Friday, September 2, 2016

615: The New Project - SPINOZA

Welcome everyone. It is always a pleasure to see that I do not have to start a new project for empty chairs.

The present project is quite an interesting one, for it is about a philosopher, who for some reason is  still in the picture today.

To illustrate this…. at the end of the previous project I asked some friends, what could be a good subject for the next project.

And it was Beertje Beaumont, who suggested ….SPINOZA.

Spinoza? Why Spinoza? Yet it rang a bell, for I had a book of Antonio Damasio on my desk waiting to be read and its title contained the name “Spinoza”.

Spinoza, mentioned by two totally different sources. There had to be a reason. So I made Spinoza the primary subject of this new project.

I may be a philosopher by academic education in RL, I am not an expert in detail on Spinoza and his ideas. Yet, of course, I am quite familiar with his kind of philosophical ideas in general.

So my next step was to read Damasio’s book “Looking for Spinoza - Joy, Sorrow and the Feeling Brain” and to read all kinds of literature on Spinoza and his ideas.

And I can tell you,what I found was really amazing. A thinker of more than 350 years ago, whose philosophical point of view is still 100% topical today.

Moreover, to my astonishment, there even is Spinoza merchandise! Yes..! Let me show you a few items. Maybe there is something you’d like to purchase :-)

Who is this Spinoza? Why does Damasio say, that his neuroscientific thoughts relate to him. Why does Beertje mention his name? Why can you even buy a Spinoza cap?

I think, I found an explanation. 

Spinoza was born in 1632 and died in 1677. And during his only 45 years of life he had become a huge danger for the philosophical and especially theological establishment.

His ideas became even so threatening, that there has been a attempt to murder him. The only philosopher I know, who was killed by an assassin was Moritz Schlick (1882 - 1936)

The 17th century was an interesting period. There really was blooming something new: SCIENCE. And with science here I mean knowledge, freed from and independent of theological dogmas.

Science was freeing itself from religion. The Catholic Church had tried to block this development, for instance, by stifling Galileo Galilei ( 1564 - 1642 ), but this new development  showed to be unstoppable.

For us this is just history, but put yourself in Spinoza’s place. Look at the timetable behind me. For Spinoza this event must have been hot news. He must have heard about it.

And there was his own situation. He, Spinoza, member of the Jewish community of Amsterdam was eventually banned from it in the most horrible way, due to his philosophical ideas.

Spinoza lived in a world, in which scientific and philosophical ideas constantly were threatened by the dominating religious powers. So you had to be careful in what you say.

The Netherlands of those days was a remarkably tolerant country, so the history books tell us. Tolerant in so far what you said could get the approval of the theologians.

Yet to understand what kind of revolutionary steps were taken in the evolution of the mind, just put it in a wider perspective.

In the period 1600 to 1700 the picture looked like this. China and Japan were dominated by the dogmatism of Confucianism and Buddhism.

India was in the grip of Buddhism and hinduism, while the arabic world had come to a standstill due to the dogmatism of the Islam.

Africa was still in the dark and supplier of slaves. In South-America complete cultures were destroyed by conquistadores.

In North-America colonists from Europe were busy confiscating land, that was actually the habitat of the many indian tribes.

Only on one stop on earth, that is, in Europe, the human mind succeeded in freeing itself from the chains of religious dogmatism and learnt to look at the world in a scientific way.

From then on answers to questions were no longer based on beliefs, but on observations, facts and empirical research.

Of course this a somewhat simplified picture of a much more complex situation, but imagine yourself amidst such a revolution of the mind.

Spinoza lived in such a world and the revolution was carried out by just a handful of great minds in Europe. You almost literally could count them on your 10 fingers.

When you look at the timetable behind me, you can see that Spinoza must have known several of these great minds and indeed he had contact with them.

But why are people today still interested in Spinoza? And why were his ideas in his own lifetime enough to set whole packs of theologians to fire?

Let me quote here Dan Garrett, editor of “Cambridge Companion to Spinoza” (2001):

-QUOTE-  Although he was a naturalist - in the sense of holding that nothing exists outside of or beyond Nature - Spinoza was no simple atheist hiding impiety in conciliatory or ironic theistic terminology. 

Rather, by reconceiving Nature as active and self-causing, and at the same time reconceiving God as nonpurposive and extended, 

he was able to conceive of God as identical with, rather than as the transcendent creator of, Nature.-END QUOTE-

It is kind of Garrett , that he says that Spinoza was not a “simple” atheist, whatever that may be, but I take the liberty to claim, that Spinoza simply WAS a materialist and consequently an atheist.

Spinoza did the same as Descartes, that is, adding God to his metaphysics without any logical necessity. It was almost impossible in those days not to do so, if you wanted to live.

To openly be a materialist and consequently an atheist in our days is not as dangerous as in the days of Spinoza, but still it is hardly appreciated.

Just try to become, for instance, President of the United States and tell your voters, to begin with, that you are an atheist. Good luck!

In other words, it really is worth while to study the ideas of Spinoza, which to some extend are still as threatening to some people today as they were in his days.

So, I welcome you all to the new project and I hope, that we’ll have an interesting time ahead together.

Thank you….the floor is yours.. ^_^

The Discussion

[13:25] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): It sounds fascinating, Herman and your time table is a great reference
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:25] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): brings development in perspective
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): this can be good
[13:26] Abinoam Nørgaard (abinoam): great subject, i'm glad you're doing this... back when i studied spinoza, i found his ideas too complex, i felt i didn't begin to understand what he was about... lol
[13:26] CB Axel: An atheist in US politics has a snowball's chance in hell at succeeding, if there was a hell for the snowball to melt in.
[13:26] CB Axel: And I agree, the time line is very useful. °͜°
[13:27] herman Bergson: thank you....
[13:27] Abinoam Nørgaard (abinoam): it's quite difficult to understand his original texts, and interpretations... there are all kinds
[13:27] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): he wrote most of the text in Latin
[13:27] herman Bergson: That is an important point, Abinoam.....
[13:27] herman Bergson: I found a dutch Spinoza website.....
[13:28] herman Bergson: and on the forum there they were bickering about  whether Spinoza meant IN or INSIDE...or ON TOP OF IT with the latin word "in" in text this or that
[13:28] Abinoam Nørgaard (abinoam): yes lol exactly
[13:29] herman Bergson: Such discussions are nice but nonsense and unproductive to me
[13:29] herman Bergson: My point of view is ...
[13:29] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont):
[13:29] herman Bergson: when a philosopher doesn’t express his ideas in an understandable way, then it is just bullshit :-)
[13:30] herman Bergson: or literary poetry...
[13:30] Abinoam Nørgaard (abinoam): haha i agree!
[13:30] Chantal (nymf.hathaway):
[13:30] herman Bergson: Onthe other hand....
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:30] herman Bergson: a discussion on interpretation of a text may bring a lot of new ideas too
[13:30] herman Bergson: and that is good....
[13:30] Abinoam Nørgaard (abinoam) nods
[13:30] CB Axel: Or he is trying to be a little obscure so as not to get in trouble with the church or the authorities. Maybe?
[13:31] herman Bergson: That is another point CB.....
[13:31] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): good point CB
[13:31] herman Bergson: That is why I bluntly claimed that Spinoza is a materialist and thence an atheist....
[13:31] herman Bergson: I think he plainly was....
[13:31] CB Axel nods
[13:32] CB Axel: I got that impression, too, from the little I read about him this week.
[13:32] herman Bergson: but as I Descartes those days you HAD to give God a job in your metaphysics....
[13:32] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont):
[13:32] CB Axel: Poor, unemployed God. lol
[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:33] herman Bergson: Well Nietzsche  even buried him
[13:33] CB Axel: Neither of those links works for me. :-(
[13:33] Abinoam Nørgaard (abinoam): sadly, i must leave you now...
[13:34] CB Axel: Aw. Bye, Abinoam.
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): bye Abino
[13:34] herman Bergson: We'll be here next Tuesday again Abinoam
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yep
[13:34] Abinoam Nørgaard (abinoam): take care, everyone! i'll be there
[13:34] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): Waves
[13:34] Abinoam Nørgaard (abinoam) waves
[13:34] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): bye Abinoam
[13:34] herman Bergson: Bye :-)
[13:35] herman Bergson: So this isi Spinoza....
[13:35] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): You need a Spinoza painting from that time period, Herman
[13:36] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): wasn't he very young for a philosopher?
[13:36] herman Bergson: there are pllenty pictures of him
[13:36] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): I doubt rembrandt painted him but I see one suitable
[13:36] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): yes Beertje
[13:36] herman Bergson: He was a pretty arrogant youngster in his twenties Beertje and bloody smart too then :-)
[13:37] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): :))) awesome
[13:37] herman Bergson: But he developed into quite a nice person....later on..
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): He seems someone in my style for sure, Prioritoze science before religion
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): fact before hocus pocus
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): that is always a good thing
[13:37] herman Bergson: oh yes bejiita
[13:38] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): I appreciate the rebel in him
[13:38] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): they thought different about that in those days
[13:38] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): and in these days too
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:38] herman Bergson: But the picture I drew for you of the world between 1600 -1700 is still the same today in fact
[13:38] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes
[13:39] CB Axel: Unfortunately
[13:39] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): history repeats itself
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm indeed
[13:39] herman Bergson: the only difference is that all results of the scientific mind as developed in Europe are spread all over the world now ...all technology...
[13:39] herman Bergson: and so on...
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but still religion dominate in a dangerous way and it fachinate me that we in modern time still believe in this stuff
[13:40] herman Bergson: every bullit in the terrible war in Syria is the product of russian or European or american technology....
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): in middle east time even goes backwards it seems
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): awful
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): all due to religion
[13:40] CB Axel: Not to mention the US south.
[13:40] herman Bergson: yes...and that is where Spinoza comes in....
[13:41] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): he was a brave young man
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I saw a thing today making me really sad, some muslims had stabbed a girl only a few years old to death because her parents were Christian. Religion turn people into DEMONS!
[13:41] herman Bergson: He was a remarkable personality indeed Beertje...admirable
[13:42] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): :( Bejiita
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): science and fact should dominata all the world today I say, then we would not have these horrible wars
[13:42] herman Bergson: It is not religion Bejiita.....
[13:42] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): that makes me so sad Bejiita
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i guess its religion used in wrong way
[13:42] herman Bergson: It is lack of education, illiteracy...
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but still if we had not religion, could that still happen
[13:43] herman Bergson: Why do you not murder that child,Bejiita????
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): education is needed indeed
[13:43] CB Axel: That is religion being used to justify animalistic brutality.
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its easy for me to say this who knows how everything really is but still
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): everyone should have right to know this
[13:43] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): If not religion...nationalism would be an issue Bejiita humans are programmed to fear the unknown
[13:43] herman Bergson: But as I said...why do you not kill children Bejiita?
[13:43] CB Axel: Exactly, Chantal.
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I guess thats an issue to
[13:44] herman Bergson: Simply because you are educated in a certain way, have all kinds of knowledge
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): still I just wish all those horible things would never have happened and everything all peaceful
[13:45] herman Bergson: Let me remind you of something.....
[13:45] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): and we wish more men like you would walk this planet but heh reality... we need to deal with what we have... just one Bejiita with a great mindset :)
[13:45] herman Bergson: We all know of Darwin and evolution theory....
[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes
[13:46] herman Bergson: but what we are not inclined to think is that at this VERY moment evolution is STILL going on....
[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): that is true
[13:46] herman Bergson: Like the evolution of the mind.....
[13:46] CB Axel nods
[13:47] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): Hence we entered the anthropocene
[13:47] herman Bergson: where the rest of the world was kind of retarded homo sapiens in Europe developed new features of the mind.....developed science
[13:47] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes
[13:48] herman Bergson: and at this very moment it still is a survival of the fittest process...whatever politics you like
[13:48] CB Axel: And thus started the fight between God and the development of the human mind.
[13:48] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:48] herman Bergson: we are just a moment in the proces of evolution....
[13:49] herman Bergson: CB...that whole God business is complete nonsense to me.....a product of a seeking  mind only
[13:49] herman Bergson: we have to get past that to enter e new era of mankind
[13:49] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): Like Spinoza's generation... worked for years until they left the planet and centuries until today... we look back at it as if it was an easy change
[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): same here, I don’t believe in something I have not seen myself, with logical PROOF
[13:50] CB Axel: God was a good idea at the time. God explained a lot of things for people. But his time has come to move over for logic.
[13:50] herman Bergson: Indeed CB.....
[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): for ex i have never believed in Santa but still I have always thought its nice when he shows up on christmas eve even if I know its someone else in that dress
[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:50] herman Bergson: But tell that the uneducated....!
[13:51] herman Bergson: SO education is still everything  for obtaining a better future
[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats true if you don’t have info
[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed
[13:51] CB Axel: There's the problem here in the US. We don't teach our children to think.
[13:52] CB Axel: They are giving crap to memorise and regurgitate back. There is no critical thinking involved.
[13:52] CB Axel: *given
[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and now all in US believe in Trump lol
[13:52] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): I have heard someone from Italy saying the same about his country, CB :(
[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): at least way to many
[13:52] herman Bergson: Just watch American TV series and you know how Americans think :-))
[13:52] CB Axel: Not ALL in US!!!
[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:52] herman Bergson: or believe how is best to think :-)
[13:53] CB Axel: I don't watch TV. Except for The Big Bang Theory and some sports. °͜°
[13:53] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): except you CB:)
[13:53] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa loves big bang
[13:53] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats a fun show
[13:53] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:53] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): I know a few well thinking americans more, glad to say but CB is def one of them
[13:53] herman Bergson: Indeed CB...just a few minds can move a whole happend in 1600...
[13:53] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed
[13:53] CB Axel: Yes!
[13:53] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): agrees Herman
[13:53] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): most are good i believe too
[13:53] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:53] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): including my friends here
[13:54] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): SL gives you a good view on different cultures yes
[13:54] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): it's a scary thought that a few minds can move the world...
[13:54] CB Axel: Very true, Chantal.
[13:54] herman Bergson: I guess it is time to start sining the song "We shall overcome...." now ^_^
[13:54] CB Axel: LOL
[13:54] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): someone really need to take Trump and dig him deep below the city waste dump, thats for sure
[13:55] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): heheh
[13:55] herman Bergson: Stop discussion on Trump here....
[13:55] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): It is Beertje so if we start with people who sign up for elections need to do a psychology test first... we have the best chance of a positive outcome
[13:55] herman Bergson: Spinoza is our subject ^_^
[13:55] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): it will all be good in the end i think
[13:55] herman Bergson: But it has happened all the time Beertje...
[13:55] CB Axel: Yes, please stop, Bejiita. I need to eat soon, and you are ruining my appetite.
[13:56] herman Bergson: just think of Einstein....
[13:56] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I think if this Spinoza was here today he would be a great inspiration source for all of us
[13:56] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Like his style
[13:56] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): need to check him out a bit more
[13:57] herman Bergson: Well....I guess we covered it all today..almost saved the world and defined a new future ...:-)
[13:57] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): YAY! (yay!)
[13:57] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): YAY
[13:57] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and I still believe in this world
[13:57] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont):
[13:57] herman Bergson: So thank you all for your participation again...:-)
[13:57] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:57] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): HI5
[13:57] CB Axel: He might be able to reconcile science with religion today.
[13:57] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes
[13:57] CB Axel: Thank you, Herman.
[13:57] herman Bergson: Class dismissed...
[13:57] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:57] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu tusday
[13:57] CB Axel: And thank you, Beertje, for suggesting Spinoza.
[13:58] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): Great start Herman
[13:58] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): this will be interesting
[13:58] CB Axel: I think this is going to be fun. °͜°
[13:58] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): me too
[13:58] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): lol..I gave Herman a lot of work to do
[13:58] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:58] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehehe
[13:58] herman Bergson: Beertje did indeed......
[13:58] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): smiles warmly:)
[13:58] herman Bergson: gave her finally that spare time she longed for :-)
[13:59] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): hahahhaha
[13:59] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): lol
[13:59] CB Axel: And now to find something to eat before someone mentions Trump again. lol
[13:59] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehehe i won’t promise
[13:59] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): CB enjoy
[13:59] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:59] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): smakelijk CB:)
[13:59] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): have a nice meal
[13:59] herman Bergson: Run for it CB :-))!
[13:59] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:59] CB Axel: See you all Tuesday.
[13:59] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): im off to a steampunk party
[13:59] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): Waves
[13:59] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hugs everyone
[13:59] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:59] bergfrau Apfelbaum: it was very interesting! thank you herman, thank you class
[13:59] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): I will leave too, was great to see everyone again
[13:59] bergfrau Apfelbaum: ***** APPPPPPPLLLLAAAUUUSSSSEEEEEEE***********
[14:00] Chantal (nymf.hathaway):
[14:00] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): YAY! (yay!)
[14:00] herman Bergson: Wait for the soccerfield Bergie....if youhave time...
[14:00] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hugs

[14:00] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): have a goodnight:)

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