The Wager

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Instead, he directs the Wager to the curious and unconvinced. First, if I believe God exists, and God in fact does exist, then I will gain infinite happiness. However, if I believe God exists, and God in fact does not exist, then I will have no payoff. Second, if I do not believe God exists, and God in fact does exist, then I will gain infinite pain.

However, if I believe God does not exist, and God in fact does not exist, then I will have no payoff. Thus, I have everything to gain and nothing to lose by believing in God, and I have everything to lose and nothing to gain by not believing in God. On these grounds, one would be foolish not to believe. Pascal's wager is at best a motive for believing, not a proof. Even so, the Wager presupposes many conditions for the Wager to fit a rational decision theory model. Such self-seeking individuals would not properly serve the Deity.

Would the Wager also hold for Zeus, Odin, or Mithra? One would have to believe in all gods to be sure, but if there were only one God in fact, then this strategy would defeat itself. Pascal would argue that proper motive would naturally follow one's belief and that one's conception of God simply depends upon one's level of understanding--so in effect all persons conceive the same God differently according to each person's understanding.

We come to have faith in God by "acting as if you believed.

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Like Tolstoy would write much later, we learn from those who believe and become like them. As a result of the Wager, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain. The everyday beliefs we act on are the things we believe the strongest. What I liked best about the story is that, as he tries to survive despite his increasingly ugly and odorous appearance, Don Giovanni learns about people and about himself, and becomes a better person for it. He even sets an example for others. You are what you do, not what you look or smell like. The story has a twist at the end, which I thought I'd guessed but I didn't.

It was another book that I just couldn't put down, because I couldn't wait to see whether he could resist cleaning himself for that long. I also loved the descriptions of the Sicilian countryside, the foods of the various cultures on the island, and the cultures themselves. Great story, and highly recommended!


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Now I've got to find that folktale Aug 11, Angela rated it liked it. When I finished this, I wasn't quite sure what to think. I knew I liked it, but couldn't quite articulate it.


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  8. And it wasn't that I was so in love with the story that I was left wordless. I think I've finally figured out what I liked about this story: it was allowed to grow on me. Everything about this book is a slow build. When we first meet Don Giovanni, he's totally unsympathetic - an overgrown boy with too much money to spend and an insufferable braggart about his skills in bed.

    And then a tsunami wipes out his home town and reduces Don Giovanni to begging. And then the Devil appears with his wager - do not bathe or even change clothes for three years, three months and three days.


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    4. In return, Don Giovanni gets a purse that will give him any ammount of money he desires. His hygiene and pride are the only things he must sacrifice - unless he loses the wager, for then the Devil gets his soul. Napoli's descriptions of Giovanni's descent into filth are absolutely disgusting - and I mean that in a complimentary way! Don't read this while eating - you really don't want your meal interrupted by descriptions of pustules and sores and the company of flies.

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      Blech, I'm grossing myself out again just thinking about it. It's not an action packed story, but as Giovanni gets closer and closer to winning the wager, I was getting more and more tense. Would he make it? Would he make it without going absolutely insane? And if he did make it, would his experience truly change him for the better? For that's how Don Giovanni grew on me - as he was forced to slip further and further away from humanity by his filth, he actually became more humane, using his endless wealth to help others who were indigent in a way he had never even considered before entering the bet.

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      Aug 29, Liaken rated it it was ok Shelves: retellings. Quick note: If you are not familiar with this particular tale in its many forms, this review contains what could be considered spoilers. The tale of the man who makes a deal with the devil: Endless wealth in return for never washing himself or his clothes for years. The man gets very dirty. Then he gets dirtier. And sick in yucky ways. And finally, he makes it through and has a very fast happily ever after. This book has some serious disconnect between the reader and the main character.

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      It seemed Quick note: If you are not familiar with this particular tale in its many forms, this review contains what could be considered spoilers. It seemed like the book was being written as a fable or fairy tale, as in "there once was a man who So, it just went on and on with this man who There were moments that were interesting or insightful, but I couldn't connect with the main character and what he was going through. It always felt distant.

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      The ending was ridiculously fast. After dragging out the last days of his filth, the author zips through his restoration to being a clean, acceptable human being in just a matter of sentences. A few paragraphs later, he is married and happy and the book is over. So, the reader wades through endless yuck for a quick "all better" at the end. Lots of historical details, some of which are interesting, some of which are tedious, and some of which are unsavory. Oh, and if you're looking for a book that gets very descriptive about what kinds of things the human body does when it is unwashed for too long, this is the book for you.

      View all 4 comments. Oct 01, Mina Quigley rated it it was amazing. I was hesitant to read this novel due to its intimidating cover sorry, unfortunately I am one of those people , but when I began to read its pages the story came to life. Mystery, hidden meanings, and heartbreaking actions lurk throughout Don Giovanni's tale from rich nobleman to poor beggar. A few things I think the Author did well was her use of detail and symbolism, there was only one thing that I did not like about the overall book and its that the Author didn't carry on with the original en I was hesitant to read this novel due to its intimidating cover sorry, unfortunately I am one of those people , but when I began to read its pages the story came to life.

      A few things I think the Author did well was her use of detail and symbolism, there was only one thing that I did not like about the overall book and its that the Author didn't carry on with the original ending; She describes her thoughts on the idea in her acknowledgements. I think the bigger picture would have made more sense if she did so. Overall I enjoyed this unimaginable, unpredictable tale and I find myself wanting to read it again, its intriguing depths still wander in my brain. You'll find yourself questioning whether you're living the right life and what exactly is making it the way it is.

      This is a read you will not regret, if you dare to endure it. Oct 30, Cora Crotteau rated it it was amazing. I really enjoyed the story and how it was told. Apr 27, Sandy rated it it was amazing Shelves: library , favorite , ya , historical-fiction , fairy-tale , fairy-tale-retelling , should-reread. As I read this book, I thought it had the makings of a fairytale and then in the notes in the reader at the back of the book, I found that it is an old Sicilian fairytale that the author put her spin on.

      I will tell this tale often as it is with so many fairytales, there is a deeper meaning within its grasp if you truly want to look for it. I picked up The Wager at the library because the cover surprised me. I loved the wickedness of the red and black contrasting colors, the pictures portrayed o As I read this book, I thought it had the makings of a fairytale and then in the notes in the reader at the back of the book, I found that it is an old Sicilian fairytale that the author put her spin on.

      I loved the wickedness of the red and black contrasting colors, the pictures portrayed on the front and the font showcasing the title. When a tidal wave swept the village away that surrounded him, Don helped the villagers as others purged out his wealth from his castle on the hilltop. Alone, neither servants nor family, no money to fall back on, Don was just like all the other villagers and he like everyone else had to find a way to survive.

      Don Diovanni, a man once admired was left on the streets trying to rebuild his life. No sleep for me as I watched Don try to uphold is clean image living among the others on the street. They laughed at him, how he could be the famous Don, the man with all the money living among them, eating day-old bread and scrounging among the trees and bushes for berries.