Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/370

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348
SPINOZA.

nature requires it. What are art, science and industry? May they all be destroyed if mankind is not to—"

"He can live according to nature," interrupted Spinoza, "who has early learned to master his passions, and to act in accordance with the eternal laws of reason. For this they should not appear as external and arbitrary, otherwise the power of the passions will often win in the conflict. But if, by our recognition of the law of reason, we have seen the worthlessness of all power and all indulgence of the passions, we shall lead such a life as our true nature exacts."

"It is not given to every man," answered Oldenburg, " to turn his back on the world, or rather to hover above it all in the heaven of his own consciousness. There are wild and stormy spirits who, by mere happy indifference, retain their enjoyment in this world of weighty trifles, of necessary tyranny, and can be kept from madness and despair."

In a mild tone Spinoza led the conversation to its source again by saying:

"I do not turn my back on the world as you think; I fully enjoy it in my own way."

"And you deceive yourself if you think you will enjoy it more with Olympia."

"Oldenburg, you have too high-flown notions of matrimony," remarked Meyer. "Believe me, I now have a second wife, and live in great contentment.