Sunday, June 19, 2022

Thoughts For Father's Day

In order to enter into a real knowledge of your condition, consider it in this image: a man was cast by a tempest onto an unknown island, the inhabitants of which were in trouble to find their king, who was lost. 

Having a strong resemblance both in form and face to this king, he was taken for him, and acknowledged in this capacity by all the people. At first he knew not what course to take, but finally he resolved to give himself up to his good fortune. He received all the homage that they chose to render him, and suffered himself to be treated as a king.

But as he could not forget his real condition, he was conscious, at the same time that he was receiving this homage, that he was not the king whom this people had sought, and that this kingdom did not belong to him. Thus he had a double thought: the one by which he acted as king, the other by which he recognized his true state, and that it was accident alone that had placed him in his present condition. He concealed the latter thought, and revealed the other. It was by the former that he treated with the people, and by the latter that he treated with himself.

Do not imagine that it is less an accident by which you find yourself master of the wealth that you possess than that by which this man found himself king. You have no right to it of yourself and by your own nature any more than he; and not only do you find yourself the son of a duke, but also do you find yourself in the world at all, only through an infinity of chances. Your birth depends on a marriage, or rather on the marriages of all those from whom you descend. But upon what do these marriages depend? A visit made by chance, an idle word, a thousand unforeseen occasions.

--Blaise Pascal, Discourses on The Condition Of The Great

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