The Fearful Sphere of Pascal  

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"Nature is an infinite sphere, whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere"

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

"La esfera de Pascal" (English: The Fearful Sphere of Pascal") is an essay by Jorge Luis Borges written in 1951. It was first collected in Otras Inquisiciones in 1952.

Borges comments on Blaise Pascal's use of the sphere metaphor for the universe, calling the sphere effroyable, or "frightful", having its center everywhere and its circumference nowhere.

"He felt the incessant weight of the physical world, he experienced vertigo, fright and solitude, and he put his feelings into these words: "Nature is an infinite sphere, whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere." Thus do the words appear in the Brunschvicg text; but the critical edition published by Tourneur (Paris, 1941), which reproduces the crossed-out words and variations of the manuscript, reveals that Pascal started to write the word effroyable: "a fearful sphere, whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.""

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