From wikipedia:

Spinoza, having dedicated himself completely to philosophy after 1656 [when he was excommunicated from the Jewish faith], fervently desired to change the world through establishing a clandestine philosophical sect. Because of public censure this was only eventually realized after his death through the dedicated intercession of his friends.

I only hope I don’t have to wait that long!

He contended that everything that exists in Nature/Universe is one Reality (substance) and there is only one set of rules governing the whole of the reality which surrounds us and of which we are part.

So far, so good…..

He has an argument for what looks a lot like R-world, and he calls “substance”.  Astonishing that he could have seen so far, but what are termed ‘proofs’ are no such thing.  I see vision here, rather than argument.  Here’s a ovely tie in to Bhuddism:

So freedom is not the possibility to say “no” to what happens to us but the possibility to say “yes” and fully understand why things should necessarily happen that way.

Some of Spinoza’s philosophical positions are:

  • The natural world is infinite. [? what does that mean?]
  • Good and evil are definitions of Humans not nature. [Yay!]
  • Everything done by humans and other animals is excellent and divine. [hmmm.  trust the monkey?]
  • All rights are derived from the State. [interesting claim]
  • Animals can be used in any way by people for the benefit of the human race, according to a rational consideration of the benefit as well as the animals’ status in nature. [Lots of room for work here]

Here’s a beauty from his Ethics:

His concept of three types of knowledge – opinion, reason, intuitive – and assertion that intuitive knowledge provides the greatest satisfaction of mind, leads to his proposition that the more we are conscious of ourselves and Nature/Universe, the more perfect and blessed we are (in reality) and that only intuitive knowledge is eternal.

Wittgenstein nodded in Spinoza’s direction when he said:

“If by eternity is understood not eternal temporal duration, but timelessness, then he lives eternally who lives in the present.” (6.4311) “The contemplation of the world sub specie aeterni is its contemplation as a limited whole.” (6.45) (TLP)

… and Einstein (who is much over cited normally) had this to say, on being asked whether he believed in God:

Einstein responded by telegram “I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings.”

 Neutral Monism isgenerally laid at Sponoza’s door:Neutral monism, in philosophy, is the metaphysical view that existence consists of one kind (hence monism) of primal substance, which in itself is neither mental nor physical, but is capable of mental and physical aspects or attributes.