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International Studies in Philosophy Monograph Series


The World as Aesthetic Phenomenon

Stephen David Ross
Pages 55-106

Body Images

Now let us imagine, if you please, a tiny worm living in the blood, . . . . The worm would be living in the blood as we are living in our part of the universe, and it would regard each individual particle as a whole, not a part, and it would have no idea as to how all the parts are controlled by the overall nature of the blood and compelled to mutual adaptation as the overall nature of the blood requires, so as to agree with one another in a definite relation. . . . Now all the bodies of Nature can and should be conceived in the same way as we have here conceived the blood; . . . . Now since the nature of the universe, unlike the nature of the blood, is not limited, but is absolutely infinite, its parts are modified by the nature of this infinite in infinite ways and are compelled to undergo infinite variations. (Spinoza, ESL, Letter 32, 245–6)