Blaise Pascal, Pensés: The Pensés are an enduring testament to the powers and limitations of human expression. Pascal wrote about our self-love, the grandeur and misery of life, our ceaseless search for meaning: ‘The heart has reasons reason does not understand;’ ‘The eternal silence of these infinite spaces terrify me;’ ‘The parrot wipes its beak even though it is clean.’ ‘All of man’s unhappiness comes from one thing alone: he does not know how to stay quietly in a room’ – these are just some of the intense, brilliant aphorisms that allow us to peer into the swarm of life. Reading Pascal, many readers have felt the same way he did reading Montaigne: ‘It is not in Montaigne but in myself that I find everything I see there.’ [recommended by Andrew Yeung Bun Hui, Yale-NUS College in Singapore]

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