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Baruch Spinoza on Apple Books

Practical Philosophytrans. Robert Hurley,pp They are not moral ends geometricoo his case, or religious means to another life, but rather the “effects” of philosophy itself. This garuch what Spinoza calls Nature: Here the full meaning of the philosopher’s solitude becomes apparent.

In every society, Spinoza will show, it is a matter of obeying and of nothing else. As long as thought is free, hence vital, nothing is compromised. Baruch Spinoza is born in in the Jewish quarter of Amsterdam, into a family of well-to-do merchants of Spanish or Portuguese extraction. At the Jewish school he studies theology and commerce. How does the slow philosophical conversion come about that causes him to break with the Jewish community, with business, and brings him to ehica excommunication of ?

Even those sincerely attached to their Jewish faith are imbued with a philosophical, scientific, and medical culture that cannot easily be reconciled with the traditional rabbinical Judaism. The rabbis, as in many other cases, seem to have hoped for an demostrava. Life becomes difficult for him in Amsterdam. Perhaps following an assassination attempt by a fanatic, he goes to Leyden in order to continue his philosophical studies, and installs himself in the suburb of Rijnsburg.

It is said that Spinoza kept his coat with a hole pierced by a knife thrust as a reminder that thought is not always loved by men. While it sometimes happens that a philosopher ends up on trial, rarely does a philosopher begin with an excommunication and an attempt on his life. He would encounter them again at Rijnsburg, which was one of their centers: However, it seems that Van den Ende remained attached dl a form of Demowtrada, despite the difficulties of that religion in Holland.


Instead of thinking of an influence by the Mennonites or even the Cartesians, one can think that Spinoza was naturally drawn to the most tolerant circles, those most apt to welcome an excommunicated Jew who rejected Christianity no less than the Judaism into which he was born, and owed his break with the latter to himself alone.

Among its many meanings, Jewish excommunication had a meaning that was political and economic. The Jewish notables, like those of the Calvinist party, had kept intact a hatred of Spain and Portugal, were politically attached to the House of Orange, and had interests in the India companies Rabbi Manasseh ben Israel, one of Spinoza’s professors, himself came close to being excommunicated in for criticizing the East India Company; and the members of the council that judged Spinoza were Orangist, pro-Calvinist, anti-Hispanic, and for the most part, shareholders in the Company.


Spinoza’s ties with the liberals, his sympathies for the republican party of Jan de Witt, which called for the dissolution of the great monopolies—all this made Spinoza a rebel. At Rijnsburg, Spinoza gives his friends an exposition, in Latin, of the work that will become the Short Treatise. They take notes; Jelles translates into Dutch; perhaps Spinoza dictates certain texts that he has written previously.

In abouthe composes the Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellectwhich opens with a kind of spiritual itinerary, in the Mennonite manner, centered on a denunciation of wealth. This treatise, a splendid exposition of Spinoza’s method, will remain unfinished. Rieuwertz publishes the book; Jelles finances it; Balling will translate it into Dutch. Few thinkers avoid the brief temptation to become professors of their own discoveries, the seminar temptation of a private spiritual training.

Perhaps it is for this reason that Spinoza leaves the Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect unfinished, and despite his later intentions does not manage to resume it. InSpinoza moves to Voorsburg, a suburb of The Hague. He will later establish himself in the capital. He continues to work on the Ethics. But at the same time that he confides in a group of friends, he asks them to keep his ideas secret, to be careful of strangers, as he himself will be, even with respect to Leibniz in The reason for his settling near The Hague is probably political: As to the two major parties, Calvinist and republican, the situation is as follows: Now, the mystery seems to be this: Why are the people so deeply irrational?

Why are they proud of their own enslavement? Why do they fight “for” their bondage as if it were their freedom? Why is it so difficult not only to win but to bear freedom? Why does a religion that invokes love and joy inspire war, intolerance, hatred, malevolence, and remorse?

In the Theological-Political Treatise appears, without an author’s name and credited to a fictitious German publisher. An explosive book always keeps its explosive charge: Even when dealing with religion, Spinoza polishes glasses that reveal the effect produced and the laws of its production.

But Spinoza has to leave the suburb, where his life is made difficult by the pastors, and take up residence in The Hague. And, above all, this is at the cost of silence.

The Netherlands are at war. But he is more and more alone and ill. The only milieu in which he might have lived in peace fails him. What are the chances for a commercial aristocracy? Is it possible to change the multitude into a collectivity of free men instead of a gathering of slaves? By the end of the year, the Opera posthuma are published at the expense of an anonymous donor.


His biographer Colerus reports that he was fond of spider fights: They do not carry it within, although they necessarily bring it to each other: But they have not yet invented that internal death, the universal sadomasochism of the tyrant-slave. In the reproach that Hegel will make to Spinoza, that he ignored the negative and its power, lies the glory and innocence of Spinoza, his own discovery. Enough confidence in life to denounce all the phantoms of the negative. Excommunication, war, tyranny, reaction, men who fight for their enslavement as if it were their freedom—this forms the world in which Spinoza lives.

The assassination of the De Witt brothers is exemplary for him.

In his view, all the ways of humiliating and breaking life, all the forms of the negative have two sources, one turned outward and the other inward, resentment and bad conscience, hatred and guilt.

Spinoza feels, experiences, that he is eternal.

In Spinoza’s thought, life is not an idea, a matter of theory. And it is only from this perspective that the geometric method is fully comprehensible. It becomes a method of vital and optical rectification. This optical geometry traverses the entire Ethics. People have asked whether the Ethics should be read in terms of thought or in terms of power for example, are the attributes powers or concepts? Actually, there is only one term, Life, that encompasses thought, but conversely this term is encompassed only by thought.

Not that life is in thinking, but only the thinker has eticaa potent life, free of guilt and hatred; and only life explains the thinker.

For Spinoza sefun one of the vivants-voyants. Spinoza did not believe in hope or even in courage; he believed only in joy, and in vision.

He let others live, provided that others let him live. He wanted only to inspire, to waken, to reveal. It’ s all a grand preparation for something that never comes off. Someday the lens is going to be perfect and then dl all going to see clearly, garuch what a staggering, wonderful, beautiful world it is.

Spinoza published the following two books: Practical Philosophy, p The selection which follows is based on OBO.

On the Spinozan conception of teaching, cf.

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