chapter  6
39 Pages

Nonrepresentational Truth, Wisdom, and Justice

Until now this volume has focused on how the will impinges on human freedom and cripples reason. Yet, having represented darkness and constraint, Pascal also works to offer the reader solace. He explains the benefits of reuniting the will with itself through religion and the profound understanding that follows. Through contrasting descriptions and images of confusion and clarity, Pascal strikes resonant chords with the conflicted heart and will of the proselyte. At first the clash of images leaves the reader in flux, but from these oppositions emerges a system that works to surpass a linear argument based on reason alone. In order for ethical nature to take precedence over the mind, it is paradoxically confusion that engenders lucidity. Pascal makes use of the uncertainty described above-this time in a positive way. He portrays a context where vague and ambiguous issues, such as moral judgment and justice, cause reason to flounder. The penumbra that ensues constitutes the ideal place for the will to assert its dominant nature. In cases where the will is turned right, it actually helps the individual accede to a special higher knowledge.