In several different places of his Pensees, Blaise Pascal (d. 1662) reflected on diversion, busyness, and distraction. Here’s how he describes it.
I have occasionally set myself to consider the different distractions of men, the pains and perils to which they expose themselves at court or in war, whence arise so many quarrels, passions, bold and often bad ventures, etc., I have discovered that all the unhappiness of men arises from one single fact, that they cannot stay quietly in their own chamber.
In other words, if people would sit quietly at home, they would have to eventually think about the deep and meaningful things of life, including friendship, faith, God, illness, death, heaven, and hell. They keep themselves busy so they can avoid the deep things of life. Their busyness makes them happy on the surface, but miserable way down deep. …
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