May he hate himself, may he love himself…

It is extremely dangerous to make man see how similar he is to the beasts, without showing him his greatness. It is again dangerous to make him see his greatness, without his baseness. It is again more dangerous to leave him ignorant of both. But it is very beneficial to show him both.
May man, then, know his worth. May he love himself; for he has in himself a nature capable of good; but may he not love on this account the base things he uses it for. May he despise himself because this capacity is void, but may he not hate on this account this natural capacity. May he hate himself; may he love himself: he has in himself the capacity of knowing the truth and of being happy; but he has no truth, either constant or satisfactory. I would like then to bring this man to desire to find it, to be ready and remove his passions to follow where he will find it; and knowing how much his knowledge is obscured by the passions, I would like for him to hate in himself the concupiscence which determines it of itself; so that it will not blind him when he makes his choice and will not stop him once he has chosen.

– Blaise Pascal, Pensées, roughly translated from pp. 69-70 (174-175) of this edition.


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