France and the French language are passions of mine. But it wasn’t always that way. When I studied French in high school the only thing I thought was important was math and science (and sports and girls!). I was smart and thought French was a waste of my time. I wanted to study Latin but it was out of cycle so I spent two years miserable in French and making my teacher very unhappy.
Where I went to college I had to study a language every year. The first two years were Classical Greek which I loved and then God help me the last two years were French again. They put me in an accelerated class (don’t ask me why) and the first semester I really suffered. My teacher really hammered me.
Then in second semester I started reading Pascal in French and suddenly all the resistance fell away. I spent hours reading him and my understanding of the language blossomed. I wrote a paper at the end of the second semester that my teacher thought was brilliant and inspired by it I wrote my junior essay on it.
I have spent lots of years now with French and Pascal. I’ve written novels (unpublished) on him and still write things about him. I am not deeply religious but I’ve found myself infected with his thought.
What does this have to do with clarity you ask?
This path led me out of prejudice and ignorance to years of joy. Clarity came about because of the path I was following; not the end goal in mind. I still don’t know the end goal. But I am clear about certain things because of this path that I would never have without the journey I’ve been on. So clarity isn’t just one path or method. You can discover joy and happiness in multiple ways.
Tomorrow I’ll be discussing a theme of Pascal’s that keeps us from being clear.