The heart has its reasons which reason does not know. This is a statement that appears to be simple, but is quite the opposite taking into consideration its deeper meaning. This is a statement by blaise Pascal while trying to describe the path to ethical truth. The question thus arises as to exactly what blaise Pascal is referring to when he says the heart and what is the motivation behind this particular choice of words. Emotionally the heart is associated with decisions that are inclined towards truth and right. The heart thus has a moral compass that is ever pointing at the true north. The decisions made by the heart can be weighed, and their ultimate truth determined to be the actual truth. Blaise Pascal tries to associate this popular connotation about the heart with the path to ethical truth. The heart is also associated with decisions that are based on emotion rather than logic. This is why emotional decisions are popularly termed as coming from the heart in opposition to logic based decisions which are associated with the mind. Thus logic is alienated with decisions that are associated with the heart or termed as coming directly from the heart.
Blaise Pascal in his reference of the heart is in actuality referring to the human persona or rather the human mind. His choice of words is simply to imply that the choices made by the human persona or rather the human mind on the path to ethical perfection might be in actuality based on emotion, as opposed to actual facts and logic. This explains why ethics becomes a very complex topic to most people. Given a certain scenario that requires to be solved ethically, different people are likely to solve the problem in very different ways. The choices arrived at by these people are more likely than not to be associated with their emotions as opposed to the actual factual truth. This explains why different people have different definitions of ethics and what they consider to be ethical or unethical. There are certain definitions or rather ethical scenarios which are universally accepted by all people, but when it comes to the contentious burning issues of ethics the divide clearly appears.
Blaise Pascal is right in his assessment and reference to the human persona as well as the human mind as the heart. This is because it is very rare to find someone making a decision that is devoid of emotion. Human beings are by all means very emotional creatures and are more often than not subject to their emotional disposition. The rest of the statement by Blaise Pascal, however, sheds more light on the reasons of the heart. He describes these reasons as reasons for which reason has no reason. This statement is an illustration of the illogical nature of some of the decisions made by human beings. In simpler terms these reasons are so illogical that if reason itself was a living entity it would lack justification for these reasons. Reason would marvel at the illogical nature of these decisions and would be left completely speechless in that regard. This simply means that on the path to ethical truth people tend to make choices that are seemingly senseless and uncalled for. There is absolutely no justification for such choices anywhere in the world.
Barbour, R. W. (2003). Letters, poems and pensees, collected for private circulation. Glasgow: University Press.