The Inspirational Life of Blaise Pascal
March 13, 2019
When searching for inspiration in life, sometimes it is necessary to turn towards the past. History is, of course, paved with the stories of people who have overcome immense odds and went on to achieve things that have had an immeasurably positive impact on the world.
One such figure who gets much less attention than they deserve is Blaise Pascal, the French inventor, thinker, and philosopher who made his mark in 17th century Paris. There are countless examples of inventors who have changed the world and who continue to inspire, as this jaw-dropping Biography Online database demonstrates.
However, the lessons we can learn from the illustrious life of Pascal differ from those of other famous inventors. This is a man who rose from obscurity to the very top of his field, whose creations and ideas are still widely used to this very day.
More importantly, he always stood up for what he believed in, going against the grain and defying the conventions (and laws) of his time in the name of what he believed was right. He was also a man who wasn't afraid to make mistakes and whose greatest errors also turned out to be some of his most enduring victories.
Here's what we can all learn from the inspiring and unique life of Blaise Pascal.
From Humble Beginnings to Celebrated Prodigy
By the time Pascal was just sixteen years old, he was at a point in his career that most of us can only dream of. However, it wasn't always clear that he was destined for greatness. Born in the small town of Clement-Ferrand in 1623, his father was an unimportant local judge, while his mother died shortly after giving birth to him.
While Pascal did not have immense riches and resources to propel him to success, he was blessed with a father who put the education and nurturing of his children above all else. While still a child, the family moved to Paris, in part because his father thought there would be greater opportunities for his children in the big city.
Pascal's early interest in mathematics was nurtured solely by his single father and, by the time he was a teenager, he had already published his famous Essay on Conics, named by UC Berkely as one of the most important breakthroughs in the history of mathematics.
Changing the World Through Sheer Hard Work
The mind-blowing and world-changing achievements of Pascal beginning from a very early age are much too numerous to list here. There's his invention of what is considered to be the first version of a mechanical calculator in recorded history, which he created to help his father complete his tax returns.
There are his inventions of both the syringe and the hydraulic press in quick succession, both of which are still indispensable in the fields of industry and medicine to this very day. Then, there is one of his most famous inventions, the roulette wheel (more on that later).
His achievements are inspiring not just because of their ingenuity and original thinking during a time of widespread stagnation in France, but also because of the means required to achieve them. Pascal was a tireless worker who would seldom spend less than 18 hours a day on his passions.
He was always open to learning new things and would eagerly consume any literature he came across. He is a monument to the power of hard work when it comes to reaching your goals and changing the world for the better.
Turning Mistakes into Achievements
The key to living a happy and contented life is the ability to see silver linings where there are clouds. It is important to confront your mistakes, accept them, and see them as opportunities rather than errors. This is exactly what makes Blaise Pascal such an inspiring figure.
One of his most famous inventions is, of course, the roulette wheel. The wheel is a simple yet brilliant device which is now enjoyed by millions of people worldwide, from the storied casinos of Las Vegas to the elegant gaming rooms of Monte Carlo. The fact that roulette remains one of the most popular real-money games in the world, with players in the modern era flocking to digital options such as the current crop of Betway roulette games, is a testament to his genius.
However, it was never pascal's intention to invent the roulette wheel. Rather, his plan was to create a device that operated on perpetual motion, meaning that it could function without drawing energy from an external source. This was, of course, impossible and in defiance of the laws of physics.
That didn't stop the trailblazer Pascal, who worked tirelessly to create his dream device in the hopes that it would become the crowning glory of his career. He inevitably failed, but ever the optimist, he took the device he created and used it in parlor games with his friends. The simple yet thrilling fun of roulette quickly became the talk of Paris and it wasn't long before the king of France himself had a roulette table installed in his quarters at the Palace of Versailles.
Nowadays, you can go on Amazon to see countless books dedicated to this iconic game, which just goes to show that sometimes the best things happen when they don't go as planned.
Blaise Pascal's influence lives on today through his works and his inventions, serving as an inspiration to us all. We'll leave you with some parting wisdom from the man himself, courtesy of BrainyQuote.com: "It is the fight alone that pleases us, not the victory".
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