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WE have said that the one sorrow of the mind is the sorrow of not knowing or not understanding, which contains the sorrow of powerlessness; for he who knows the supreme causes, being no longer paralyzed by matter, becomes one with them and acts with them; and he who understands ends by approving, or else the universe would be a mistake, which is not possible. I do not believe that another sorrow of the sheer mind can be imagined. The only one which, before reflection, might seem admissible and which, in any case, could be but ephemeral would arise from the sight of the pain and misery that remain on the earth which we have left. But this sorrow, after all, would be but one side and an insignificant phase of the sorrow of powerlessness and of not understanding. As for the latter, though it is not only beyond the domain of our intelligence, but even at an insuperable distance from our imagination, we may say that it would be intolerable only if it were without hope. But, in order to be without hope, the universe would have to abandon any attempt to understand itself, or admit within itself an object that remained for ever foreign to it. Either the mind will not perceive its limits and, consequently, will not suffer from them, or else it will overstep them as it perceives them; for how could the universe have parts eternally condemned to form no part of itself and of its knowledge? Hence we cannot understand that the torture of not understanding, supposing it to exist for a moment, should not end by mingling with the state of infinity, which, if it be not happiness as we comprehend it, could be naught but an indifference higher and purer than joy.

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