An influential book for me is the "Pensees" by Blaise Pascal. The French word "pensee" translates loosely to "thoughts" in English. Pascal, a French philosopher and mathematician wrote brief thoughts and notes on scraps of paper that were found among his effects after his death. Over the centuries a great deal of confusion and controversy has been attached to the Pensees, as many scholars have debated the purpose and the order in which they should be read. Most agree that the Pensees were, by and large, notes for what was to be a philosophical defense of his Christian faith. However there are within the Pensees random thoughts that continue to defy explanation to this day. My personal favorite among these is #343:
"The beak of the parrot, which it wipes, although it is clean."
I believe the Pensees were less a systemic attempt on Pascal's part to address any single question, and more just the workings of an unkempt and disorderly mind to keep track of various streams of thought. Given that my own brain works in a somewhat of disordered manner itself, this is a perspective that gives me some degree of comfort and inspiration.
I decided to begin using Twitter as my own way to collect short quotes, bon mots, and fragments of my own thinking as I seek to make sense of the world for myself. At the moment I have a few dozen posted. I plan to go to 140, but who knows?
You can find these jottings collected on Twitter under the hashtag #140Thoughts