Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/197

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175
THE LUCIANIST.

called reason and intellect. In an ox, for example, the brain amounts to hardly an eight-hundredth part of its weight, therefore it is stupid; the elephant is ponderous but sagacious, because he has a proportionately large brain. Injure your brain and you become an idiot; why then do you talk of your future life and your eternal existence?"

"Our destiny then should be to make our life-work, or our existence, as you call it, as agreeable as possible."

"Decidedly."

"I did not think you were so selfish," replied Baruch.

"I am not selfish," retorted the physician, "I would joyfully give fortune and life for the good of the community, for the State, but not for religion and faith; I would not pull a hair from my wig for them. The surest and highest good of mankind lies in the well-being of the State, and to care for that is the destined work of man; in all else we but mount from one cloud to another."

"Your endeavors for the good of your fatherland and mankind were in the end then nothing more than to make it possible for this or that individual, or, if you prefer it, the community at large, to eat, drink, and take their pleasure with more ease and comfort; in your extension of this you obtain nothing higher, only something wider."

"I will talk with you openly," added the phy-