Daily Riches: Seeing Solitude as Intolerable (Blaise Pascal and Friedrich Nietzsche) *

“Man finds nothing so intolerable as to be in a state of complete rest, without passions without occupation, without diversion, without effort. Then he faces his nullity, loneliness, inadequacy, dependence, helplessness, emptiness. And at once there well up from the depths of his soul boredom, gloom, depression, chagrin, resentment, despair.” Blaise Pascal

“When we are quiet and alone, we fear that something will be whispered in our ears,
and so we hate the quiet, and dull our senses in society.” Friedrich Nietzsche

“I have become like a bird alone on a roof.” Psalm 102:7

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you find it “intolerable” when you’re alone with nothing to do and nothing to distract you?  to be “in a state of complete rest?” Do you “dull your senses in society?”
  • This experience seems pretty unpleasant, sometimes even dangerous (“despair”), and yet, isn’t Pascal commending it to us, and Nietzsche warning us about what we do? Why do you suppose that is?
  • Are you willing to face your “nullity [nothingness], loneliness, inadequacy, dependence, helplessness, [and] emptiness … in a state of complete rest?” What plan can you make to begin to try that? Who do you know who can help guide or encourage you?

Abba, I want to own my neediness and helplessness before you, and not dull my senses with vain distractions. Teach me to come into your presence and be at rest.


For More: Pensees by Blaise Pascal


These Daily Riches are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in 400 words or less. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others as we seek to find our satisfaction in our unfailingly loving God. (Psalm 90:14) . I appreciate your interest! – Bill

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