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prophets-BANDINELLI, Baccio

Man is made for reflection; hence all his dignity and value. His dignity consists in the right direction of his mind, and the exercise of his intellect in the study of himself, his Author, and his end. But what is the mental occupation of the world at large? Never this; but diversion, wealth, fame, power; without regard to the essential duties of intellectual man. The human intellect is most admirable in its nature; it must have strange defects to make it despicable; and, in fact, it has so many and so great, as to be supremely contemptible. How great is it in itself, how mean in its corruptions! There is in man a continual conflict between his reason and his passions. He might enjoy tranquillity to a certain extent, were he mastered by either of these singly. If he had reason without passion, or passion without reason, he might have some degree of peace; but, possessing both, he is in a state of perpetual warfare: for peace with one is war with the other: he is divided against himself. If it be an unnatural blindness to live without inquiring into our true constitution and condition, it proves a hardness yet more dreadful to believe in God and live in sin.

~ Blaise Pascal

Sculpture by Baccio Bandinelli (1493 – 1560)