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verdure and dark forms

January 31, 2010

Our intellect’s ability to comprehend is finite in all respects, it never extends to infinite things; our intellect’s ability to clearly apprehend is equally finite: there are many things that, in regards to their actual substance, we do not clearly apprehend. Instead of being infinite it is only the confused, obscured apprehension of our intellect. Again it must be stressed that what we thus apprehend confusedly and obscurely, anything of the kind that we represent, is not truly or rigorously represented. In regard to a painting which represents a forest, it represents in some manner trees, more indistinctly leaves, and more indistinctly still the veins in the leaves: but what is in this manner indistinctly represented is not truly represented. Another important point is that the obscurity of our knowledge is not inherent to this knowledge itself; it is only an external denomination which is added to it through its relation to our will. All knowledge is basically clear, if we leave it to itself and consider it such as it is, in its pure nudity. We can again try to explain this by our example of the painting that we just said represents a forest, properly speaking, the leaves and branches which we declared obscure and confused, were only so to the extent that we refer to determined objects; but when we refer only to what our painting claims to realize and represent, in this case a certain mixture of verdure and dark forms, nothing is clearer, for the painting represents nothing other than that.

Arnold Geulincx
Ann. in Principia, Remark on article 35,
L. III, pp. 391-392

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 1, 2010 6:22 am

    what a coincidence, since i just found this the other day and linked in the comment to another Van Gogh post of yours 🙂

    http://lotusgreenfotos.blogspot.com/2010/01/real-van-gogh.html#comments

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