The DRG has assigned me Pascal's "Discourse on the Passion of Love" -- because, really, what are Shakespeare sonnets next to the disquisition of French philosophers? It is an extremely disjointed work, random notes really. You keep waiting for the Woody Allen punchlines, like in those fake-deep pieces where he'd write, "Not only is there no God, but try finding a plumber on weekends." (Or, my favorite, "Should I marry W.? Not if she won't tell me the other letters in her name.") Look, here's an example right at the open:
MAN is born for thought; therefore he is not a moment without it; but the pure thoughts that would render him happy, if he could always maintain them, weary and oppress him.My punch line is, "Also, he is frequently hungry." Readers are invited to submit their own in comments.
Anyway, since there's no argument to engage with, I thought I would just pull out a few random pieces of advice for the lovers among you, with snarky comments added, so that you may improve your game, French-philosophical-robot style:
How happy is a life that begins with love and ends with ambition! If I had to choose, this is the one I should take. So long as we have ardor we are amiable; but this ardor dies out, is lost; then what a fine and noble place is left for ambition!Sadly, Pascal leaves undeveloped here the concept of the "trophy wife" which comes after ambition.
For we do not wish for beauty alone, but desire in connection with it a thousand circumstances that depend on the disposition in which it is found, and it is in this sense that it may be said that each one possesses the original of his beauty. [W]omen often determine this original. As they have an absolute empire over the minds of men, they paint on them either the qualities of the beauties which they possess or those which they esteem, and by this means add what pleases them to this radical beauty. Hence there is one epoch for blondes, another for brunettes.I think there was a Dean Martin movie about that.
Beauty is divided in a thousand different ways. The most proper object to sustain it is a woman. When she has intellect, she enlivens it and sets it off marvellously. If a woman wishes to please, and possesses the advantages of beauty or a portion of them at least, she will succeed.Pascal, always with boosting the self-esteem. You only need a portion -- the left half of your face, for example. And for you gents:
Yet between being fastidious and not being so at all, it must be granted that when one desires to be fastidious he is not far from actually being so. Women like to perceive fastidiousness in men, and this is, it seems to me, the most vulnerable point whereby to gain them.Shorter Pascal: Would it hurt to comb your hair once in awhile?
Attachment to the same thought wearies and destroys the mind of man. Hence for the solidity and permanence of the pleasure of love, it is sometimes necessary not to know that we love; and this is not to be guilty of an infidelity, for we do not therefore love another; it is to regain strength in order to love the better.That's what they all say when they're caught cheating. Is it me or does that seem super-duper stereotypically French?
That's probably enough. The next essay in the book is "Of The Geometrical Spirit." But I'll save that one for my anniversary.