Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/458

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
436
SPINOZA.

merely for himself. He must accommodate his actions to another's. Indeed, in the end he follows another's will. That is the fall; he did not act for himself, but for another. But the bachelor is like Adam in Paradise. You must remain the Adam of the mind."

Spinoza smiled at his friend, and explained that man is not really free in solitude, but only in society. Ludwig Meyer often stood as if in prayer beside the bed of the philosopher, who in painless moments looked upon his illness as a circumstance foreign to his real being. Only once he spoke of the trials he had gone through, and extended an idea he had expressed before:

"The heaviest burden that men can lay upon us is not that they persecute us with their own hatred, ingratitude and scorn; no, it is by planting hatred and scorn in our souls. That is what does not let us breathe freely nor see clearly. It is vanity and self-destruction to hate a man. We must only try to make the wrong action unavailing, and thus again obtain the love of God, in which the world is so peaceful and happy, and which fills us at all times with joy."

He rose ever higher towards that serene height of contemplation, so that he might say of himself:

"I have ever carefully striven with myself neither to despise, nor to blame, nor to detest human actions, but to understand them. And likewise the