Before his death at the age of 39, Blaise Pascal made great contributions to physics and mathematics, especially in fluids, geometry, and probability.
However, this work will not only have an impact on the field of natural sciences. In fact, many of the areas we now classify under the heading of social science do come from the foundations he helped lay.
Interestingly, most of it was done in his teens, and some of it was done in his twenties. As an adult, inspired by religious experience, he actually turned to philosophy and theology.
Just before his death, he was spreading fragments of personal thoughts that were later published as collections under the name Pensées.
Although this book is mainly a case of mathematicians choosing faith and belief life, it is even more curious that this book reflects clearly on the meaning of people. Before psychology was considered formal discipline, this was the blueprint for our psychology.
There is enough thought-provoking material to cite and attack humanity from various different angles, but one of its most famous ideas sums up the core of his argument appropriately:
“All human problems stem from the inability of humans to sit quietly in a room alone.”
According to Pascal, we worry about the silence of life, we fear boredom, and instead choose to distract ourselves aimlessly, and we can’t help but change from emotional problems to false spiritual comfort.
Basically, the problem is that we will never learn the art of solitude.
Why being connected
Today, Pascal’s information is more real than ever. If one word is used to describe the progress made in the past 100 years, it is the connection.
Information technology dominates our cultural direction. From telephones to radios, to televisions, to the Internet, we have found ways to make our relationships closer, enabling continuous world access.
I can sit in my Canadian office and ship myself to almost anywhere I want via Skype. I can be on the other side of the world, but still can see what’s happening at home with a quick glance.
I don’t think I need to emphasize all these benefits. But the shortcomings are beginning to show. In addition to current discussions about privacy and data collection, there may be more harmful side effects here.
Now we live in a world where we are related to everything except ourselves.
If Pascal’s observation that we can’t sit alone in a room alone is a common human condition, then this problem will definitely increase by an order of magnitude due to the options available today.
The logic is certainly tempting. Why not have to be alone?
Well, the answer is that it is never the same thing as never being alone. To make matters worse, the worse you feel about being alone, the less you know about yourself. Then you will spend more time avoiding focusing on other places. In the process, you will indulge in the same technology that set you free.
Just because we can use the hustle and bustle of the world to eliminate discomfort when we are with ourselves, does not mean that this discomfort disappears.
Almost everyone sees themselves as self-aware. They think they know how they feel, what they want, and the problems they encounter. But the truth is that very few people actually do this. Those who do this will be the first to tell us how self-conscious is changing and how long it takes to get there.
In today’s world, people can live forever without actually digging out the surface masks they wear. Actually a lot.
It is a problem that we are increasingly losing touch with our identities.
Boredom is a way to stimulate
If we boil it down to the basic principles (Pascal also talks about this), then our aversion to loneliness is actually an aversion to boredom.
Essentially, we don’t necessarily indulge in televisions because it has a unique sense of satisfaction, just like we don’t indulge in most stimulants because the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. Instead, what we are really addicted to is a state of boredom.
Almost everything else that controls our lives in unhealthy ways stems from our awareness of our fear of nothingness. We cannot imagine just doing it, not doing it. Therefore, we seek entertainment, cooperation, and if we fail, we will chase higher positions.
We ignore the fact that we have never faced this emptiness and never faced ourselves. Despite being so closely linked to everything else around us, we always feel lonely and anxious, which is why we never face ourselves.
Fortunately, there is a solution. The only way to avoid being destroyed by any fear like any fear is to face it. It’s letting boredom take you where you want, so you can handle everything that feels like you’re really happening. That’s when you hear your thoughts, and when you learn to distract yourself from distractions.
The advantage of this is that once you get over the initial obstacles, you realize that it’s not that bad to be alone. Boredom can provide its own excitement.
When you are in a moment of loneliness and silence, you become very familiar with your surroundings in ways that forced stimulation does not allow. The world is getting richer, the layers are beginning to peel off, and you will see the true face of things, all content, all contradictions, and strangeness.
You learned that there are other things you need to pay attention to besides what makes the surface the loudest. Just because a quiet room doesn’t scream as excitedly as immersing itself in a movie or TV show doesn’t mean there is no deep exploration there.
Sometimes this loneliness can bring you unpleasant directions, especially when it comes to introspection-your thoughts and feelings, your doubts and your hopes-but in the long run, it’s more than evading everything happy. Don’t even realize that you are.
Embracing boredom allows you to discover novelty in strange things; it’s like an unconditional child seeing the world for the first time. It also resolves most internal conflicts.
The more the world progresses, the more excitement it provides, inspiring us to interact with it without thinking.
Pascal’s conclusion is that loneliness and discomfort are at the root of all our problems, which may be an exaggeration, but it is not completely unworthy.
Every effort to establish a connection with us isolates us from the world. We are so distracted that we forget to take care of ourselves, which makes us feel more and more lonely.
Interestingly, the culprit is not our obsession with any mundane stimulus. This is the fear of nothingness-we are addicted to a state of boredom. We have an instinctive aversion to a simple existence.
Without realizing the value of loneliness, we ignore the fact that once faced with the fear of boredom, it can actually provide its own stimulus. The only way to face it is to take some time to sit down, whether daily or weekly, sitting on our thoughts, feelings and momentary peace.
The oldest philosophical wisdom in the world offers us a piece of advice: know yourself. There are good reasons for this.
Without knowing yourself, it is almost impossible to find a healthy way to interact with the world around us. Without time to figure it out, we have no foundation to build the rest of our lives.
Loneliness and introversion are skills that no one has taught. Ironically, it is more important than most of them.
Solitude is not the answer to all problems, but it must be the beginning.