A reader writes:
Pascal notes, then asks:
When I consider the brief span of my life absorbed into the eternity which comes before and after--memoria hospitis unius diei praetereuntis--the small space I occupy and which I see swallowed up in the infinite immensity of spaces of which I know nothing and which know nothing of me, I take fright and am amazed to see myself here rather than there: there is no reason for me to be here rather than there, now rather than then. Who put me here? By whose command and act were this place and time allotted to me?
The answers that make sense to me now are: no one, and by no command. When I was young, I believed in God and I was terrified of death. When I was in my late teens, I realized: there is no God. It was a hot summer's night. I was laying in bed. And a deep sense of calm washed over me. There would be no me, and thus I need have no fear for that person who would not be. That freed my life from fear. I stopped asking 'who'--a human question if there ever was one. Pascal describes a feeling that I still feel. It's called the sublime. Existence is sublime. I am here in this time and place, and I have no fear.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.