Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/357

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335
STILL LIFE.

from the foundation of pure intellect, that had made devotion to this another personal pleasure.

What can love offer more, and should the thinker, happy in himself, not be satisfied with friendship alone? Spinoza felt more and more at home in the peaceful serenity of his life, whose equable happiness can be called nothing else than blessedness. For the exercise of the intellect in solitude is the highest felicity of life—near to the eternal sun, above the tumult of the world, above the clouds which float in the atmosphere of the earth. In solitude life is explained; there no cry from without is possible, nothing to break the stream of the thinking existence. And what first appeared as will fortifies itself into self-sustaining endurance. Thoughts flow together like a chorus of saved spirits and carry the physically imprisoned soul with them. Set free and forgotten is the mortal self, and life becomes thought.

What disturbs in the present and in uncongenial contact wins a milder meaning, and awakens a gentle conciliation in the mind that is inspired by a love of truth and rectitude, and that no reproach can drag down. It was like an awakening from that unconscious life, which yet had moved in the immaterial paths of thought to the inner development of himself, and the consideration of himself, and his relation to the outer world.

When Spinoza so abstracted himself from all per-