Re: [spinoza-ethics] Re: Knowledge of the Third Kind
- Hello Frank,
Indeed, and you have other riddles, like our preferences in/understanding of
art and humor. But the question here is whether *for Spinoza* intuition
stands on the shoulders of reason or not. I myself am a radical monist of
Buddhist extraction (!) who believes that these are merely several not yet
well understood refinements of the process of sentient knowing caused as
everything else by dependent origination, but this is not the issue.
----- Original Message -----
From: "fdixon65" <fdixon65@...>
Sent: Sunday, May 26, 2002 10:15 PM
Subject: [spinoza-ethics] Re: Knowledge of the Third Kind
> In your reply to Terry's (as usual) excellent response, you point out
> that [even] Spinoza's intuition stands on the shoulders of reason.
> Right, but the shoulders are of a reason that is not
> merely "understood" but which is grasped and made an intuitive part
> of the way we subsequently experience experience. And in that sense,
> knowledge of the third kind becomes the most easily apprehended,
> though perhaps the most difficult to "understand." I have in the
> past made many references to "applied knowledge of the third kind,"
> and the one that most easily comes to mind is the old riddle: "How
> much does a brick weigh if it weighs 3 pounds plus half its weight."
> The algebra is simple, the hearing even simpler, but when the answer
> is truly grasped, 6 pounds, then all subsequent substitutions of any
> number for the number "3" will in no wise complicate the immediate
> derivation of an answer. We know intuitively, after "getting" the
> answer the first time (I mean, really "GETTING IT") that all we have
> to do is double the number and there's the answer.
> This does not, of course, define knowledge of the third kind; it
> merely illustrates it. After that, defintions are second best.
- Hi All,
In reading the latest postings from Frank and Sunhunter9 something that
Sunhunter9 pointed out struck a chord --both in my imagination and
reasoning --with the discussion about the Third Kind of Knowledge and with
my own recent study of D.T. Suzuki's Essays in Zen Buddhism and the idea of
"Paravritii" or "turning-up", "turning-over", or "revulsion".
Sunhunter9 pointed out:
"...This "process" Spinoza details so compassionately explains why, when I
separate the idea of an emotion from the thought of an external cause, and
unite it to other adequate or true ideas, it is no longer a passion. It's
been "hooked up" as an effect of adequate ideas from within the
understanding itself, free, acting according to its own nature."
Spinoza showed us:
======== E5: PROP. 2:
If we remove a disturbance of the spirit, or emotion, from the thought
of an external cause, and unite it to other thoughts, then will the love or
hatred towards that external cause, and also the vacillations of spirit
which arise from these emotions, be destroyed.
When just reading this proposition it is no more than words and images
for me and all words and images involve external bodies (from the TEI the
imagination is only affected by some particular physical object.) Then, as I
reason about it, an abstraction readily occurs which involves "external
world" vs. "internal world" and where there is a "boundary" determining and
separating the two. In the imagination or in the abstraction I tend to
assign things like "My favorite color is blue" or "I love my dog" to my
"internal world" as opposed to what others in the "external world" might
If I stop and stand on this imagination or abstraction I may fail to see
that when Spinoza speaks about "other thoughts" he is not referring to our
particular "internal world" --by which I mean our imagination of ourselves
in association with the "external world" --but rather, if I grasp the deeper
idea involved in E5P2, there is a "turning" in a direction which is neither
outward nor inward in the ordinary imagined sense of these terms.
This "turning" is a momentous event in our mental life. In the New
Testament the Greek term "metanoia" (which is poorly translated as
repentance --see Maurice Nicoll's "The Mark") literally means "change of
mind", a turning away from our ordinary "external/internal world" focus. I
believe that "metanoia", "paravritii" and Spinoza's E5P2 refer to the same
removing from the "external" and uniting with, as Sunhunter9 put it
"adequate ideas from within the understanding itself".