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Pascal Surprised or incredulous, members of the intellectual elite of Paris attend the exhibition of a strange machine, created by a 21 year-old youth. Nobody notices its reach: so that a mechanism capable to do so many calculations? Centuries later, the mill would be considered the calculating- first of the modern ones. Blaise Pascal, the inventor of the calculating machine, would also develop important studies of Mathematics and Physics, besides leaving deep meditations on Philosophy and Christian Religion. Born in 1623, Blaise Pascal interiorizou the dilemmas of its time: the shock among the old medieval order, in that the influence of the Christian doctrine, and a new vision of the world prevailed, own of the emergent capitalist society, based on the development of the sciences (mathematics, physics, etc.) and of its application in the technology. On a side, the Church tried to preserve its authority on the men, reaffirming the need of the faith; from the other, the humanity discovered that it could walk without the divine help, being guided for by force of its reason. The Cientist The scientific and rationalistic aspect of Pascal was revealed from the childhood. Instigated by the father, that, refusing to send the son to the school, took charge of his education, young Pascal rushed to the investigation of any problem with that if he ran across. Restless and curious, already to the 11 years, he accomplished experiences on the sounds, that resulted in a small agreement. It is also counted that, not satisfied with the paternal promise that later he would receive lessons on mathematics, he developed for own initiative, the study of geometric illustrations. Thus, to the 12 years, he got to deduce alone the first 32 positions of the geometry established by Euclides. The processes in the study of the Mathematics were fast: no longer he was to reproduce the one that the old specialists had done, but of doing new discoveries. To the 16 years, he wrote the " Rehearsal on the Conical " published in 1640, a work on the Profective Geometry in that investigated the conical ones - geometric illustrations whose properties don't lose temper when projected in several ways of a plan on another one. After “La Pascaline's " construction - the machine of calculating -, the attention of Pascal went back to the experiences on the atmospheric pressure accomplished by Torricelli. Second this cientist, the space that stayed on the column of mercury of a barometer corresponded to the vacuum; Pascal demonstrated that the assumed " vacuum " didn't pass of rarefied air. In that study, he also analyzed the properties of the hydraulic pressure, enunciating a proposition that would be known as " law of Pascal "; the pressure exercised on the liquid in a shut recipient is transmitted by all the directions, with no modifyings. The Religious Crisis During that whole period, Pascal, as his contemporaries, he directed his conduct according with the prescriptions of the Catholic Church. This seemed to conform to at the new times, being shown tolerant with the scientific investigations that, direct or indirectly, they refuted the extracted dogmas of the Bible. In that measured, the Catholicism of the generation of Pascal tended to be much more a simple habit than a true faith: the faith in God didn't have consequences in the daily life. The theological current founded by Dutch Cornelius Jansen, even so, it considered such attitude a true corruption of the Christianity. Jansen affirmed that the philosophical reason was the " mother of all the heresies "; in other words, it condemned any free thought, I don't subject to the control of the Church. According to him, the man was not guided by its free will; it was predestined, and the salvation didn't depend on its actions, but, only, of the divine grace. In France, such current - known like Jansenism -, in spite of officially condemned by the Pope, it spread quickly, tends with main center difusor, the convent of Port-Royal. From there, the French jansenists started to nail the solitary retreat and the scorn for the material and social life. Pascal would take contact with the jansenism in 1646, when the father, sick, became attended by two medical followers of the doctrine. In the discussions with these, Pascal went being taken by the feeling that there was something superior, deeper than the human reason. If this solved the problems of the Nature, of mathematical or physical order, it was shown impotent to solve other problems, as the sin and the salvation. This, even so, it didn't take it he abandon the scientific researches. Starting from 1652, Pascal began to investigate the mathematical subjects raised by the " Games of Dices ", elaborating the calculation of the probabilities. It gave studies, that he called himself “Geometry of Pascal ", it controls numeric that allows to calculate several possible combinations to a certain number of objects contained to each other. However, no longer he felt more comfortable in than himself denominated as " mundane " life. Like this, as he tells his sister, to the 30 years, Pascal " decided to give up of the social " commitments. He began moving of neighborhood and, for better break with his habits, went live in the field, where so much did to abandon the world that the world after all abandoned him. The Man and the Infinite Actually he didn't abandon the world. In spite of having confined in the convent of Port-Royal starting from 1655, it started to develop intense literary activity and philosophical-religious person to disclose and to defend before the world the ideas of Jansenism. Of that activity they resulted, among other works, the " Provincial ", a series of goods writings starting from 1656, and, “Thoughts ", published in 1670, eight years after the author's death. Besides, Pascal didn't totally stand back of the scientific activity: retaking the previous studies on the subject of the " infinitely small " ones; it developed in 1658 a work on the area of the ciclóide, it curves described by a point of the circumference that rolls on a straight line. That study would be the percursor of the integral calculation, elaborated later by Leibniz and Newton. But even that scientific work was tied up to problems physiologic- religious persons. In fact, its interest for the " infinitely small " ones was associated to a larger subject. What is the man before the infinite "? Because the man, according to Pascal, is it placed among two infinites: the " infinitely big " (the Universe) and the " infinitely small " (particles, atoms). Before that immensity, the man meets lost: We " burned in the desire of finding a firm platform and a last and permanent base for on her to build a tower that rises until the infinite; even so, the alicerces ruem and the earth opens up until the abyss ". If the man, through its reason, gets to unmask several secrets of the world, he will never get to know everything, the infinite. There is only, therefore, a fixed point where the man can lean on: God. But the existence of God establishes in the man the trust in himself. The man continues lost, tormented, while it doesn't come the grace of God. It is not the man that should reveal the existence of God, because the reason is unable of that; the revelation only depends on God. While this not to grant the grace to the man, God will always be occult.
"pascal Pascal Surprised or incredulous"