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By Santayana George

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Benda points out, natural interests and sympathies may expand indefinitely, so as to embrace a family, a nation, or the whole animate universe; we might even be chiefly occupied with liberal pursuits, such as science or music; the more we laboured at these things and delighted in them, the less ready should we be for renunciation and detachment. Must conversion then descend upon us from heaven like a thunderbolt? Far from it. We need not look for the principle of spiritual life in the distance: we have it at home from the beginning.

V. THE PRESTIGE OF THE INFINITE 30 Some Turns of Thought in Modern Philosophy M. Benda feels this pregnancy of the infinite on the mathematical side; but he hardly notices the fact, proclaimed so gloriously by Spinoza, that the infinity of extension is only one of an infinity of infinites. There is an aesthetic infinite, or many aesthetic infinites, composed of all the forms which nature or imagination might exhibit; and where imagination fails, there are infinite remainders of the unimagined. The version which M.

Yet spirit belongs intrinsically to another sphere, and cannot help wondering at the world, and suffering in it. The man in whom spirit is awake will continue to live and act, but with a difference. In so far as he has become pure spirit he will have transcended the fear of death or defeat; for now his instinctive fear, which will subsist, will be neutralised by an equally sincere consent to die and to V. THE PRESTIGE OF THE INFINITE 31 Some Turns of Thought in Modern Philosophy fail. He will live henceforth in a truer and more serene sympathy with nature than is possible to rival natural beings.

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Modern Philosophy by Santayana George


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