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XVII
THE SAME, CONTINUED

THIS question is closely allied to our modified consciousness. There is for the moment no hope of solving it; but we are free to grope in its darkness, which is not perhaps equally dense at all points.

Here begins the open sea. Here begins the glorious adventure, the only one abreast with human curiosity, the only one that soars as high as its highest longing. Let us accustom ourselves to regard death as a form of life which we do not yet understand; let us learn to look upon it with the same eye that looks upon birth; and soon our mind will be accompanied to the steps of the tomb with the same glad expectation that greets a birth. If, before being born, we were permitted to choose between the great peace of non-existence and a life that should not be completed by the magnificent hour of death, which of us, knowing what we ought to know, would accept the disquieting problem of an existence that would not end in the reassuring mystery of its conclusion? Which of us would care to come into a world where there is so little to learn, if he did not know that he must enter it if he would leave it and learn more? The best part of life is that it prepares this hour for us, that it is the one and only road leading to the magic gateway and into that incomparable mystery where misfortunes and sufferings will no longer be possible, because we shall have lost the body that produced them; where the worst that can befall us is the dreamless sleep which we count among the number of the greatest boons on earth; where, lastly, it is almost unimaginable that a thought can survive to mingle with the substance of the universe, that is to say, with infinity, which, if it be not a waste of indifference, can be nothing but a sea of joy.

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