girlfriend insisted, "universally-developed personalities of antiquity deserve great respect." This is no longer a dispute. I remember how impressed I was at university when dealing with the literary heritage and personality of Blaise Pascal. To this day, I think this man is the most brilliant scientist and inventor among great writers. I want to tell more about him because he is one of the few who have changed the world in which they live with the power of their talent.

Blaise Pascal

photo: wikipedia.org

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Blaise Pascal was born in Clermont in 1623. He is the son of the Audit Office of Auditorium - Etienne Pascal. His father does not send him to school, but instead takes care of his education alone. Blaise Pascal is a prodigy. She learns to read and write at the age of four. His father is forced to hide a bookcase from which the little one reads constantly and with irritation. The boy's mind is unusual. She has a great commitment to geometric shapes and asks her father for more information about them.

 

However, according to Etienne, it is too early for mathematics, so he does not allow him to study in this field. In his room Blaise, secretly from his father, draws geometric figures with charcoal, giving these figures fictitious names: the circle is "rolling", the line is "trait", etc. The child only comes to the conclusion that the sum of the angles in the triangle f is 180 degrees. He deals with complex geometric problems (such as one of Euclidean Theorems) without ever studying mathematics before and without even knowing the proper names of geometric figures.

 

The father, who is an amateur mathematician, is shocked by the knowledge of his self-taught son. He introduces him to the famous mathematicians in Paris who are more than impressed with the child. At the age of 16, Blaise Pascal published his "Treatise on Cones." At first, they thought that this scientific work was his father's work, because it seems unlikely that a man of this age would possess such a mind. At 18, Blaise invented the first ever computer machine named after him - Pascalina (Pascal's calculator).

Pascalina

photo: wikipedia.org

Subsequently, he focused on physics: he deals with hydrodynamics and hydrostatics, creating the "Pascal's Law", his name being the pressure unit (Pascal). In recent years, Blaise Pascal has turned to God. He delves into theology and bequeathes us his literary heritage: Letters to a Provincial and Thoughts. Blaise Pascal's literary quest is closely related to his noble struggle against cynicism. The Purpose Justifies the Means - The maxim of Jesuit Father Escobar is subjected to ruthless artistic reproof in Pascal's work Letters to a Provincial.

 

All Bulgarians are aware of one of the immortal poems of Hristo Botev, "Elegy":

"Tell me, tell me, poor people,
who in the pelvis of the slave swing?
Does the savior pierce
on the cross, it is atrocious in the ribs,
or whatever hours you sing:
"Endure, and save your soul ?!"

Did he, or any of his deputies,
son of Loyola and brother of Judah. ​​"

Few of us know, however, that this hateful Ignatius of Loyola, whom Botev places next to Judas, becomes a narrative image of ambiguity and hypocrisy, along with the blatant power of Blaise Pascal. It is Pascal in his most famous work that exposes the meanness of the Jesuits, the order founded by Loyola in 1540.

Letters to a Provincial

photo: wikipedia.org

Letters to a Provincial, the book by which Pascal gains fame as a writer, receives much praise from the enlightened minds of the era. According to Voltaire, it is “the first ingenious book written in prose. This work was destined to create an era. "For Charles Perrault:" In this genre, we have never written anything more perfect. "Honore de Balzac calls it:" An immortal model for pamphlets and a masterpiece of joking logic. "

 

Letters to a Province is defined by genre as epistolary literature (pamphlet letter). In the form of imaginary letters signed under the pseudonym Louis de Montalt, the author disputes with the hypocritically pious Jesuits, according to him: the letters are addressed to "a province" ("a province" is a Jesuit title).

 

What are the reasons Blaise Pascal rages against the Jesuits?

 

He belongs to the Jensenist Protestant religious line. And the Jansenists were persecuted by the Jesuits, Catholics. For this reason, Pascal's book was included by Pope Alexander VII in the list of banned books in 1657. The work was condemned for public burning, because it mocked not only the Jesuits in particular, but the Catholic faith in general.

 

"I am not afraid of you or myself, or anyone else, as I am not affiliated with any community or any individual. All your influence is useless when it comes to me. I don't expect anything from the world, I'm not afraid of anything, I don't want anything from it. With the grace of God, I need no wealth, no power. True, people were thrown out of the Sorbonne, but that can't throw me out of my home. You can use violence against theologians and priests, but not against me, because I do not have such titles. You may have never dealt with a person who stands so far beyond your reach and is called upon to fight your delusions because he is free, without attachment, without business relationship. "(Blaise Pascal)

 

Pascal opposes the logic of the Jesuits, which in his view is the logic of the majority, of the powerful and the empowered. The moral code of the Jesuits shocks everyone outside this Catholic order. The Jesuit has the right, under certain circumstances, to kill and slander his adversaries, and these sins are forgiven for being committed for a higher purpose. The Jesuit is allowed to give money to some great man in order to obtain a higher dignity from him, but this action is not a bribe, but rather the proper direction of the intention of the great man in question. In addition, the Jesuits are allowed to have two confessors: one to confess their mortal sins and the other to the lesser. Pascal concludes that "it is better to deal with people without religion than with people who have reached this point in their knowledge of religion."

 

All of Pascal's quest for genius is dictated by his desire to put order in the chaos so that he can finally triumph over Truth and Kindness.

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