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CHAPTER XIII. THE JEW SPY WRITES
In the foregoing remarks we have already passed from the purely aesthetic to the historical or psychological view of Neo-Platonismthat is, the view which considers a philosophy in reference to the circumstances of its origin. Every speculative system reflects, more or less fully, the spirit of the age in which it was born; and the absence of all allusion to contemporary events does not prove that the system of Plotinus was an exception to this rule. It only proves that the tendency of the age was to carry away mens thoughts from practical to theoretical interests. We have already characterised the first centuries of Roman imperialism as a period of ever-increasing religious reaction; and in this reaction we attempted to distinguish between the development of supernaturalist beliefs which were native to Greece and Italy, and the importation of beliefs which had originated in the East. We saw also how philosophy shared in the general tendency, how it became theological and spiritualistic instead of ethical and naturalistic, how its professors were converted from opponents into upholders of the popular belief. Now, according to some critics, Neo-Platonism marks another stage in the gradual substitution of faith for reason, of authority for independent thought; the only question being whether we should interpret it as a product of Oriental mysticism, or as a simple sequence of the same movement which had previously led from Cicero to Seneca, from Seneca to Epicttus, from Epicttus to Marcus Aurelius.
"I can't go over," persisted Groundhog. "I ain't no fool. I know better what kin be done with an army wagon and six mules than any Injianny galoot that ever wore stripes or shoulder-straps. You simply can't git a wagon acrost that branch, and I ain't goin' to try."