Thursday, September 22, 2016

620: Spinoza's motives....

As I told you in the previous lecture, Spinoza did not follow the traditional pathways of the philosophy of his time.
For some reason his philosophical activities weren’t so much a profession, but much more the expression of his way of life.
It makes me think of my personal history. When I was a student of philosophy, I sometimes wonder why I chose to specialise in Analytical philosophy
and for instance not in German or French philosophy. Hadn’t I been reading Nietzsche, Schopenhauer and Sartre with great interest during my high school period?

I even gave a presentation on Kant and German Idealism telling my classmates about Fichte, Schelling and Hegel.

Eventually I came to the conclusion then, that my choice was determined by personality factors. The way Carnap, The Wiener Kreis, Russell looked at the world,
that was what fitted me as a person. And I can tell you, it was not done at the faculty to interpret your personal philosophical choices as psychologically motivated.
But I am convinced, that we live in two worlds: on the one hand there is the world as defined by science.
On the other hand within that context there is your personal worldview expressed in your personal metaphysics.
For Spinoza it can’t have been otherwise. Just imagine how it went. At a young age this highly intelligent boy is confronted with the traditional Jewish education at home and in school.
It is said, that he soon he realized that the Talmud and Torah reveals so much the human spirit ,
that the Holy Scripture of the Jews impossible could be the work of God. He called them inventions of the human imagination.
You can imagine, that this must have made the rabbis of his community rabidly, especially when you respond to that with a bit of arrogance.
Spinoza, about 20 then, had a friend: Juan de Prado. This fellow is well documented in the old archives too and why?

Because he was the same pain in the ass as Spinoza. He derided, according to witnesses, sometimes Jews on their way to the synagogue and  openly demonstrated disrespect for the rabbis.
We have no clue, that tells us whether Spinoza, in his behaviour and deeds, went as far as his friend in overt expressions of contempt for his religion and his church.
Both, Spinoza and Prado , however were banned in 1656 and where Prado’s ban was formulated in rather mild words,
the ban of Spinoza was expressed in terms so incredibly harsh, that the gathered crowd in the synagoge must have shivered and been perplexed.
After his ban Spinoza stayed in Amsterdam, but his behaviour and ideas must have created so much animosity, that in 1657 someone tried to stab him with a poniard.
The attack failed fortunately, but Spinoza thought it wise to leave Amsterdam. There is little known about the period 1657 - 1661.
What is know is, that he wrote “Tractatus de intellectus emendatione” in 1660, a treatise on the improvement of the intellect.
In the treatise Spinoza explains a methodology, which must realize the consciousness of the unity of the soul with the whole of Nature 
by distinguishing clear and distinct ideas from unclear and ambiguous representations and connect them properly with each other.  
Away from, maybe freed from the Jewish community in Amsterdam he expresses in the Tractatus an important starting point of his new life:
I had recognized that the acquisition of wealth, sensual pleasure, or fame, is only a hindrance, so long as they are sought as ends not as means…”
In 1661 Spinoza moved further from Amsterdam and settled in Rijnsburg, less than 20 km from where I live now.
When the weather stays good, I’ll jump on my bike this week and will visit the famous Spinoza House there, which is a small museum.
Thank you…feel free to ask questions or add your thoughts to our discussion… ^_^

Main Sources:
MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995
Dan Garrett, (ed.), “Cambridge Companion to Spinoza” (2001)

The Discussion

[13:30] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): Thank you, Herman
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:30] Joseph Bard (science24): thank you :)
[13:30] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): could anyone read the Traktaat? for it was written in Latin ?
[13:30] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): Slowly we travel in his footsteps with you
[13:30] CB Axel wonders if there is any religion that encourages or even allows free thinking
[13:31] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): so he recognized the idea of soul
[13:31] Joseph Bard (science24): Good question CB
[13:31] herman Bergson: Nice remark CB, for that is an impossibility
[13:32] herman Bergson: And of course not everyone could read latin....
[13:32] Ondre Baxton: Well... Me thinks I should remain stupid and silent than to speak and remove all doubt.
[13:32] herman Bergson: but those in power in any way could
[13:32] herman Bergson: Why that Ondre?
[13:33] Ondre Baxton: Way over my head...
[13:33] herman Bergson: I dont see anything over your head Ondre?
[13:33] herman Bergson: Yes a name tag :-)
[13:33] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): you can go back and read the prior lectures on spinoza in the blog
[13:34] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ot help see how we got to this lecture
[13:34] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): Great tip Gemma
[13:34] herman Bergson: Gemma...the soul is a serious issue with Spinoza....!
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Spinoza is an interesting figure that is for sure
[13:34] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes i saw that
[13:34] Ondre Baxton: Or, much deeper, than I expected...:)
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I hope you find even more inspiration at that museeum
[13:34] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): that should be interesting yes
[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): maybe add some tidbits of his life
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:35] herman Bergson: I'll try to take some pictures there :-)
[13:35] herman Bergson: There is a bookcase containing the boks Spinoza possed
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:36] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): Looking at Spinoza's story so far... not much changed over the centuries
[13:37] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): true Chantal
[13:37] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): the places... the religions may have but not the fact it happens
[13:37] herman Bergson: well at least we know that wealth , fame or sensual pleasures can not be the goal in life according to Spinoza
[13:37] K.T. Burnett (kayt): I'll need them past lectures too - cannot quite connect the idea of the soul with the fact that Spinoza claimed that humans are awesome enough on their own to write, er, was it Torah?
[13:37] Chantal (nymf.hathaway):
[13:38] herman Bergson: Thora is the Jewish law, written in sacred books
[13:38] Stranger Nightfire: well there are the contemporary Unitarians
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): analogous to the quoran or bible I guess
[13:38] herman Bergson: yes Bejiita...
[13:39] Stranger Nightfire: and some Buddhists are pretty free from dogma
[13:39] herman Bergson: But in Spinoza's day as bad as the Quran....tons or rules of behaviour
[13:39] CB Axel: Buddhism technically isn't a religion.
[13:39] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): still among the orthodox
[13:39] herman Bergson: funny you say "some Buddhists are pretty free from dogma" Strnager
[13:40] herman Bergson: As CB says...Buddhism isnt a where come the dogmas from?
[13:42] Stranger Nightfire: well some Branches of Buddhism have incorporated the usual trappings off religion, even a pantheon of gods
[13:42] herman Bergson: ...and the audience was speachless....^_^
[13:42] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): is true
[13:42] herman Bergson: Yes I know Stranger...quite amazing actually and so contrary to buddhism
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed
[13:43] herman Bergson: Maybe Spinoza could have appreciated true Buddhism...
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): buddhism is about a real person and not a supernatural god
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): very different
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): at leasst in my view
[13:43] CB Axel: American Buddhism is different than others.
[13:44] CB Axel: Or so it seems to me.
[13:44] herman Bergson: There exists American Buddhism CB???? :-))))
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): or not,  its the same basic concept but different ideas
[13:44] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): there are many americans who practice buddhism yes
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but buddhism indeed seem "nicer" then other religions
[13:44] herman Bergson: Well at least it proofs that beliefs are just beliefs....
[13:45] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): as a way of life but keep their own religion
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Isn’t Shintoism a type of buddhism?
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Shintoism
[13:45] Joseph Bard (science24): nicer is a relative concept :)
[13:45] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i dont think so
[13:45] herman Bergson: Shinto is Japanese Bejiita
[13:45] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): bej
[13:46] herman Bergson: No relation to buddhism there
[13:46] herman Bergson: But we are discussing Spinoza here...
[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): or wait now, in Naruto they use relations to different Japanese gods as means to name their superpowers
[13:46] herman Bergson: a man who almost got killed in Amsterdam!
[13:46] Ondre Baxton: Deity or not to deity - that is the question.
[13:46] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): Are there any known "reactions" to what happened to Spinoza? From people in his era
[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): not to expert on japanese gods though
[13:47] herman Bergson: Yes Ondre...that was the question for Spinoza too!
[13:47] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i am sure we will find out
[13:47] herman Bergson: And his conclusions caused him to be banned fornm the Jewish community in Amsterdam
[13:47] Stranger Nightfire: I know of people who are catholic priests and also practice and even teach Buddhism
[13:48] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): right stranger
[13:48] CB Axel: Yes. Were the people of Amsterdam outraged by the attempt on Spinoza's life or did they think he had it coming?
[13:48] herman Bergson: Little is know about that Gemma....
[13:48] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i bet his community saw it as his just rewards
[13:48] CB Axel: The citizens in general, not the Jewish leaders, I mean.
[13:49] herman Bergson: only that the wide robe Spinoza wore prevented serious injury
[13:49] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i be they did not even know
[13:49] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): bet
[13:49] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): he was just a young jewish kid to them
[13:49] herman Bergson: The fac that he was attack must mean something....
[13:49] CB Axel: Probably not. The Netherlands in the 1600's didn't have Facebook or Twitter.
[13:49] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:49] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:49] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): right
[13:49] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): Good point, Gemma... he received attention after he went
[13:50] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): and came back
[13:50] herman Bergson: Yes Gemma and a smart ass and a wise guy and a pain in the ass all together and an arrogant asshole....:-)
[13:50] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): what did his parents think of his ideas?
[13:50] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:50] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:50] herman Bergson: I really think so....
[13:50] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): oh my Beertje
[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:50] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): How do parents feel in such a situation
[13:50] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i bet they were heartbroken
[13:51] herman Bergson: If you know the wordings of his ban...never shown in history before.....sooooo harsh...
[13:51] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): Could you share it with us?
[13:51] herman Bergson: His parents were dead in 1656,,,at least his father
[13:51] herman Bergson: he died in 1654
[13:52] herman Bergson: But  Spinoza must have driven the rabbis insane with his obstinate behaviour and ideas...
[13:52] herman Bergson: Nevertheless....
[13:52] CB Axel: Herman told us what the ban said back in the first of these lectures.
[13:52] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): Rocking the boat is unwanted
[13:52] herman Bergson: He tried to sink the boat Chantal !
[13:53] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): :)
[13:53] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): I know CB but sometimes people have it available to copy, was hoping it was so
[13:53] herman Bergson: But what makes me wonder....
[13:53] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): heheheh Herman
[13:53] herman Bergson: when you read about his later days....
[13:53] herman Bergson: he seemed to have been quite a gentle person....
[13:54] herman Bergson: He ahd true friends
[13:54] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): his later days are our young-ones right?!
[13:54] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): yes 45 is young
[13:55] herman Bergson: well when he was 30 Chantal....:-)
[13:55] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): ok
[13:55] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): not in 1656 those days people were old in their 40 th
[13:55] herman Bergson: But he had true friends who covered up for him...took care of his manuscripts after his death and got them published...
[13:55] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): yes I wonder how that will have effected, Beertje
[13:56] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): Incredible, Herman
[13:57] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): a bit like plato did for socrates
[13:57] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i hope to be here thursday
[13:57] herman Bergson: lecture we'll elaborate on the obsevation that wealth, sensual plesures and fame are not the real goals in life according to Spinoza :-)
[13:57] herman Bergson: So..
[13:57] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): hinderences
[13:57] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:57] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:57] CB Axel: That will be interesting. I agree with Spinoza on that!
[13:58] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): me too
[13:58] K.T. Burnett (kayt): When will it be?
[13:58] herman Bergson: Thank you all again for your participation...
[13:58] CB Axel: Thank you, Herman.
[13:58] Ondre Baxton: Thanks.
[13:58] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): now on thursday
[13:58] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): Thursday at 1
[13:58] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): same time
[13:58] herman Bergson: Class dismissed...^_^
[13:58] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu then
[13:58] CB Axel: See you Thursday.
[13:58] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): Every Tuesday and Thursday at 1 PM PDT KT
[13:58] Joseph Bard (science24): thank you Herman :)
[13:58] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:58] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:58] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): sl time
[13:58] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): bye for now
[13:58] K.T. Burnett (kayt): Thank you very much Herman :)
[13:58] herman Bergson: My pleasure Joseph :-)
[13:58] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): is easiest
[13:58] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): bye for now
[13:58] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman
[13:58] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): Waves
[13:58] K.T. Burnett (kayt): probably coming here in my exhausted condition was not the wisest decision lol, hoping to be in a better shape for the next lecture
[13:59] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): Thank you Herman
[13:59] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): Busy schedule huh KT
[13:59] K.T. Burnett (kayt): Mhm, and add cold to that
[13:59] herman Bergson: wow..even a better shape Kayt? :-))
[13:59] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): see you all thursday, have a goodnight
[13:59] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): I will log off, have a good evening, sleep or daytime
[14:00] K.T. Burnett (kayt): Good night Chantal :)
[14:00] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): Sleep well KT
[14:00] Joseph Bard (science24): bye everyone :)
[14:00] Joseph Bard (science24): take care
[14:00] Jeanne Valois (jeannevalois): thank all :P
[14:00] Ondre Baxton: take care
[14:01] K.T. Burnett (kayt): Will be on my way too, have a lovely one you two :)
[14:01] herman Bergson: I hope you're ok Kayt :-)
[14:01] K.T. Burnett (kayt): Just exhausted, but thought I'd check your class out for the future :)
[14:02] herman Bergson: You are welcome..:-)


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