Divine Revelation

Blaise Pascal- Picture from the Commons

 

Blaise Pascal’s Divine Revelation

 

When we think of Pascal, we usually think of mathematics or the other scientific inventions that he was known for creating. Divine revelation is not typically something that we relate to Pascal’s life. There is, however, a part of Pascal’s life that is unknown to many people. Pascal was a very religious man, and shortly after his death, “a manservant, arranging his clothes, noticed a curious bulge in his doublet. Opening the lining, he withdrew a folded parchment, written in Pascal’s hand. Within the parchment was a scribbled sheet of peper, containing the words  of the parchment, with some variations. These documents were the record of his mystical illumination, his two hours in the presence of God. For eight years he had worn them as an amulet, hiding them in his coat, sewing and unsewing them at need….” (1).

Moments of illumination may happen once in a lifetime, or for some, not at all. Divine revelation in whatever religion or belief cosmology, is a moment that takes us outside of ourselves into an experience of vastness and expanded consciousness. Pascal had his divine revelation on the night of November 23rd, 1654. This moment of complete revelation was documented with the words, “Fire, and then Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy.” These words are record of one moment that was Pascal’s divine revelation and were written as a sort of mantra or reminder that God was real.  He carried these words secretly with him at all times by sewing them into his coat next to his body. Pascal was an extremely creative man, and outstanding inventor and mathematician. The creative is a gateway to the divine. To wear these words against his skin was Pascal’s inner reminder of one moment of divine revelation.

Below is a photograph of one of Pascal’s inventions. He invented the first calculator that was the precursor to the computer. This invention was not taken seriously during the time that he lived, and was relegated to being a “toy” rather than an important mathematical tool.

  1. Pascal, The Life of Genius (New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1936), p. 172.

 

2005 David Monniaux- Pascal's calculator

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