Thursday, October 27, 2016

630: Spinoza on Emotions explained in more detail

In my enthusiasm about the text of the introduction to his third chapter of the Ethica “On the Origin and Nature of the Emotions”
I expose the attending people at my previous lecture to the original words of Spinoza  himself by reading them the introduction.
That was too much, especially for not native english speakers. Nevertheless the text was a perfect example of the way Spinoza thinks and write.
So, today I’ll go into more detail with respect to this text and explain to you by means of a few crucial sentences, what Spinoza says.
Before you try to read Spinoza, you first have to know what his basic starting points are.
The first is that he is against the belief in a personal god, in other words against Judaism and Christianity.
The second is, that Spinoza is a materialist: there only is ONE substance. This substance isn’t chaos, but controlled by laws of nature.
Because laws of nature are defined by describing causal relations, everything is caused. We are modes of this one substance and thence subject to the laws of nature too.

Consequently his third starting point is that everything is determined by causal relations, also our actions. That means, there is no free will.

Further we can ask the question:Why is Spinoza writing all this? I see two reasons; his main reason is help people to find the way to a good life or to live good.
This immediately reveals in view of his starting points AGAINST WHO he is writing: the rabbis and christian theologians.
When you keep this in mind reading Spinoza a lot may become easier  to understand, almost obvious.
Let’s put this to the test….. The first sentence of the introduction on “On the Origin and Nature of the Emotions”:
“Most writers on the emotions and on human conduct seem to be treating rather of matters outside nature than of natural phenomena following nature's general laws.”
The whole philosophical program of Spinoza on emotions in one opening statement…..Let’s try to grasp this..
First question: who are those “writers”. Among others definitely those rabbis and theologians.
Why do they treat emotions a “matters outside nature”? That is because they have split up man in a good part and a bad part
and that bad part is his sinful drives, the part that is not created by god but, for instance, by himself by stealing that apple or by a devil.
Against this Spinoza puts the claim that emotions are natural phenomena following nature's general laws.”
 After some remarks on Descartes Spinoza says:
“For the present I wish to revert to those, who would rather abuse or deride human emotions than understand them. 
Such persons will, doubtless think it strange that I should attempt to treat of human vice and folly geometrically,………”

Here he returns to those “writers” and tells us that they do not understand his treating emotions “geometrically”.

The first thing that has to come to mind here is that in Spinoza’s time a revolution was taking place in science: 
physics had adopted mathematics as THE language to describe nature.
Mathematics is a collection of axioms, theorems, propositions, calculations and so on, following the basic rules of logic: a nice rational whole.
When you can apply the mathematical method of geometry to emotions, it only can mean that they are following natural laws too, like other material processes.
And then Spinoza makes his point:……

“However, such is my plan. Nothing comes to pass in nature, which can be set down to a flaw therein;”
In other words….away with all that nonsense of rabbis and theologians…and he goes on:…
“for nature is always the same, and everywhere one and the same in her efficacy and power of action; “
And in order to rub it those “writers” in even more he says:…

“Thus the passions of hatred, anger, envy, and so on, considered in themselves, follow from this same necessity and efficacy of nature; “
In other words passions and emotions can be explained in the same scientific way as all other phenomena in nature, 
because they are part of nature and not some flaw or something outside nature.
I hope this give you a better insight in what Spinoza actually means…. Thank you ^_^

The Discussion

[13:23] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): hah
[13:23] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): all is nature
[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): totally agree with that
[13:23] herman Bergson: yes
[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): EVERYTHING can be expressed using mathemaics, a froof of this is how a computer can simulate any physical or chemical law and computers are 100% mathematical at the core, thats why they are called computers because they calculate
[13:24] Loo Zeta-Ah (loo.zeta) handing over computer to son.......
[13:25] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): does he expect that believing that it  will cause people to not use the passions and emotions then?
[13:25] herman Bergson: No no...
[13:25] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:25] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:25] herman Bergson: What he plans to do is to explain passions and emotions
[13:26] Ciska Riverstone: (thank you herman I need to leave for today - have a great day or night everyone )
[13:26] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): well i will wait to see the explanations of them and see what he says to avoiding them
[13:26] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): goodnight Ciska
[13:26] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): welterusten
[13:26] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): gone
[13:27] Loo Zeta-Ah (loo.zeta): No, I think it is more about allowing causes =, such as emotions to be followed by what Spinoza would label as 'rational'. hatred leds to hatred, love to love, it makes sense to follow those emotions. you can not escape the one substance as much as it is you, so it is a redundant effort to escape emotions
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): love pasion and sex are for ex not sins but basic human needs
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): all natural, while the religious people tries to deprive us from what makes us feel good and happy
[13:27] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): I mean "misuse of them
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): by calling it sins
[13:28] Loo Zeta-Ah (loo.zeta): More complex than that. I think spinoza did rather well without having much of a social life XD
[13:28] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): true
[13:28] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): he had a social life
[13:28] herman Bergson: The idea that Spinoza did not have much of a social life is questionable...
[13:29] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) whispers: did he keep it separate from his philosophy?
[13:29] herman Bergson: He had no women in his life....true
[13:29] herman Bergson: But he has a loyal group of friends
[13:29] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): did anyone ever question if he was homosexual?
[13:30] herman Bergson: one of whom even died in jail due to  holding Spinozist ideas
[13:30] Loo Zeta-Ah (loo.zeta): Very true. I think he liked to keep intimate social circles, having  in deep conversations, but I never took him for much of a party goer.
[13:30] herman Bergson: ^_^
[13:30] herman Bergson: No indeed
[13:30] CB Axel: Introverts don't need to go to parties to socialize.
[13:30] herman Bergson: But I guess that is because he was rather attracted to stoicism...
[13:30] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): true CB
[13:31] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ok
[13:31] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): it has been mentioned so many times about his friends all being male
[13:31] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): could not help asking
[13:31] herman Bergson: And he was a man of controlled emotions....
[13:31] herman Bergson: except when the bother de Witt were murdered by the people....
[13:32] herman Bergson: His friend saved in fact his life on that occasion
[13:32] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): how?
[13:33] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): did he see the brothers murdered?
[13:33] herman Bergson: Spinoza had written a pamflet which he wannted to post outside....
[13:33] herman Bergson: Some title as "Extreme barbarians of barbarism....."
[13:34] herman Bergson: If he had done that they definitely would have attacked him too...his friend kept him indoors
[13:34] Loo Zeta-Ah (loo.zeta): Apparently he tried to date someone but she went for someone else when he was young. He also had a lot to fear about his beliefs and how people would take them. in that sense I think he was driven into appreciating solitude.
[13:34] Loo Zeta-Ah (loo.zeta): But it's an entire life we're talking about, they are hard to sum up.
[13:34] CB Axel: I can relate to that.
[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ahha on the dating
[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): that happens
[13:35] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): in fact he was hiding in Den Haag, a larger city then is own village
[13:35] herman Bergson: Probably Beertje....safer there
[13:36] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): hide in plain sight
[13:36] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i think he wasn’t really safe anywhere
[13:36] Loo Zeta-Ah (loo.zeta) is back son gone
[13:36] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): lol\
[13:36] herman Bergson: At least he died a natural death...
[13:36] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): glass dust?
[13:36] herman Bergson: yes
[13:36] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): well that is awful too
[13:36] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): poor man
[13:36] Loo Zeta-Ah (loo.zeta) knows very little about Spinoza apart from he fills some of my bookshelves
[13:37] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): open the books loo
[13:37] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): :-)
[13:37] Loo Zeta-Ah (loo.zeta): mmmm goto too many of them
[13:37] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): tell us what the books say Loo
[13:37] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:37] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:37] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): pick a skinny one
[13:37] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): smiles
[13:37] Loo Zeta-Ah (loo.zeta): I will
[13:38] herman Bergson: One of the reasons we discuss Spinoza here is that the neuroscientist Antonio Damasio feels close related to Spinoza's ideas on feelings and emotions
[13:38] Loo Zeta-Ah (loo.zeta): I know more about whom he influenced like marx and others
[13:38] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i want to hear how his nature is all and all is of nature is different from pantheism
[13:38] herman Bergson: He influenced John Locke and thence the Declaration of independence of the USA
[13:39] herman Bergson: And the Constitution
[13:39] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): that is interesting to know
[13:39] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): although i wish it were clearer that we are not a Christian nation
[13:39] herman Bergson: Locke knew Spinoza's ideas very  well....he had read his works
[13:40] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): Not founded as such
[13:40] herman Bergson: The US is not founded as a christian nation, as far as I know...on the contrary
[13:40] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): exactly
[13:40] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): but many try to say it IS
[13:40] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): here i mean
[13:41] Loo Zeta-Ah (loo.zeta) nods
[13:41] CB Axel: Many have tried to mold it into a Christian nation.
[13:41] herman Bergson: That nay be caused by the many religious groups that fled from Europe to the New world....
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm
[13:41] herman Bergson: and dominated general politics
[13:41] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): Large segment of citizens claim the founding fathers were alllllllll very good Christians
[13:42] herman Bergson: History shows different , I guess
[13:42] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes it does
[13:42] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i don’t think they read history
[13:43] herman Bergson: But to get back to the issue today....
[13:43] CB Axel: Most references to God in our mottos, songs, and pledges weren't in there until the cold war.
[13:43] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): correct
[13:43] herman Bergson: Did my lecture made it more  clear, what SPinoza says than last time? :-)
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thinks so
[13:43] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i understand what he is saying but want to see how he is going to apply it
[13:44] herman Bergson: An dcould your son approve the content Loo? :-)
[13:44] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): he must have put hours and days and months into his papers
[13:44] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): son that is
[13:44] Loo Zeta-Ah (loo.zeta): I think so he is going on about how he influenced democracy in the background
[13:44] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ah there
[13:44] herman Bergson: Very true, Loo
[13:44] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): too bad he left
[13:45] CB Axel: As I see it, Spinoza was saying what I've been saying here. That everything that happens is because of what happened before all the way back to the beginning of time.
[13:45] Loo Zeta-Ah (loo.zeta): He is a Master of philosophy his 2nd dissertation was on democracy
[13:45] herman Bergson: He is sometimes even considered the inventor of our system of democracy
[13:45] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ah
[13:45] CB Axel: We have no free will, because nature has determined what we do.
[13:45] herman Bergson: with his pleading for the separation of Religion and State
[13:45] Loo Zeta-Ah (loo.zeta): No we can influence power and control
[13:45] herman Bergson: and freedom of speech
[13:46] Loo Zeta-Ah (loo.zeta): He was chucked out of his religion
[13:46] Loo Zeta-Ah (loo.zeta): being a Jew
[13:46] Loo Zeta-Ah (loo.zeta): so I guess it would be painful to have your inheritance stripped
[13:46] herman Bergson: Yes, Loo because I used his freedom of speech...
[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i guess you can say this about my cold at the moment, its because every time this time of the year when it gets colder its like bacteria spread more easily and everyone around me gets sick so its unavoidable to not get it
[13:47] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ohoh
[13:47] herman Bergson: That was not allowed in those days despite of this socalled tolerance in The Netherlands
[13:47] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): tolerance is relative
[13:47] Loo Zeta-Ah (loo.zeta) works in a hospital fat chance of staying healthy
[13:47] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): sleep bej
[13:48] herman Bergson: Yes tolerance is relative...but to which rules Gemma?
[13:48] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): the rules of the time
[13:48] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): adn culture
[13:48] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): it seems
[13:49] Loo Zeta-Ah (loo.zeta): On that note me to..... if you want Nath can join us again and I can be possessed by a philosopher?
[13:49] herman Bergson: That is a ratther relativist point of view...:-)
[13:49] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i will sleep soon indeed, getting back in the shower again a while before though first to warm up a bit. Im freezing at miment
[13:49] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): moment
[13:49] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): go to bed
[13:49] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and the heat is not turned on yet
[13:49] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): and remember Europe changes time this weekend???
[13:49] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): and we do not?
[13:49] herman Bergson: He is always welcome Loo :-)
[13:49] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa yes its that time soon again
[13:50] CB Axel: That's right, Gemma.
[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): anyway good lecture once again
[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:50] herman Bergson: Oh my......two weeks of chaos ahead!
[13:50] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): so class will be one hour earlier i believe
[13:50] CB Axel: One week of unnecessary confusion thanks to the time change.
[13:50] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): two weeks?
[13:50] CB Axel: Only one.
[13:50] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): one i think
[13:50] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): es
[13:50] Loo Zeta-Ah (loo.zeta): OK I will bring him, he says it is over a year since he studied Spinoza
[13:50] herman Bergson: only one....\o/
[13:50] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): might be good to have a fall break
[13:51] herman Bergson: Good idea......exactly that week....
[13:51] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i think so
[13:51] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): it never fails
[13:51] Loo Zeta-Ah (loo.zeta): Goodnight all
[13:51] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): bye
[13:51] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): only 22 or so show
[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): night all
[13:52] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): oh did herman dismiss?
[13:52] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:52] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:52] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): beterschap Bejiita
[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:52] herman Bergson smiles
[13:52] herman Bergson: I did not !
[13:52] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i thought   not
[13:52] herman Bergson: ^_^
[13:52] herman Bergson: Class dismissed...:-)))

[13:52] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥