Time Capsule #61
Pascal’s wager, Vietnam, and fartlek training.
Welcome to the Time Capsule — a weekly newsletter that discusses the practicalities of life and explores the wisdom, ideas, and events of the past to help you build a better future.
💭 Quote of the Week
Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
✏️ Pascal’s Wager
One of the most compelling arguments in favour of believing in God is Pascal’s wager. Posited by the French mathemetician and philosopher Blaise Pascal, the argument is as follows: whether we like it or not, we wager with our lives on the existence of God. There is either a God, or there is no God, of which we have no way of knowing. But the repercussions of how we choose to answer this question for ourselves, in the form of our choices and actions, is one of significant magnitude. There are 4 possible outcomes in this table:
God exists, and we live as if He exists. In this case, whatever it costs us on Earth to follow God, we stand to receive eternal life in Heaven in return.
God does not exist, but we live as if He exists. In this case, we may lose the pleasures and luxuries of a hedonistic earthly existence in striving for the Godly lifestyle, without the benefit of eternal life in Heaven.
God does not exist, and we live as if He does not exist. In this case, if our pursuit of earthly pleasures results in deviations from the Godly path, we do not pay an eternal price.
God exists, and we live as if He does not exist. In this case, by choosing to live as if He does not exist when He truly does, we risk paying an eternal punishment (in Hell).
Given that we can never know whether or not He exists, Pascal suggests that instead of leaving our eternal fate to chance, we should base our choice on the potential consequences. In living a Godly life, you at worst lose the finite pleasures of earthly existence, and at best enjoy eternity in Heaven. In choosing against the Godly life, we can at best enjoy the finite pleasures of life, and at worst suffer eternally for our transgressions.
When considering the options, the rational choice is clear.
📸 Photo of the Week
📖 Book of the Week — 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas by Jules Verne
A classic french novel from the late 19th century. Read this book as a young lad; it’s one of the great adventure stories and its depiction of underwater ships was ahead of its time, predicting many of the features we see today in modern submarines.
💡 Food for Thought
You will often be the only one who understands your vision. It is your job to make it a reality for the world.
🔭 Sunday Best
Maurice Ravel - Pavane for Dead Princess — I have unintentionally been listening to this song every morning as I start my day.
Magnificent Vietnam Green Beret Tells What Happened To Him — an amazing interview with Green Beret David Christian, who discusses life in the 60s and the impact of the Vietnam War on himself and America at large. He is an excellent storyteller, which makes it even better.
Julien Wanders - 64min Fartlek — I am taking a lot of inspiration from this channel as I gear up for my 3rd year of consistent running. The pace these guys train at is actually insane.
Thanks for tuning in,