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XIX
A NEW EGO CAN FIND A NUCLEUS AND DEVELOP ITSELF IN INFINITY

ON the other hand  –  for we must be honest, probe the conflicting darkness which we believe nearest to the truth and show no bias  –  on the other hand, we can grant to those who are wedded to the thought of remaining as they are that the survival of a mere particle of themselves would suffice to renew them again in the heart of an infinity wherefrom their body no longer separates them. If it seems impossible that anything  –  a movement, a vibration, a radiation  –  should stop or disappear, why then should thought be lost? There will, no doubt, subsist more than one idea powerful enough to allure the new ego, which will nourish itself and thrive on all that it will find in that new and endless environment, just as the other ego, on this earth, nourishcci itself and throve on all that it met there. Since we have been able to acquire our present consciousness, why should it be impossible for us to acquire another? For that ego which is so dear to us and which we believe ourselves to possess was not made in a day; it is not at present what it was at the hour of our birth. Much more chance than purpose has entered into it; and much more foreign substance than any inborn substance which it contained. It is but a long series of acquisitions and transformations, of which we do not become aware until the awakening of our memory; and its nucleus, of which we do not know the nature, is perhaps more immaterial and less concrete than a thought. If the new environment which we enter on leaving our mother's womb transforms us to such a point that there is, so to speak, no connexion between the embryo that we were and the man that we have become, is it not right to think that the much newer, more unknown, wider and more fertile environment which we enter on quitting life will transform us even more? One can see in what happens to us here a figure of that which awaits us elsewhere and readily admit that our spiritual being, liberated from its body, if it does not mingle at the first onset with the infinite, will develop itself there gradually, will choose itself a substance and, no longer trammelled by space and time, will grow without end. It is very possible that our loftiest wishes of to-day will become the law of our future development. It is very possible that our best thoughts will welcome us on the other bank and that the quality of our intellect will determine that of the infinite that crystallizes around it. Every hypothesis is permissible and every question, provided it be addressed to happiness; for unhappiness is no longer able to answer us. It finds no place in the human imagination that explores the future methodically. And, whatever be the force that survives us and presides over our existence in the other world, this existence, to presume the worst, could be no less great, no less happy than that of to-day. It will have no other career than infinity; and infinity is nothing if it be not felicity. In any case, it seems fairly certain that we spend in this world the only narrow, grudging, obscure and sorrowful moment of our destiny.

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