Some important truths are not new, but they remain revolutionary for those who actually apply them to their lives.
Blaise Pascal, the 17th Century French philosopher and mathematician, gives a very helpful piece of advice that is revolutionary for individuals and societies who put it into practice.
"The sensibility of man to trifles, and his insensibility to great things, indicates a strange inversion." ~ Blaise Pascal
A "trifle" is something that has very little value, significance, or importance. Who can deny that many of us mistakenly devote too much time to such things? Our cultural obsession with celebrity gossip, scandals, reality television, and political drama rather than substance is harmful because it draws our attention away from things that matter. Pascal would add that the pursuit of wealth, pleasure, and status are also trifles, insofar as they will not lead to true fulfillment if we make them our top priorities.
What are the "great things" that Pascal refers to? He urges his readers to consider matters that have great importance, in his view: the importance of good character, questions related to the immortality of the soul, and whether or not there is a God.
Essentially, Pascal wants us to consider the big questions of life and give them the attention and deep thought that they deserve. These questions are too important to neglect. The way in which we answer them will impact our lives in dramatic ways, whether we realize it or not.
To be happy, we need to ask and answer these questions for ourselves, seeking out what is true and wisely applying it to our lives.
Photo: Dennis Jarvis, CCL