Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/353

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331
STILL LIFE.

and wilful misinterpretations that it has more to do with Peter and Paul, and what they have become by habit and inclination, than with pure intellect."

"Just why you should learn to know Peter and Paul more intimately, to conquer their prejudices, and personal bias."

"I wish to explore and ascertain the laws of human existence and intelligence. I have often explained to you already that I do not set myself to discover the errors of others. If these are revealed by the revelation of the natural law so much the better. You, by your profession, must concern yourself for others; to me it is given to search in the book of history and the workings of my own life."

"That you should do," answered Oldenburg, "and to do so you should investigate the world in the whole, as well as in detail. Let me take your handiwork, these glasses, as a metaphor. Were our eyes microscopically arranged, we should look at only a single part, never at a whole; were our eyes only for a distant prospect, we should never know the peculiarities of things. Thus it is the prerogative of human intellect to accommodate by art both the microscopic and telescopic views of things to its own assigned natural mediocrity; and in conclusion by imagination, by thought, to recognize them in their conditions; but this the large and small views must precede. It is thus with our