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The change from the time-order to the intellectual order, therefore, is not a change to neutrality, but a change from a serial order of mutually exclusive elements, to an order of inclu­ sion; from an order of logical neutrality and irrelevance, to one of logical implication, and therefore, real productivity;1 from reality the full conclusion can only be known as following from the premisses. But it does not follow that the premisses are therefore temporally prior to the conclusion. T hus for the mind which in any degree genuinely knows, premisses and conclusion stand in no temporal relation to each other; or, if we conceive the knowledge as enjoyed at a period in the history of the knower (as we well may) we must say that the premisses and conclusion are simultaneous.

T h e same interpretation is applied in L ’Evolution Creatrice to the ‘philosophy of Ideas’ : ‘Pass£, present, avenir se r&ractent en un moment unique, qui est F6ternit6’ (p. 346), whence the criticism ricochets to Leibniz, and (less clearly here) to Spinoza, who are said to m ove towards the conclusions of ancient philosophy (p. 382). 2 ‘ T alis enim est natura durationis, ut semper major, et minor data possit concipi,’ (Cog. Met. ) T IM E , D U R A T IO N , A N D E T E R N IT Y 15 is not precisely that which takes eternity as synonymous with necessity, but one which, realizing that necessity is at most the logical proprium of an eternal existence, and not its metaphysical essence, attempts to construe the existence which is eternal as equivalent to, or framed on the analogy of, the being which belongs to necessary truths such as the propositions of Euclid, or established scientific principles.

4 Spinoza’s own theory of Reason (the second kind of knowledge) is based upon a new kind of abstraction in which universal principles are embodied in universal singulars, and truths of reason are no longer mere ‘relations of ideas’, but also and essentially relations of existences, infinite and eternal. Truth is never a mere relation of ideas thought of as pictures or images in the mind, for an idea is the essentia objectiva of a thing, and to have an idea is to know a thing, so that to have a true idea is to apprehend reality.

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Aeternitas: A Spinozistic study by H. F. Hallett


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