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Can anyone rewrite this phrase in an easier fashion, so I can understand it:

The last function of reason is to recognize that there is an infinity of things which are beyond it. It is but feeble if it does not see so far as to know this.

—Blaise Pascal

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  • Could you explain what you do not understand?
    – Lambie
    Apr 1, 2019 at 16:45
  • the second sentence is the more difficult one and I don't get it: "It is but feeble if it does not see so far as to know this." Apr 1, 2019 at 16:47
  • "Reason is only feeble if reason does not see far enough to understand this". But here = only. An old usage.
    – Lambie
    Apr 1, 2019 at 16:50
  • what about does not see far enough? it's a metaphor or what? Apr 1, 2019 at 16:54
  • I think it would mean the same thing in your language. Reason cannot see far enough. yes, reason is like a person.
    – Lambie
    Apr 1, 2019 at 17:00

1 Answer 1

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The last part,

It is but feeble if it does not see so far as to know this.

could be rephrased as:

Reason is weak if it not does realize that there is an infinity of things which are beyond it.


By the way, if you find the original French sentence and use Google Translate, the result is easy to understand and, surprisingly, pretty accurate (you just need to change she to it).

The last step of reason is to recognize that there is an infinity of things that surpass it; [it] is only weak, if [it] does not go so far as to know that.

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