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Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
Man is spirit. But what is spirit? Spirit is the self. But what is the self? The self is a relation which relates itself to itself... Man is a synthesis of the infinite and the finite, of the temporal and the eternal, of possibility and necessity, in short, it is a synthesis. A synthesis is a relation between two factors. So regarded, man is not yet a self.
Was it possible that Napoleon should win the battle of Waterloo? We answer, No! Why? Because of Wellington? Because of Blücher? No! Because of God! For Bonaparte to conquer at Waterloo was not the law of the nineteenth century. It was time that this vast man should fall. He had been impeached before the Infinite! He had vexed God! Waterloo was not a battle. It was the change of front of the Universe!
One microscopic glittering point; then another; and another, and still another; they are scarcely perceptible, yet they are enormous. This light is a focus; this focus, a star; this star, a sun; this sun, a universe; this universe, nothing. Every number is zero in the presence of the infinite.
I was looking at my furniture, not as the utilitarian who has to sit on chairs, to write at desks and tables, and not as the cameraman or scientific recorder, but as the pure aesthete whose concern is only with forms and their relationships within the field of vision or the picture space. But as I looked, this purely aesthetic, Cubist's-eye view gave place to what I can only describe as the sacramental vision of reality. I was back where I had been when I was looking at the flowers—back in a world where everything shone with the Inner Light, and was infinite in its significance.
I believe that faith is a precursor of all our ideas. Without faith, there never could have evolved hypothesis, theory, science or mathematics. I believe that faith is an extension of the mind. It is the key that negates the impossible. To deny faith is to refute oneself and the spirit that generates all our creative forces. My faith is in the unknown, in all that we do not understand by reason; I believe that what is beyond our comprehension is a simple fact in other dimensions, and that in the realm of the unknown there is an infinite power for good.
Tell the angel who will watch over your future destiny, Morrel, to pray sometimes for a man who, like Satan, thought himself, for an instant, equal to God; but who now acknowledges, with Christian humility, that God alone possesses supreme power and infinite wisdom... There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness. We must have felt what it is to die, Morrel, that we may appreciate the enjoyments of life.
Ah! I need solitude. I have come forth to this hill at sunset to see the forms of the mountains in the horizon - to behold and commune with something grander than man. Their mere distance and unprofanedness is an infinite encouragement. it is with infinite yearning and aspiration that I seek solitude, more and more resolved and strong; but with a certain weakness that I seek society ever.