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Dreamworld vs. Inner Life/Terry

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  • hans19682000
    Hi Terry and all,The opposition between an outside dreamworld and an Inner Eternal Life (Terry) seems not applicable to Spinoza s philosophy. To speak of an
    Message 1 of 26 , Jul 2, 2006
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      Hi Terry and all,The opposition between an outside dreamworld and
      an "Inner Eternal Life" (Terry) seems not applicable to Spinoza's
      philosophy. To speak of an inside/outside is to use spatial metaphors
      for something else. This something else is Spinoza's concept of
      causality.

      The difference is not to be found in the location of things but in
      their way of being, how they are determined.

      The general scheme of God's immanent causality is presented in
      spatial imagination:

      E1P18==
      God is the indwelling and not the transient cause of all things.
      ==

      This proposition is preceded by

      E1P17==and C1==
      God acts solely by the laws of his own nature, and is not constrained
      by any one.
      (…)
      .--It follows: I. That there can be no cause which, either
      extrinsically or intrinsically, besides the perfection of his own
      nature, moves God to act.
      ==

      There is no exteriority to God's immanence. There is no
      inside/outside at all.

      When we suspend the spatial metaphor (imagination) then causal
      concepts (cause/effect/determination) and concepts of action
      remain. "To be determined from within" means to be determined to act
      solely by one's own nature, as we find it already in

      E1Def7==
      That thing is called free, which exists solely by the necessity of
      its own nature, and of which the action is determined by itself
      alone. On the other hand, that thing is necessary, or rather
      constrained, which is determined by something external to itself
      [Elwes] to a fixed and definite method of existence or action [Elwes].
      ==

      This is of course Elwes' translation. The term "by something external
      to itself" cannot be found in the Latin version – there we simply
      find "ab alio"

      So the literal meaning of this difference is between "determined by
      the necessity of its own nature" and "determined by something other".
      But E1D7 continues with the explanation that a free thing
      is "determined to act" [ad agendum determinatur] whereas the
      constrained thing is "determined to exist and to operate [English?]
      [determinatur ad existendum et operandum] - Elwes gives both terms
      as "action".

      "To be determined to exist and to operate" means a minor degree of
      action or less power of action, i.e. passivity.

      We can replace the overall-structure of the difference "determined
      from without vs. determined from within" (E2P29Note) with the
      difference between activity/passivity.

      Just to give the whole picture of my reading:

      - to be determined from within vs. determined from without
      - determined by the necessity of one's own nature vs determined by
      others
      - determined to act vs. determined to exist and to "operate"
      - greater power to act (activity) vs. lesser power to act (passivity)

      God is the indwelling cause of all things – in other words God's self-
      sufficient power of action is the basis of all things. Finite modes
      may "start" with a "spark" of this action (conatus) but get soon
      alienated in the natural order of things. We perceive ourselves as
      pushed by others and the more we are pushed by them we perceive them
      and us caught in transitive causality. Second and Third Kind of
      knowledge are not means to detach yourself from these "social forces"
      but to confront them from a different angle – to confront transitive
      causality with the immanent causality of our own nature.

      To escape this transitive logic we cannot adopt a way of liberation
      that finds its basis in the imaginary split between "them" and "us",
      outside/inside, not to speak of the divide of a dreamworld and
      an "Inner Eternal Life". Spinoza doesn't anywhere summarize the
      infinity of "external causes" into one big "(dream)World" - though
      the "world" is full of illusions – or "dreams" as Spinoza sometimes
      puts it. Nor does he anything similar with our "Inner Life".
      We have to find "clear and vivid imaginations", then common notions
      which help us to surpass transitive causality to lay bare the
      immanent causality of our conatus - our own conatus and the conatus
      of others (other "things").

      By this we extend our power of action/thinking/living. This is the
      meaning of freedom and necessity, gaining power to act in confronting
      the alienating causes of our passivity.

      The aim of the "Ethics" is not "blessedness" in a mystical meaning –
      or at least we don't have to understand it in a mystical way -
      perhaps blessedness itself is best explained by "another" indwelling
      orientation:

      E5P20==
      This love towards God cannot be stained by the emotion of envy or
      jealousy: contrariwise, it is the more fostered, in proportion as we
      conceive a greater number of men to be joined to God by the same bond
      of love.
      ==

      That all humans associate in peace, security and political freedom
      (TPT, PT) and that the greatest number possible among them has a
      share in the liberation of the soul (Ethics). Without this
      _orientation_ "blessedness" degrades itself into a vain illusion of a
      solitary self.

      Outside and inside are only spatial imaginations we somewhere have to
      leave behind (to turn them logically inside-out) to rejoin our
      immanent aim "locked" in "God or Nature".

      Or, as you said it once with the words of someone.

      "A bit beyond perceptions reach, I sometimes believe I see that life
      is two locked boxes, each containing other's key".

      Peace
      hans
    • Terry Neff
      Hi Hans and All, ... You seem here to want to go right to the heart of Spinoza s philosophy and I believe this to be an admirable desire. It might have been
      Message 2 of 26 , Jul 2, 2006
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        Hi Hans and All,

        > The opposition between an outside dreamworld and
        > an "Inner Eternal Life" (Terry) seems not applicable to
        > Spinoza's philosophy. To speak of an inside/outside is
        > to use spatial metaphors for something else. This something
        > else is Spinoza's concept of causality.
        >
        > The difference is not to be found in the location of things but
        > in their way of being, how they are determined.

        You seem here to want to go right to the heart of Spinoza's philosophy
        and I believe this to be an admirable desire. It might have been easier for
        everyone if Spinoza would have just summarized everything he had to say into
        the concept of causality only and not added to the confusion by writing all
        those words and phrases using spatial and other metaphors like "dreaming
        with our eyes open" --but he didn't do that, he went right ahead and wrote
        things like:

        ====== E2P29 Scholium (caps mine -TNeff):
        Dico expresse, quod mens nec sui ipsius, nec sui corporis, nec corporum
        EXTERNORUM adaequatam, sed confusam tantum, cognitionem habeat, quoties ex
        communi naturae ordine res percipit, hoc est, quoties EXTERNE, ex rerum
        nempe fortuito occursu, determinatur ad hoc vel illud contemplandum, et non
        quoties INTERNE, ex eo scilicet, quod res plures simul contemplatur,
        determinatur ad earundem convenientias, differentias et oppugnantias
        intelligendum. Quoties enim hoc vel alio modo INTERNE disponitur, tum res
        clare et distincte contemplatur, ut infra ostendam.
        ======

        ...or, as Elwes translates into English and which you apparently believe is
        misleading:

        ====== E2P29 Note (CAPS mine -TNeff):
        --I say expressly, that the mind has not an adequate but only a confused
        knowledge of itself, its own body, and of EXTERNAL bodies, whenever it
        perceives things after the common order of nature; that is, whenever it is
        determined from WITHOUT, namely, by the fortuitous play of circumstance, to
        regard this or that; not at such times as it is determined from WITHIN, that
        is, by the fact of regarding several things at once, to understand their
        points of agreement, difference, and contrast. Whenever it is determined in
        anywise from WITHIN, it regards things clearly and distinctly, as I will
        show below.
        ======

        Spinoza apparently wanted his readers to think about what HE had to say
        and HE used particular metaphors, etc. yet you seem to want to edit those
        out or change them. You say:

        > We can replace the overall-structure of the difference
        > "determined from without vs. determined from within"
        > (E2P29Note) with the difference between activity/passivity.

        Why don't you just post here your complete corrected or improved version
        of the Ethics so that we can follow along with your thinking rather than
        attempt to follow Spinoza's errors and his misleading metaphors?

        Spinoza used a metaphor when he referred to "determined from without vs.
        determined from within", why should I or anyone else avoid using the same
        metaphor when discussing things here? You seem to believe that when I use
        metaphors similar to those Spinoza used (external/internal, Reality/dream,
        etc.) that I must either be wrong or that I am somehow misleading others who
        may also be trying to understand Spinoza's meaning in the Ethics.

        You have expressed that it is important for us to discuss and to try to
        understand the historical, cultural, social, economic, religious, etc.
        conditions under which Spinoza lived and also under which we live in order
        to understand what he wrote in the Ethics:

        ----------- Hans message, 6/18/2006
        > I see here the danger that if we do not confront the social
        > and economic forces shaping our life we might easily slide
        > into some fantasy of self-mastery.
        -----------

        ...which was part of your reply to my:

        ---------- TNeff message, 6/11/2006:
        For each individual human being on this planet, the entirety of their
        perception of "history" and of "culture" and of "religion", etc., in so far
        as these involve "external bodies" which are perceived confusedly as they
        imagine them and not, as these perceptions actually involve, modes of their
        own body, the entirety of these "things" I repeat, are nothing more than an
        elaborate dream involving the motion and rest of each particular
        individual's extremely complex body. All of the apparent clashes of
        "culture", "religion", etc., and the destruction of one actual body by
        another in the name of such things, only occur so long as the individuals
        involved remain unaware of the nature of this dream "world" and mistake it
        for reality.
        ----------

        I think that I clearly expressed and qualified what I meant when I wrote
        the above by using Spinoza's terms and metaphors. For instance I said:

        "...in so far as these involve 'external bodies' which are perceived
        confusedly as they imagine them and not, as these perceptions actually
        involve, modes of their own body..."

        However, I'll try to explain my meaning differently. You seem to think
        that we can know such things as we name history, culture, economics,
        religion, etc. as though they are objective things and that they have some
        reality of which we might be able to come to have an adequate idea. I too
        believe this to be true when I pay attention only to my own imagination and
        I have my own perception of things associated with these particular terms.
        But all of these topics will be seen differently by each of us. Take just
        one of these, say economic forces. You say that we need to confront these
        forces or be in danger of sliding off into some fantasy. Okay, what do we
        know of economic forces outside of our own experience and memory which
        Spinoza shows involves our own imagination or the motion and rest of our own
        body? We can read and study and discuss "economic forces" all we like but
        with what things are we going to be engaged in our thinking? Is there some
        actual existing body, either simple or complex, the idea of which represents
        "economic forces"? Or, if by "economic forces" you mean, not some particular
        body, but some particular actual chain of cause and effect, either simple or
        complex, then do you believe anyone will be able to follow that actual chain
        in their own thinking? Each of us no doubt form some abstract conception of
        things and refer to them by using terms like "economic forces" but what do
        these conceptions actually involve other than the motion and rest of our own
        body? Is there some actual existing thing or action outside of these
        abstract conceptions that we each might refer to as "economic forces"? And
        even if we believe that there are such actual existent things or actions in
        nature what is it in the Ethics that you think will be more understandable
        by spending any time discussing them here?

        I could also say, and it seems to me you would have to agree, that our
        lives are shaped by technological and medical forces and so I might try to
        discuss here the impact of such things on our lives but what does that have
        to do with understanding something in particular in the Ethics? Please
        explain how you have shown that we need here to discuss history, culture,
        economics, technology, medicine etc. in order to understand our own true
        nature and to attain to what Spinoza shows is HIS ultimate aim, namely, the
        mind's Blessedness (a phrase which you seem to think means "some fantasy"
        [by which I assume you mean that which Spinoza might call a dream and which
        he shows belongs only to the imagination which he distinguishes from
        Understanding])? He wrote:

        ======= E5: PREFACE:
        At length I pass to the remaining portion of my Ethics, which is
        concerned with the way leading to freedom. I shall therefore treat therein
        of the power of the reason, showing how far the reason can control the
        emotions, and what is the nature of MENTAL FREEDOM OR BLESSEDNESS [my
        emphasis -TNeff]; we shall then be able to see, how much more powerful the
        wise man is than the ignorant. It is no part of my design to point out the
        method and means whereby the understanding may be perfected, nor to show the
        skill whereby the body may be so tended, as to be capable of the due
        performance of its functions. The latter question lies in the province of
        Medicine, the former in the province of Logic....

        ...Therefore, since the power of the mind, as I have shown above, is defined
        by the understanding only, we shall determine SOLELY BY THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE
        MIND [my emphasis -TNeff] the remedies against the emotions, which I believe
        all have had experience of, but do not accurately observe or distinctly see,
        and FROM THE SAME BASIS [my emphasis, and what is he referring to by this
        'same basis'? -TNeff] we shall deduce all those conclusions, which have
        regard to THE MIND'S BLESSEDNESS [my emphasis, and does Spinoza here mean
        "some fantasy" or is it only when I refer to the same thing that "fantasy"
        must be involved? -TNeff] .
        =======

        Perhaps you believe that you so thoroughly understand your own mind,
        even as Spinoza understood his, that you are ready to help the rest of us
        and: "to point out the method and means whereby the understanding may be
        perfected"? If so then please do explain how discussing these other
        topics --which Spinoza did not see fit to discuss in the Ethics --will help
        the rest of us to come to knowledge of our own minds?

        I applaud your now discussing such things as Spinoza presents in the
        Ethics as God's immanent causality but your attempt to do away with my or
        Spinoza's own use of particular metaphors in these discussions seems to me
        to be once again an attempt to correct "errors" which you see that he made
        and which you also seem to think I am making in my own mind. As I have tried
        to point out, I too am affected very much by the confused ideas and errors
        formed in my own imagination and can only post here things as I see them but
        I do try to stick with what Spinoza wrote in the Ethics and only bring in
        other things to try to clarify for myself and hopefully for others what
        Spinoza might have meant by writing them.

        You say:

        > Outside and inside are only spatial imaginations we
        > somewhere have to leave behind (to turn them logically
        > inside-out) to rejoin our immanent aim "locked" in
        > "God or Nature".

        So, where is this "somewhere" to which you refer? Also, when and how do
        I "leave behind" anything? And how can I have been separate from an
        "immanent aim" in order that I could "rejoin" it? These metaphors seem to me
        no different from Spinoza's so why should I abandon his for yours or anyone
        else's here in the Spinoza Ethics Slow Reading List? Words, images,
        metaphors, etc. are all that we have to exchange between us here, but
        Spinoza seems not to have any problem pointing out (with words) that it is
        the Ideas, which are something quite different from words, images,
        metaphors, etc., with which he is concerned:

        ====== E2: PROP. 49 Corollary, Note:
        ...[I] warn my readers to make an accurate distinction between an idea, or
        conception of the mind, and the images of things which we imagine. It is
        further necessary that they should distinguish between idea and words,
        whereby we signify things. These three--namely, images, words, and
        ideas --are by many persons either entirely confused together, or not
        distinguished with sufficient accuracy or care...

        ...This misconception will easily be laid aside by one, who reflects on the
        nature of knowledge, and seeing that it in no wise involves the conception
        of extension, will therefore clearly understand, that an idea (being a mode
        of thinking) does not consist in the image of anything, nor in words. The
        essence of words and images is put together by bodily motions, which in no
        wise involve the conception of thought.
        ======

        If you will, please, leaving behind all metaphors [sorry, I mean
        negating all metaphors (I think)], please state clearly what it is that
        Spinoza actually meant since he made so many errors in logic and his
        metaphors are so misleading :-)

        Best Regards,
        Terry
      • Ethel Jean (Kowan) Saltz
        How about this with respect to the entire discussion about dream world and inner life. I now know the prime mover is Hydrogen. I believe most scientists of
        Message 3 of 26 , Jul 4, 2006
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          How about this with respect to the entire discussion about dream world and
          inner life.

          I now know the prime mover is Hydrogen. I believe most scientists of all
          faiths and cultures will agree with this. So does anything change with the
          whole book of ETHICS if we all know we should all know this?

          For beginners, I don't think so, just narrows definitions more
          realistically. BECAUSE do we know the why/what/when/where/how of Hydrogen?

          Can we modify the definition in the 21st century to say God is the entity
          that created Hydrogen? Then discuss inner life and dreamworld? I know how
          hard this is for the average person who prefers to die without knowing all
          this. Especially since even in the most progressive of groups, they get
          angered by my pointing out that the Torah Scrolls ARE the Pentateuch, the
          First Five Books of the Bible, available in everyman's bible cheaply and
          mentioned 16 times in the Koran.

          So dream world and inner life are determined for me about each individual if
          they can or cannot accept the above statements as factual, reality. My
          litmus test for even doctors. It's worked because one Orthodox Jewish
          doctor showed me his dream world and inner life by telling me he can't
          service me because I quote from MEIN KAMPF. My inner life and dream world
          consists of freely quoting from MEIN KAMPF without offending anyone. I will
          probably die with this being my dream world and my inner life will consist
          of quoting from MEIN KAMPF and knowing the Torah Scrolls are a beautiful
          musicale available to everyone on earth freely because they already own it
          by another name, PENTATEUCH, and that the Prime Mover created just one
          substance, Hydrogen, and everything else follows. That's how I understand
          my wonderful Baruch/Benedictus, Blessed One, if he were alive today. Simply
          because I had the same education as a child as he got and all brains of
          humans evolve naturally until they are 12 years old.

          Ethel Jean (Kowan) Saltz
          THE BIBLE UNEARTHED
          YHWH 600BCE - 600CE
        • Terry Neff
          Hi All, I would like to offer a thought experiment to help explain what I meant when I wrote the following and how it might relate to the ideas expressed in
          Message 4 of 26 , Jul 5, 2006
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            Hi All,

            I would like to offer a thought experiment to help explain what I meant
            when I wrote the following and how it might relate to the ideas expressed in
            Spinoza's Ethics:

            ---------- TNeff message, 6/11/2006:
            For each individual human being on this planet, the entirety of their
            perception of "history" and of "culture" and of "religion", etc., in so far
            as these involve "external bodies" which are perceived confusedly as they
            imagine them and not, as these perceptions actually involve, modes of their
            own body, the entirety of these "things" I repeat, are nothing more than an
            elaborate dream involving the motion and rest of each particular
            individual's extremely complex body. All of the apparent clashes of
            "culture", "religion", etc., and the destruction of one actual body by
            another in the name of such things, only occur so long as the individuals
            involved remain unaware of the nature of this dream "world" and mistake it
            for reality.
            ----------

            Imagine that you decide to write a book on the social and economic
            forces affecting the world today. You have traveled and studied extensively
            doing research on such things and now you decide to take six months off to
            begin writing. You arrange to stay by yourself on a small secluded island
            which has a nice house with all the food and supplies you will need
            including a library of books and DVDs for some occasional relaxation. There
            is no way to communicate with the rest of the world from this island and so
            you hire someone to fly you there and to pick you up in the same way six
            months later.

            As you begin your stay on the island you immerse yourself in your notes
            and reference works and, unbeknownst to you, a highly communicable fatal
            disease begins to spread very rapidly elsewhere and within a week the entire
            human population, except for you, is wiped out. You have no way of knowing
            this so you continue to work on your book as you think about all that you
            know concerning the social and economic forces that you have studied and
            which you continue to think of as belonging to "the world".

            Now, do these "social and economic forces" have any actual existence
            outside of your own imagination/memory? How can they? All of the physical
            bodies involved (except for the humans) may still be functional; the bank
            buildings and stock exchanges around the world still exist as do all the
            computers, the internet, cars, trains, planes, etc. --but, at the present
            time, on this planet, is there any actual existing thing or action outside
            of your imagination which can be referred to by you as "social and economic
            forces"? Still, you continue in your seclusion to believe that all the
            things of the world, as you imagine them, continue to exist and operate just
            as they did when you left them to come to the island. Your own mind has not
            changed at all in this regard, --from the time when you arrived on the
            island and the actual world was existing and operating in a particular way,
            until the present when the actual existing world has changed drastically,
            your mind has not changed with regard to these things.

            Spinoza shows, and if we follow his chain of reasoning we too may have
            an adequate idea that:

            ======= E2: PROP. 13:
            The object of the idea constituting the human mind is the body, in other
            words a certain mode of extension which actually exists, and nothing else.
            ======= Corollary:
            --Hence it follows that man is composed of mind and body, and that the human
            body exists as we perceive it.
            =======

            He shows that our own body exists as we perceive it, not that "the world
            of external bodies exists as we perceive it." He goes on to show:

            ======= E2: PROP. 16, Corollary 2:
            --It follows, secondly, that the ideas, which we have of external bodies,
            indicate rather the constitution of our own body than the nature of external
            bodies.
            ======= E2: PROP. 17:
            If the human body is affected in a manner which involves the nature of
            any external body, the human mind will regard the said external body [only
            as it has affected our own body, see below. -TNeff] as actually existing, or
            as present to itself, until the human body be affected in such a way, as to
            exclude the existence or the presence of the said external body.
            ======= Corollary:
            --The mind is able to regard as present external bodies, by which the human
            body has once been affected, even though they be no longer in existence or
            present.
            =======

            Now I choose to call "the world" of external bodies and of social and
            economic forces, etc. in your mind in the above situation a "dream" as long
            as you are unaware that you are only dealing with the constitution of your
            own body, not the actual world as it exists in God. As Spinoza clarifies in
            the following note (you might realize this already from E2P16C2 above) these
            images of external things in your mind do not answer to the actual essence
            of the actual external bodies involved:

            ======= E2: PROP. 17 Corollary, Note:
            ...Furthermore (E2P17C, E2P16C2), we clearly understand what is the
            difference between the idea, say, of Peter, which constitutes the essence of
            Peter's mind, and the idea of the said Peter, which is in another man, say,
            Paul. The former directly answers to the essence of Peter's own body, and
            only implies existence so long as Peter exists; the latter indicates rather
            the disposition of Paul's body than the nature of Peter, and, therefore,
            while this disposition of Paul's body lasts, Paul's mind will regard Peter
            as present to itself, even though he no longer exists.

            Further, to retain the usual phraseology, the modifications of the human
            body, of which the ideas represent external bodies as present to us, we will
            call the images of things, though they do not recall the figure of things.
            When the mind regards bodies in this fashion, we say that it imagines.

            I will here draw attention to the fact, in order to indicate where error
            lies, that the imaginations of the mind, looked at in themselves, do not
            contain error. The mind does not err in the mere act of imagining, but only
            in so far as it is regarded as being without the idea, which excludes the
            existence of such things as it imagines to be present to it. If the mind,
            while imagining non-existent things as present to it, is at the same time
            conscious that they do not really exist, this power of imagination must be
            set down to the efficacy of its nature, and not to a fault, especially if
            this faculty of imagination depend solely on its own nature--that is (E1D7),
            if this faculty of imagination be free.
            =======

            ...and so I wrote:

            ---------- TNeff message, 6/11/2006:
            For each individual human being on this planet, the entirety of their
            perception of "history" and of "culture" and of "religion", etc., in so far
            as these involve "external bodies" which are perceived confusedly as they
            imagine them and not, as these perceptions actually involve, modes of their
            own body, the entirety of these "things" I repeat, are nothing more than an
            elaborate dream involving the motion and rest of each particular
            individual's extremely complex body....
            ----------

            Of course the thought experiment involves an extreme situation but still
            it is not impossible. However, if you prefer, think now about what you
            believe to be the world of external bodies and actions as you perhaps sit in
            front of your computer reading this message. Stop reading and think about
            this for a moment. Are you conscious that the idea that you have of "the
            world", whether you focus on social, economic, cultural, religious,
            technological, etc. things and forces, is not the actual idea of the actual
            world of bodies in the infinite intellect of God but rather is the idea of
            the motion and rest of your own body? If not then might we not describe this
            complex imagination as a "dream world" even if our eyes are open, etc.?

            Spinoza asks us in the Ethics to follow along with him as he helps us to
            see for ourselves the results:

            ======= E2 Preface:
            ...which must necessarily follow from the essence of God, or of the eternal
            and infinite being; not, indeed, all of them (for we proved in E1P16, that
            an infinite number must follow in an infinite number of ways), but only
            those which are able to lead us, as it were by the hand, to the knowledge of
            the human mind and its highest blessedness.
            =======

            This Blessedness is not some dream or fantasy and it is not dependent on
            our coming to any understanding of social, economic, cultural, religious,
            technological, medical, etc. forces affecting our lives although of course
            our imagination will often turn toward contemplating such things. In fact,
            Spinoza shows in The Improvement of the Understanding and throughout the
            Ethics just how difficult it will be to turn away from these other things
            for even a short period of time in order to contemplate the actual nature of
            our own actual mind as it actually derives from God.

            If I may I will violate my usual endeavour to keep things focused on the
            Ethics here by quoting from Spinoza's TPT since he seems to summarize quite
            nicely his aim for us also in the Ethics:

            ======= TPT04-P12-14:
            Hither, then, our highest good and our highest blessedness aim - namely,
            to the knowledge and love of God; therefore the means demanded by this aim
            of all human actions, that is, by God in so far as THE IDEA OF HIM IS IN US
            [my emphasis -TNeff], may be called the commands of God, because they
            proceed, as it were, from God Himself, inasmuch as He exists IN OUR MINDS
            [my emphasis -TNeff], and the plan of life which has regard to this aim may
            be fitly called the law of God.

            The nature of the means, and the plan of life which this aim demands,
            how the foundations of the best states follow its lines, and how men's life
            is conducted, are questions pertaining to general ethics [does he explicitly
            discuss in any detail "the foundations of the best states" in The
            Ethics? -TNeff]. Here I only proceed to treat of the Divine law in a
            particular application.

            As the love of God is man's highest happiness and blessedness, and the
            ultimate end and aim of all human actions [is this some "fantasy of
            self-mastery"? -TNeff], it follows that he alone lives by the Divine law who
            loves God not from fear of punishment, or from love of any other object,
            such as sensual pleasure, fame, or the like; but solely because he has
            knowledge of God, or is convinced that the knowledge and love of God is the
            highest good. The sum and chief precept, then, of the Divine law is to love
            God as the highest good, namely, as we have said, not from fear of any pains
            and penalties, or from the love of any other object in which we desire to
            take pleasure. The idea of God lays down the rule that God is our highest
            good - in other words, that the knowledge and love of God is the ultimate
            aim to which all our actions should be directed [again, is this some
            "fantasy of self-mastery"? -TNeff]. The worldling cannot understand these
            things, they appear foolishness to him because he has too meager a knowledge
            of God, and also because in this highest good he can discover nothing which
            he can handle or eat, or which affects the fleshly appetites wherein he
            chiefly delights, for it consists solely in thought and the pure reason.
            They, on the other hand, who know that they possess no greater gift than
            intellect and sound reason, will doubtless accept what I have said without
            question.
            =======

            Best Regards,
            Terry
          • hans19682000
            Hi Terry and all, Terry wrote ... I would rather say that it is misleading to draw conclusions from metaphors. Since Extension is in no way involved in the
            Message 5 of 26 , Jul 12, 2006
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              Hi Terry and all,

              Terry wrote
              >You seem to believe that when I use metaphors similar to Spinoza
              >used(eternal/internal, Reality/dream, etc.) that I must either be
              >wrong or that I am somehow misleading others who may also be trying
              >to understand Spinoza's meaning in the Ethics.

              I would rather say that it is misleading to draw conclusions from
              metaphors. Since Extension is in no way involved in the attribute of
              Thought there cannot be a literal meaning of inside/oudside.

              In my last posting I tried to show that we should read these
              metaphors – as we find them for example in E2P29Note – in the light
              of E1P7. It should then become clear what ideas Spinoza had in mind
              when he used the inside/outside metaphor – that they are descriptions
              of causal relations which indicate states of activity/passivity of
              our mind. So the question cannot be: "Where is my mind
              determined from?", but: "In what way?" Is my mind - in its actual
              being – "determined by the necessity of its own nature" (increased
              power of action) or is it "determined to exist and to `operate' "
              (diminished power of action)?

              There is literally no inside in my mind, my intellect is not a
              location in mind and my mind is of course not in my brain. Even tough
              Spinoza wrote sentences like:

              E1App==
              Everyone judges of things according to the state of his brain
              ==

              "Brain" is of course a metaphor for mind since my brain cannot
              determine my mind to think

              E3P2==
              Body cannot determine mind to think, neither can mind determine body
              to motion or rest or any state different from these, if such there be.
              ==

              We can literally speak of "external causes" in respect to our body,
              but only metaphorically in respect to our mind. There is no harm in
              the use of these metaphors if we know that. But in my view it is in
              fact misleading to speak of a "dreamworld" and an "inner life" in
              opposition to it because it is a conclusion drawn from a metaphor and
              not from ideas (activity/passivity) expressed by them. This is
              exactly where we should be aware about the distinction between words
              and ideas. Additionally, to speak of "dreamworld" suggests a kind of
              liberation as detachment from and a refutation of this deceptive
              world as a whole.

              BTW: there is a logical objection to your dreamworld –idea. If the
              whole of the world of external bodies is a dream, then nothing is a
              dream. If all is pink, nothing is pink. So, we don't gain much.


              I don't want to negate all metaphors – this is simply impossible –
              but we have to come to terms with them. We have to find the limits of
              their use. Concepts and conceptual language have to show those limits.

              regards
              hans
            • hans19682000
              Terry and all, ... Terry, it seems to me that you draw absolute individualistic (the individual as a monad, confined to static bodily limits) conclusions from
              Message 6 of 26 , Jul 12, 2006
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                Terry and all,

                You wrote:

                >You seem to think that we can know such things as name history,
                >culture, economics, religion, etc. as though they are objective
                >things and that they have some reality of which we might be able to
                >come to have an adequate idea. I too believe this to be true when I
                >pay attention only to my own imagination and I have my own
                >perception of things associated with these particular terms. But all
                >of these topics will be seen differently by each of us.

                Terry, it seems to me that you draw absolute individualistic (the
                individual as a monad, confined to static bodily limits) conclusions
                from

                E2P13==
                The object of the idea constituting the human mind is the body, in
                other words
                a certain mode of extension which actually exists, and nothing else.
                ==

                In your argumentation you pass very quickly from the negative aspects
                of imagination to your (individualistic) understanding of
                blessedness. You seem to ignore the lessons particularly from the
                third part of the Ethics where - via a theory of the imitation of
                affects - Spinoza develops a theory of "sociability". With E3P21
                Spinoza enters into a new field of investigation: the field of
                relations among humans insofar as they show affects and take each
                other as objects of those affects.

                E3P21==
                He who conceives, that the object of his love is affected pleasurably
                or painfully, will himself be affected pleasurably or painfully; and
                the one or the other emotion will be greater or less in the lover
                according as it is greater or less in the thing loved.
                ==

                From there Spinoza investigates dual, then triple situations in which
                people find themselves. There is an open horizon of complexity.

                You may say that this sociability is merely imaginary. This is
                certainly true, but we can say that insofar as
                imaginations/representations depend on real causes they are
                objective/effective and real in their effects.

                When we read again E2P17Note we find that imagination is not an error
                in itself.

                For me the question is what use we make of imagination, how we
                philosophise with imagination, not against it.

                ==
                I will here draw attention to the fact, in order to indicate where
                error lies, that the imaginations of the mind, looked at in
                themselves, do not contain error. The mind does not err in the mere
                act of imagining, but only in so far as it is regarded as being
                without the idea, which excludes the existence of such things as it
                imagines to be present to it.
                ==

                and

                E2P41==
                Knowledge of the first kind is the only source of falsity, knowledge
                of the second and third kinds is necessarily true.
                ==

                Imagination is the _cause_ of falsity but not false in itself.

                [BTW: The reality as conceived by the infinite intellect includes our
                imaginations, as well.]

                In our existence we are condemned to have inadequate ideas. First,
                we have a confused idea of our body as well as of external bodies, we
                have only ideas of affections which indicate the effects of external
                bodies on our body.

                There are two dimensions:

                a)the effectivity of imagination via the imitation of affects
                b)the reasonability of common notions in order to understand our
                reciprocal affections.

                Terry asked:
                >Is there some actual existing body, either simple or complex, the
                >idea of which represents "economic forces"

                ad a) Yes, there is. From Spinoza's physics we can derive complex
                bodies forming individuals according to their common motion and rest.
                In the light of Spinoza it is not a metaphor to speak of a social
                body as well as of a body politic. But if we don't want to get
                simplistic we have to take into account that this social body is not
                only a static corporeal aggregate but it is formed by habits,
                customs, rituals, time regimes, etc. We have to take into account the
                imaginary dimension of that social body which result from the
                imitation of affects. The social body is a complex structure of
                signs, language/s, symbols exchanged in manifold rituals and
                practices. Spinoza discusses these things in the TPT under the name
                of religion and contract/Pactum.

                ad b)
                Of course, you are right, our experience of external bodies, or of
                our own bodies and of their encounters is made of confused ideas.
                Inadequacy is first in our personal history. But at the same time
                this inadequacy is a fundament for further – rational – experience
                and knowledge.

                E2P17N==
                …that the human body, as we feel it, exists…
                ==

                I exist and I relate to external bodies. This experience consists in
                confused ideas of my own being-in-the-world. But us such, this is an
                experience made by everybody. It is singular as well as it is
                universal. Insofar individuals imitate mutually their affections,
                they form imaginary communities (nations, races, etc.),
                compete with each other because of goods that can only be exclusively
                possessed, etc. In this case the "universality" of this experience is
                only transcendental, finalistic, abstract, etc. - a passionate
                perception. On the other hand if we get a knowledge of the common
                conditions we are exposed to we are able to develop common notions,
                adequate ideas, conceptions – even though the actual
                modification of each body remains confined to this singular body.

                We can analytically distinguish between "imaginary communities"
                caught in their exclusivity and diminished power of thinking and
                action and – on the other side - learning, inclusive communities
                which make the effort to discover their common conditions of
                existence, and by this developing their common "space", their
                power to think and to act.

                Let's take a very simple example: the "discussion" between the
                supporters of intelligent design and the vast majority of the
                scientific community.

                You could say, Terry, in your mode of thinking: What do we know of
                the forces of evolution outside of our experience. We can collect and
                study the remains of fossils all we like. Each faction has its own
                perception of the things in question. Let's look inside ourselves and
                let them quarrel about their vain, needles things. Etc.

                But:
                How ever the theory of evolution may change in the future – there are
                points of no return marked by the common notions of the scientific
                community. And from this field the idea of a purposeful creation is
                once and for all excluded. This exclusion is at the same time
                the "inclusivity" of rational discourse and of all who are able to
                speak that language and express their knowledge by it. On the other
                hand the discourse of the IDers only makes sense in the "obscure
                light" of their imagination, defending their imaginary
                community by attacking the freedom to philosophise, the freedom of
                science.
                There are similar struggles going on in many fields (culture,
                history, "economy", etc.) that concern the
                lives and the fate of us all.

                If it happens to a Spinozist to take part in such struggles, I
                believe and I hope that he or she joins gladly the path of
                confrontation and not the seemingly wise path of detachment (the cave
                or island inside his/her monadic mind). We can conceive such a
                confrontation as a fragment of the never ending struggle
                to extend the fundaments of human live in this world, to prepare a
                common world for all, against all forms of bondage – emotional,
                intellectual or material. In participating in this eternal revolution
                we discover our own eternity.

                According to

                E5P42==
                Blessedness is not the reward of virtue, but virtue itself …
                ==

                and

                E5P41dem==
                The first and only, foundation of virtue, or the rule of right living
                is (IV. xxii. Coroll. and xxiv.) seeking one's own true interest.
                Now, while we determined what reason prescribes as useful, we took
                no account of the mind's eternity, which has only become known to us
                in this Fifth Part. Although we were ignorant at that time that the
                mind is eternal, we nevertheless stated that the qualities
                attributable to courage and high-mindedness are of primary
                importance. Therefore, even if we were still ignorant
                of this doctrine, we should yet put the aforesaid precepts of reason
                in the first place. Q.E.D.
                ==

                Best regards
                hans
              • Terry Neff
                Hi Hans, We seem to each have a different focus in regard to the Ethics. It seems to me that you come to the Ethics with your own agenda and focus on social
                Message 7 of 26 , Jul 12, 2006
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                  Hi Hans,

                  We seem to each have a different focus in regard to the Ethics. It seems
                  to me that you come to the Ethics with your own agenda and focus on social
                  and economic forces first and only look to the Ethics as it might support
                  your interest in such things.

                  You say for instance:

                  > Terry, it seems to me that you draw absolute individualistic
                  > (the individual as a monad, confined to static bodily limits)
                  > conclusions from
                  >
                  > E2P13==
                  > The object of the idea constituting the human mind is the body,
                  > in other words a certain mode of extension which actually exists,
                  > and nothing else.
                  ==
                  >
                  > In your argumentation you pass very quickly from the negative
                  > aspects of imagination to your (individualistic) understanding of
                  > blessedness. You seem to ignore the lessons particularly from the
                  > third part of the Ethics where - via a theory of the imitation of
                  > affects - Spinoza develops a theory of "sociability". With E3P21
                  > Spinoza enters into a new field of investigation: the field of
                  > relations among humans insofar as they show affects and take
                  > each other as objects of those affects.

                  These lessons Spinoza presents in Part 3 and which he continues into
                  Part 4 show that such things as the imitation of the affects to which you
                  refer and also, as you say, his theory of "sociability" all involve passive
                  affects from which in Parts 4 and 5 he shows we can free ourselves. He does
                  not say, and neither do I although you seem to infer that I do, that we are
                  to somehow withdraw ourselves from external things either by ignoring them
                  or perhaps locking ourselves mentally into some solitary fortress against
                  the world. What he does go on to show, after carefully explaining how all
                  these passive states work, is such things as:

                  ====== E4: PROP. 35 (my CAPS -TNeff):
                  In so far ONLY as men live in obedience to REASON, do they always
                  necessarily agree in nature.

                  Proof.--In so far as men are assailed by emotions that are PASSIONS, they
                  can be different in nature (E4P33), and at variance one with another [by
                  E4P34]. But men are only said to be ACTIVE, in so far as they act in
                  obedience to REASON (E3P3); therefore, whatsoever follows from human nature
                  in so far as it is defined by REASON must (E3D2) be understood solely
                  through human nature as its proximate cause. But, since every man by the
                  laws of his nature desires that which he deems good, and endeavours to
                  remove that which he deems bad (E4P19); and further, since that which we, in
                  accordance with REASON, deem good or bad, necessarily is good or bad
                  (E2P41); it follows that men, in so far as they live in obedience to REASON,
                  necessarily do only such things as are necessarily good for human nature,
                  and consequently for each individual man (E4P31C); in other words, such
                  things as are in harmony with each man's nature. Therefore, men in so far as
                  they live in obedience to REASON, necessarily live always in harmony one
                  with another. Q.E.D.
                  ====== Corollary 1:
                  --There is no individual thing in nature, which is more useful to man, than
                  a man who lives in obedience to reason.
                  ====== Corollary 2:
                  --As every man seeks most that which is useful to him, so are men most
                  useful one to another.
                  ======

                  So, in the world of social and economic forces, etc. how much REASON do
                  we find driving ourselves and the individuals involved? Do the we or the
                  other individuals involved in such things "always necessarily agree in
                  nature?

                  ...he goes on to say:

                  ====== E4: PROP. 37, Note 1:
                  --He who, guided by [PASSIVE] emotion only, endeavours to cause others to
                  love what he loves himself, and to make the rest of the world live according
                  to his own fancy, acts solely by impulse, and is, therefore, hateful,
                  especially to those who take delight in something different, and accordingly
                  study and, by similar impulse, endeavour, to make men live in accordance
                  with what pleases themselves. Again, as the highest good sought by men under
                  the guidance of emotion is often such, that it can only be possessed by a
                  single individual, it follows that those who love it are not consistent in
                  their intentions, but, while they delight to sing its praises, fear to be
                  believed.

                  But he, who endeavours to lead men by REASON, does not act by impulse but
                  courteously and kindly, and his intention is always consistent.
                  ======

                  ...so, how does Spinoza show that we can free ourselves from the harmful
                  effects of passive emotions? He addresses Freedom and Blessedness in Part 5:

                  ====== E5: Preface:
                  At length I pass to the remaining portion of my Ethics, which is
                  concerned with the way leading to freedom. I shall therefore treat therein
                  of the power of the REASON, showing how far the REASON can control the
                  emotions, and what is the nature of Mental Freedom or Blessedness; we shall
                  then be able to see, how much more powerful the wise man is than the
                  ignorant....
                  ======

                  ...where, for one thing, he shows that:

                  ====== 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.

                  Proof.--That, which constitutes the reality of love or hatred, is pleasure
                  or pain, accompanied by the idea of an external cause (Def. of the Emotions,
                  E3DOE6 and E3DOE7); wherefore, when this cause is removed, the reality of
                  love or hatred is removed with it; therefore these emotions and those which
                  arise therefrom are destroyed. Q.E.D.
                  ======

                  ...and he later summarizes the mind's power over the passive emotions in the
                  following note. With regard to what you see as my "ignoring the lessons of
                  Part 3" notice in particular item 2:

                  ====== E5: PROP. 20, Note:
                  --We can in the same way show, that there is no emotion directly contrary to
                  this love, whereby this love can be destroyed; therefore we may conclude,
                  that this love towards God is the most constant of all the emotions, and
                  that, in so far as it is referred to the body, it cannot be destroyed,
                  unless the body be destroyed also. As to its nature, in so far as it is
                  referred to the mind only, we shall presently inquire.

                  I have now gone through all the remedies against the emotions, or all
                  that the mind, considered in itself alone, can do against them. Whence it
                  appears that the mind's power over the emotions consists:--

                  1. In the actual knowledge of the emotions (E5P4CN).
                  2. In the fact that it separates the emotions from the thought of an
                  EXTERNAL CAUSE, which we conceive confusedly (E5P2 and E5P4CN).
                  3. In the fact, that, in respect to time, the emotions referred to
                  things, which we distinctly understand, surpass those referred to what we
                  conceive in a confused and fragmentary manner (E5P7).
                  4. In the number of causes whereby those modifications [Affectiones] are
                  fostered, which have regard to the common properties of things or to God
                  (E5P9 and E5P11).
                  5. Lastly, in the order wherein the mind can arrange and associate, one
                  with another, its own emotions ([E5P10] E5P10N and E5P12, E5P13, E5P14).
                  ...
                  ======

                  As for what you say about the imagination:

                  > For me the question is what use we make of imagination,
                  > how we philosophise with imagination, not against it.

                  Spinoza does point out how to use the imagination, "so long as we do not
                  possess a perfect knowledge of our emotions", in order to attain to a life
                  of Reason and Blessedness:

                  ====== E5: PROP. 10, Note:
                  --By this power of rightly arranging and associating the bodily
                  modifications we can guard ourselves from being easily affected by evil
                  emotions. For (E5P7) a greater force is needed for controlling the emotions,
                  when they are arranged and associated according to the intellectual order,
                  than when they are uncertain and unsettled. The best we can do, therefore,
                  so long as we do not possess a perfect knowledge of our emotions, is to
                  frame a system of right conduct, or fixed practical precepts, to commit it
                  to memory, and to apply it forthwith to the particular circumstances which
                  now and again meet us in life, so that our imagination may become fully
                  imbued therewith, and that it may be always ready to our hand....

                  ...Thus he who would govern his emotions and appetite solely by the love of
                  freedom strives, as far as he can, to gain a knowledge of the virtues and
                  their causes, and to fill his spirit with the joy which arises from the true
                  knowledge [REASON and INTUITION, not IMAGINATION] of them: he will in no
                  wise desire to dwell on men's faults, or to carp at his fellows, or to revel
                  in a false show of freedom. Whosoever will diligently observe and practise
                  these precepts (which indeed are not difficult) will verily, in a short
                  space of time, be able, for the most part, to direct his actions according
                  to the commandments of REASON [not according to the commandments of passive
                  emotion involving IMAGINATION -TNeff].
                  ======

                  ...but other than this use of the IMAGINATION Spinoza points out that it is
                  "of little importance" and may become "insignificant" for those who are able
                  to follow his meaning and aim as expressed in the Ethics:

                  ====== E5: PROP. 38, Note:
                  ...the human mind can attain to being of such a nature, that the part
                  thereof which we have shown to perish with the body (E5P21) [IMAGINATION and
                  MEMORY -TNeff] should be of little importance when compared with the part
                  which endures. But I will soon treat of the subject at greater length.
                  ====== E5: PROP. 39, Note:
                  ...In this life, therefore, we primarily endeavour to bring it about, that
                  the body of a child, in so far as its nature allows and conduces thereto,
                  may be changed into something else capable of very many activities, and
                  referable to a mind which is highly conscious of itself, of God, and of
                  things; and we desire so to change it, that what is referred to its
                  IMAGINATION and MEMORY [my emphasis -TNeff] may become insignificant, in
                  comparison with its intellect [REASON and INTUITION -TNeff], as I have
                  already said in the note to the last Proposition (E5P38N).
                  ======

                  So, who's confused ideas do we need to examine and to endeavour to
                  clarify if not our own? If we don't first come to live our own lives
                  according to Reason, rather than being led by passive emotions, then how
                  might we help others to do so? It seems to me that Spinoza's aim is to help
                  others come to clarify their own confusions and to thereby come to live
                  under the guidance of Reason and hopefully to attain to Blessedness even as
                  he apparently did for himself. But you say:

                  > If it happens to a Spinozist to take part in such struggles,
                  > I believe and I hope that he or she joins gladly the path of
                  > confrontation and not the seemingly wise path of detachment
                  > (the cave or island inside his/her monadic mind).

                  You have apparently completely reversed the analogy with the cave as I
                  used it. In our Imagination the shadows on the cave wall, as confused
                  presentments of external things, are not the goal Spinoza is after and they
                  do not represent reality to our mind according to him. The point is that, by
                  analogy, these "external things" are what we cling to as though they are
                  reality even though they are only products of our own detached "monadic"
                  imagination or shadows on the wall of our own cave. You seem to want to
                  discuss such things as they appear to you on your cave wall rather than
                  examine the nature of the cave (imagination) in order to free ourselves from
                  it so as to come to know "reality outside the cave" to continue the analogy.

                  You also seem to confuse what Spinoza refers to as the "common notions"
                  as the bases of Reason. Reason, as he uses the term, is based on those
                  "things common to all" and which, contrary to what you apparently believe,
                  we do not develop at all from examining "the common conditions" of external
                  life. You wrote:

                  > ...if we get a knowledge of the common conditions we are
                  > exposed to we are able to develop common notions,
                  > adequate ideas, conceptions - even though the actual
                  > modification of each body remains confined to this singular body

                  But those _common notions_ Spinoza refers to as the bases of Reason are
                  just that, common to all things, not developed by examining some particular
                  external conditions through our senses whether social, economic, religious,
                  technological, medical, etc. They are inherent in all things and do not
                  constitute the essence of any particular thing and so these notions must, by
                  nature, be the same in all minds regardless of what particular external
                  conditions it imagines:

                  ====== E2: PROP. 37:
                  That which is common to all (cf. E2P13L2), and which is equally in a
                  part and in the whole, does not constitute the essence of any particular
                  thing.
                  ====== E2: PROP. 38:
                  Those things, which are common to all, and which are equally in a part
                  and in the whole, cannot be conceived except adequately.
                  ====== Corollary:
                  --Hence it follows that there are certain ideas or notions common to all
                  men.
                  ======
                  E2: PROP. 39:
                  That, which is common to and a property of the human body and such other
                  bodies as are wont to affect the human body, and which is present equally in
                  each part of either, or in the whole, will be represented by an adequate
                  idea in the mind.
                  ======

                  If, by discussing here the social and economic forces, etc. affecting
                  our lives you can show how, as individuals, we might come to an adequate
                  idea of our own emotions and to learn to live under the guidance of Reason
                  and attain to Blessedness which Spinoza states is his aim then please do
                  proceed to present your ideas.

                  Best Regards,
                  Terry
                • Ethel Jean (Kowan) Saltz
                  Well, reading this interesting discussion, I find it valuable that you ve pointed out that Baruch mentions the brain specifically. Now separating the mind
                  Message 8 of 26 , Jul 13, 2006
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                    Well, reading this interesting discussion, I find it valuable that you've
                    pointed out that Baruch mentions the brain specifically. Now separating the
                    "mind" from the "brain" is still an ongoing debate in every culture that I
                    know of. I can't separate "mind" from "brain". So I will always be
                    challenged by all that do this in politics and science and spirituality.
                    This now firms up my first inquiry when anyone talks about philosophy. I
                    will ask the individual first, "Do you believe the brain is separate from
                    the mind or do you believe the mind is only inside the brain?" This will
                    even be necessary in order to discuss anything at all with my own adult
                    children. It certainly will stop a lot of unnecessary passionate arguments
                    which lead to unhealthy words. Thanks for this wonderful insight.

                    Does Baruch define "mind" and does Baruch define "brain"? Can you both
                    develop a list of citations which then we could all see as a basis for this
                    discussion. Seems that's the skeleton of all that you have said. Simply
                    produce a list of Part/Propositions which define "brain" and "mind". Slow
                    reading discussions can't be simply based on a single snapshot of ETHICS,
                    but taken with respect to the whole. Doesn't this Yahoo group (I'm not on
                    the web site right now) have a file section that we can upload such a list
                    of simply citations that we all can refer to?). Much like citations of
                    anyone's bible using simply Book/Chapter/Verse. (I do this too with the
                    Koran: Sura/verse.)

                    I'm not being lazy. It's just that I have my own projects along this line
                    with simply getting the whole world to recognize the Torah Scrolls as being
                    the basis for all the Middle East violence that's going on. It's even a
                    problem within Judaism itself, much less expanding out to Christianity and
                    Islam;) I even used this as the subject of my Spring/2001 composition. WHO
                    AM I? ABRAHAM OR IBRAHIM? ISMAIL OR ISAAC? Using the definitions of brain
                    and mind is involved in the answer to this composition;)

                    This discussion of "brain" and "mind" is extremely valuable. We may never
                    agree, which is the point Baruch, in general, makes all over ETHICS. Until
                    we agree, we will forever die without peace. It certainly has been a sore
                    point even in my health maintenance, doctors don't even agree about this and
                    are passionate about their beliefs. Presentations on "Power" are based on
                    this. Even legal terminations of life are based on this. Living
                    will/directives are based on this.

                    So you have helped me with this discussion in resolving a basic
                    communications problem I have with my own children. even my own doctors.
                    I'm changing doctors and from now on I'm going to ask them this question.
                    It'll help a lot. Oh yes, I'm a "brain" addict. It's my "Intel" that
                    controls everything I do. When they talk about molecular computers, well
                    for me it already exists. The human being is a molecular computer and the
                    brain is the "Intel processor".
                    That works for me and how I read every word of every text.

                    NOW, because of this brain of mine, I have been relieved of all doubt.
                    Finally the other day on tv, I found that the current science says this
                    about all matter. Hydrogen is involved in 90 percent of all matter and
                    Helium the other 10 percent. Helium evolved from Hydrogen. So for me,
                    ETHICS definition of Prime Mover = God doesn't change. (Only I do what he
                    couldn't possibly do in his own time, I don't use the label "GOD", I use the
                    label "Y'H'V'H". We will never know if he agrees with me will we? I simply
                    think that he wished he could have been as accurate as I am;) (He did write
                    a popular Hebrew grammar which exists even today and I can't get.)

                    So even the two sources, one the web and the other tv, say Hydrogen is #ONE
                    and also point out that doesn't change theology because we probably never
                    will really KNOW how Hydrogen came to be.

                    Isn't it a profanity that we can't discuss all this with all these USA young
                    folks who are dying in the Middle East where they are forbidden to discuss
                    all this. My brain says this doesn't make sense at all and is very, very
                    Horrible!! How are we using Baruch's "GOD" in the USA. It's more than oil.
                    It really boils down to two words "brain" and "mind"?

                    Ethel Jean (Kowan) Saltz
                    THE BIBLE UNEARTHED
                    YHWH 600BCE - 600CE
                  • Terry Neff
                    Hi Ethel and All, ... You go on to ask for a list of citations from Spinoza s writings involving his definitions of mind and brain yet you seem not to
                    Message 9 of 26 , Jul 13, 2006
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                      Hi Ethel and All,

                      You wrote:

                      > Well, reading this interesting discussion, I find it valuable that
                      > you've pointed out that Baruch mentions the brain specifically.
                      > Now separating the "mind" from the "brain" is still an ongoing
                      > debate in every culture that I know of. I can't separate "mind"
                      > from "brain". So I will always be challenged by all that do this
                      > in politics and science and spirituality. This now firms up my
                      > first inquiry when anyone talks about philosophy. I will ask the
                      > individual first, "Do you believe the brain is separate from
                      > the mind or do you believe the mind is only inside the brain?"
                      > This will even be necessary in order to discuss anything at all
                      > with my own adult children. It certainly will stop a lot of
                      > unnecessary passionate arguments which lead to unhealthy
                      > words. Thanks for this wonderful insight.
                      <snip>

                      You go on to ask for a list of citations from Spinoza's writings
                      involving his definitions of mind and brain yet you seem not to have made
                      any attempt yourself even though you go on to say:

                      > This discussion of "brain" and "mind" is extremely valuable.

                      ...which leads me to wonder why you don't make time for it yourself?, and
                      then you also say:

                      > We may never agree, which is the point Baruch, in general,
                      > makes all over ETHICS.

                      ...which also makes me wonder if you've ever thought about what Spinoza
                      shows, by Reason, and which I included in my last post:

                      ====== E4: PROP. 35 (my CAPS -TNeff):
                      In so far only as men live in obedience to reason, do they always
                      necessarily agree in nature.
                      ...
                      ======

                      So, you seem to assume that "we" (by which you perhaps mean all of
                      humanity?) may never learn to Reason as did Spinoza and others and so to
                      come, to that extent anyway, to agree in nature. Perhaps you are doing what
                      many others seem to do and just hoping that everyone else in the world will
                      come to think as you do so that you won't have to change your own thinking
                      :-)

                      To provide some food for thought with regard to your mind and brain
                      (body) question the following was part of my response to someone in a
                      private email exchange with regard to what Spinoza refers to as:

                      ======= E5: PROP. 20, Note:
                      ...those matters, which appertain to the duration of the mind, without
                      relation to the body.
                      =======

                      ********* Begin text of email message ********:
                      [snip]...

                      Your reference to:

                      ======== E2: PROP. 8:
                      The ideas of particular things, or of modes, that do not exist, must be
                      comprehended in the infinite idea of God, in the same way as the formal
                      essences of particular things or modes are contained in the attributes of
                      God.

                      Proof.--This proposition is evident from the last E2P7; it is understood
                      more clearly from the preceding note E2P7CN.
                      ========

                      ...and to your difficulty in comprehending adequately Spinoza's meaning,
                      reflects my own experience over the years with that same proposition. I
                      would read it over and over and would think things like; "Wait, he just got
                      finished showing that the order and connection of ideas is the same as the
                      order and connection of things (E2P7 -which he writes is evident from E1A4,
                      another somewhat perplexing statement) so how can there be any idea without
                      a 'thing' (in our case a body), of which it is the idea?" He even offers
                      this same proposition (E2P7) as evidence in the proof of E2P8! What the heck
                      is he talking about here? He goes on however to show more of what he means
                      when he writes:

                      ======= E2: PROP. 8, Corollary:
                      --Hence, so long as particular things do not exist, except in so far as they
                      are comprehended in the attributes of God, their representations in thought
                      or ideas do not exist, except in so far as the infinite idea of God exists;
                      and when particular things are said to exist, not only in so far as they are
                      involved in the attributes of God, but also in so far as they are said to
                      continue, their ideas will also involve existence, through which they are
                      said to continue.
                      =======

                      So he seems to be distinguishing between 'ideas of particular things'
                      which exist only ("...do not exist, except...") as they are comprehended in
                      the infinite idea of God and those 'ideas of particular things' which, in
                      addition ("...not only in so far as..."), involve existence through which
                      they are said to continue.

                      It might help to clarify what he wrote here in the Ethics by looking at
                      a part of his explanation near the beginning of Chapter 2 - Of Natural Right
                      in his unfinished Political Treatise. Although he there goes on to discuss
                      the power of individual things to exist and operate, he starts his
                      explanation with:

                      ======= PT2-P02:
                      Any natural thing whatever can be just as well conceived, whether it
                      exists or does not exist. As then the beginning of the existence of natural
                      things cannot be inferred from their definition, so neither can their
                      continuing to exist. For their ideal essence is the same, after they have
                      begun to exist, as it was before they existed....
                      =======

                      Now, returning to the Ethics, if we look to where Spinoza refers back to
                      E2P8 and Corollary in Part 5 of the Ethics he shows:

                      ======= E5: PROP. 21:
                      The mind can only imagine anything, or remember what is past, while the
                      body endures.

                      Proof.--The mind does not express the actual existence of its body, nor does
                      it imagine the modifications of the body as actual, except while the body
                      endures (E2P8C); and, consequently (E2P26), it does not imagine any body as
                      actually existing, except while its own body endures. Thus it cannot imagine
                      anything (for definition of Imagination, see E2P17CN), or remember things
                      past, except while the body endures (see definition of memory E2P18N).
                      Q.E.D.
                      =======

                      He refers to the actual existence of our particular body as it endures
                      as being involved in our imagination of any body and in our memory. When the
                      actual parts of our actually existent body lose their particular proportion
                      of motion and rest, that is, when our body dies, our mind no longer imagines
                      or remembers anything. However, he immediately follows with:

                      ======= E5: PROP. 22:
                      Nevertheless in God there is necessarily an idea, which expresses the
                      essence of this or that human body under the form of eternity.

                      Proof.--God is the cause, not only of the existence of this or that human
                      body, but also of its essence (E1P25). This essence, therefore, must
                      necessarily be conceived through the very essence of God (E1A4), and be thus
                      conceived by a certain eternal necessity (E1P16); and this conception must
                      necessarily exist in God (E2P3). Q.E.D.
                      =======

                      Notice that he is not here concerned with the actual existence of our
                      particular body but with the idea of its essence "under the form of
                      eternity" and he ends the proof with E2P3:

                      ======= E2: PROP. 3:
                      In God there is necessarily the idea not only of his essence, but also
                      of all things which necessarily follow from his essence.

                      Proof.--God (by E2P1) can think an infinite number of things in infinite
                      ways, or (what is the same thing, by E1P16) can form the idea of his
                      essence, and of all things which necessarily follow therefrom. Now all that
                      is in the power of God necessarily is. (E1P35) Therefore, such an idea as we
                      are considering necessarily is, and in God alone. Q.E.D. (E1P15)
                      =======

                      ...in which it is shown that there must be an idea of each and every one of
                      the infinite number of things which follow from the necessity of the divine
                      nature and which fall within the sphere of infinite intellect (and how could
                      this not include the idea of our particular essence whether our body exists
                      or not?):

                      ======= E1: PROP. 16:
                      From the necessity of the divine nature must follow an infinite number
                      of things in infinite ways--that is, all things which can fall within the
                      sphere of infinite intellect.
                      =======

                      Returning to Part 5 he goes on to show that this idea which expresses
                      our particular essence "under the form of eternity" is necessarily part of
                      our mind and this idea cannot be destroyed with the body:

                      ======= E5: PROP. 23:
                      The human mind cannot be absolutely destroyed with the body, but there
                      remains of it something which is eternal.

                      Proof.--There is necessarily in God a concept or idea, which expresses the
                      essence of the human body (last Prop. E5P22), which, therefore, is
                      necessarily something appertaining to the essence of the human mind (E2P13).
                      But we have not assigned to the human mind any duration, definable by time,
                      except in so far as it expresses the actual existence of the body, which is
                      explained through duration, and may be defined by time --that is (E2P8C), we
                      do not assign to it duration, except while the body endures. Yet, as there
                      is something, notwithstanding, which is conceived by a certain eternal
                      necessity through the very essence of God (last Prop. E5P22); this
                      something, which appertains to the essence of the mind, will necessarily be
                      eternal. Q.E.D.
                      =======

                      Notice that he again refers to E2P8C where he made the distinction
                      between ideas of nonexistent things and ideas of things which also involving
                      existence.

                      Now I'm sure that you have read all this before and I have done little
                      more than copy what he wrote and add some commentary which you may or may
                      not find useful. I know too that there are many people who try to show that
                      Spinoza only wrote the second half of Part 5 to satisfy the theologians or
                      for some other motive and that he did not actually intend "philosophers" to
                      spend any time with it. And it did seem like just a fantasy sometimes to me
                      as I struggled to make sense of it. Actually, I still struggle to Understand
                      the ideas expressed in this part but as my own mind has begun to catch
                      glimpses of its Eternal Essence I find myself now and then able to use this
                      part like the Treasure Map Spinoza seems to have intended. I do often fall
                      back into my own imagination and get caught in the trap of time and place as
                      I try to figure out again and again how to follow the map to Eternity which
                      "has nothing to do with time" as Spinoza points out. In that regard you may
                      have noticed the note following the above proposition and I have found it
                      very useful to keep what he writes there in mind:

                      ======= E5: PROP. 23, Note:
                      --This idea, which expresses the essence of the body under the form of
                      eternity, is, as we have said, a certain mode of thinking, which belongs to
                      the essence of the mind, and is necessarily eternal. Yet it is not possible
                      that we should remember that we existed before our body, for our body can
                      bear no trace of such existence, neither can eternity be defined in terms of
                      time, or have any relation to time. But, notwithstanding, we feel and know
                      that we are eternal. For the mind feels those things that it conceives by
                      understanding, no less than those things that it remembers. For the eyes of
                      the mind, whereby it sees and observes things, are none other than proofs.

                      Thus, although we do not remember that we existed before the body, yet we
                      feel that our mind, in so far as it involves the essence of the body, under
                      the form of eternity, is eternal, and that thus, its existence cannot be
                      defined in terms of time, or explained through duration. Thus our mind can
                      only be said to endure, and its existence can only be defined by a fixed
                      time, in so far as it involves the actual existence of the body. Thus far
                      only has it the power of determining the existence of things by time, and
                      conceiving them under the category of duration.
                      =======

                      ...as I also find useful this note a little farther on:

                      ======= E5: PROP. 31, Note:
                      ...But we must here observe that, although we are already certain that the
                      mind is eternal, in so far as it conceives things under the form of
                      eternity, yet, in order that what we wish to show may be more readily
                      explained and better understood, we will consider the mind itself, as though
                      it had just begun to exist and to understand things under the form of
                      eternity, as indeed we have done hitherto; this we may do without any danger
                      of error, so long as we are careful not to draw any conclusion, unless our
                      premisses are plain.
                      =======

                      I think I'll leave off this topic for now and go on to your second
                      question:

                      [The correspondent had indicated a difficulty also in understanding the
                      causal interaction between particular ideas. Causal interactions between
                      particular bodies seemed easier to comprehend as involving motion and rest
                      but this person had trouble with the causal interaction between particular
                      ideas and I responded with:]

                      I think that you may be near to answering your own question and so I
                      will offer just a few comments on what you wrote.

                      When I think of causal interaction I most often imagine some external
                      bodies like billiard balls on a table interacting, or gears in a running
                      clock, or the various parts of an internal combustion engine as it runs. In
                      other words, my imagination presents nice little examples of various bodies
                      constrained to move in some particular way. You offer a generalized
                      statement concerning bodies when you say:

                      "Bodies causally interact with other bodies via motion (motion being the
                      immediate infinite mode of extending)..."

                      ...and my imagination tends to agree with that. But may I suggest thinking a
                      bit more about what bodies themselves actually are according to Spinoza.
                      Perhaps we imagine bodies first of all to exist and then, in addition, we
                      imagine them as having an added property of motion or rest. Actually,
                      Spinoza shows that bodies themselves are nothing but motion and rest and
                      that we cannot adequately conceive of any body without first conceiving the
                      attribute of extension and then conceiving motion and rest as immediate
                      (nothing in between like "a body") modes of that attribute (see E2P13, Lemma
                      1 and 2).

                      I have found the contemplation of the second and third properties of the
                      Understanding at the end of The Improvement of the Understanding most
                      enlightening although I confess that for many years I just brushed over them
                      quickly thinking to myself something like; "Yes, yes, this is all very
                      clear, now let's get on with it.":

                      ======= TEI-P108(87):
                      ...
                      II. That it perceives certain things, or forms some ideas absolutely, some
                      ideas from others. Thus it forms the idea of quantity [I read this as the
                      attribute of extension, not some abstract measure -TNeff] absolutely,
                      without reference to any other thoughts; but ideas of motion it only forms
                      after taking into consideration the idea of quantity [extension].

                      III. Those ideas which the understanding forms absolutely express infinity;
                      determinate ideas are derived from other ideas. Thus in the idea of quantity
                      [extension], perceived by means of a cause, the quantity is determined, as
                      when a body is perceived to be formed by the motion of a plane, a plane by
                      the motion of a line, or, again, a line by the motion of a point. All these
                      are perceptions which do not serve toward understanding quantity
                      [extension], but only toward determining it. This is proved by the fact that
                      we conceive them as formed as it were by motion, yet this motion is not
                      perceived unless the quantity [extension] be perceived also; we can even
                      prolong the motion so as to form an infinite line, which we certainly could
                      not do unless we had an idea of infinite quantity [extension].
                      ...
                      =======

                      As to the causal interaction of ideas I think that what Spinoza wrote,
                      again in The Improvement of the Understanding, might be helpful to think
                      about:

                      ======= TEI-P33(33):
                      A true idea (for we possess a true idea) is something different from its
                      correlate (ideatum); thus a circle is different from the idea of a circle.
                      The idea of a circle, is not something having a circumference and a centre,
                      as a circle has; nor is the idea of a body that body itself. Now, as it is
                      something different from its correlate, it is capable of being understood
                      through itself; in other words, the idea, in so far as its actual essence
                      (essentia formalis) is concerned, may be the subject of another subjective
                      essence (essentia objectiva)....
                      =======

                      ...and then perhaps the following, where ideas are shown to involve
                      AFFIRMATION or NEGATION (my CAPS in the following):

                      ====== E2: PROP. 48, Note:
                      ...We must inquire, I say, whether there is in the mind any AFFIRMATION or
                      NEGATION beyond that, which the idea, in so far as it is an idea, involves.
                      On which subject see the following proposition, and (E2D3), lest the idea of
                      pictures should suggest itself. For by ideas I do not mean images such as
                      are formed at the back of the eye, or in the midst of the brain, but the
                      conceptions of thought.
                      ======

                      ...which leads into:

                      ======= E2: PROP. 49:
                      There is in the mind no volition or AFFIRMATION and NEGATION, save that
                      which an idea, inasmuch as it is an idea, involves.

                      Proof.--There is in the mind [by E2P48] no absolute faculty of positive or
                      negative volition, but only particular volitions, namely, this or that
                      AFFIRMATION, and this or that NEGATION. Now let us conceive a particular
                      volition, namely, the mode of thinking whereby the mind AFFIRMS, that the
                      three interior angles of a triangle are equal to two right angles.

                      This AFFIRMATION involves the conception or idea of a triangle, that is,
                      without the idea of a triangle it cannot be conceived. It is the same thing
                      to say, that the concept A must involve the concept B, as it is to say, that
                      A cannot be conceived without B. Further, this AFFIRMATION cannot be made
                      (E2A3) without the idea of a triangle. Therefore, this AFFIRMATION can
                      neither be nor be conceived, without the idea of a triangle.

                      Again, this idea of a triangle must involve this same AFFIRMATION,
                      namely, that its three interior angles are equal to two right angles.
                      Wherefore, and vice versa, this idea of a triangle can neither be nor be
                      conceived without this AFFIRMATION, therefore [by E2D2], this AFFIRMATION
                      belongs to the essence of the idea of a triangle, and is nothing besides.
                      What we have said of this volition (inasmuch as we have selected it at
                      random) may be said of any other volition, namely, that it is nothing but an
                      idea. Q.E.D.
                      =======

                      ...and again the AFFIRMATION or NEGATION that ideas involve is shown to be
                      different from the images of things or words which are put together by the
                      motion and rest of the body:

                      ====== E2: PROP. 49 Corollary, Note:
                      ...[I] warn my readers to make an accurate distinction between an idea, or
                      conception of the mind, and the images of things which we imagine. It is
                      further necessary that they should distinguish between idea and words,
                      whereby we signify things. These three--namely, images, words, and
                      ideas --are by many persons either entirely confused together, or not
                      distinguished with sufficient accuracy or care...

                      Those who think that ideas consist in images which are formed in us by
                      contact with external bodies, persuade themselves that the ideas of those
                      things, whereof we can form no mental picture, are not ideas, but only
                      figments, which we invent by the free decree of our will; they thus regard
                      ideas as though they were inanimate pictures on a panel, and, filled with
                      this misconception, do not see that an idea, inasmuch as it is an idea,
                      involves an AFFIRMATION or NEGATION.

                      Again, those who confuse words with ideas, or with the AFFIRMATION which
                      an idea involves, think that they can wish something contrary to what they
                      feel, affirm, or deny. This misconception will easily be laid aside by one,
                      who reflects on the nature of knowledge, and seeing that it in no wise
                      involves the conception of extension, will therefore clearly understand,
                      that an idea (being a mode of thinking) does not consist in the image of
                      anything, nor in words. The essence of words and images is put together by
                      bodily motions, which in no wise involve the conception of thought....
                      ======

                      As for the "Eternal and Infinite Intellect of God", Spinoza defines what
                      he means by that here:

                      ====== E5: PROP. 40 Corollary, Note:
                      --Such are the doctrines which I had purposed to set forth concerning the
                      mind, in so far as it is regarded without relation to the body; whence, as
                      also from E1P21 and other places, it is plain that our mind, in so far as it
                      understands, is an eternal mode of thinking, which is determined by another
                      eternal mode of thinking, and this other by a third, and so on to infinity;
                      so that all taken together at once constitute the eternal and infinite
                      intellect of God.
                      ======

                      I hope that the above might be useful to you but I must confess that I
                      feel I can do nothing to improve upon what Spinoza himself wrote and, as you
                      can see, all I can really do is restate a few things as they have seemed
                      significant along my own path toward greater Understanding and provide a few
                      comments.

                      ...[snip]
                      ************ End text of email message **********

                      Continuing response to Ethel:

                      As for the rest of what you write I confess that I can make little sense
                      out of it as related to Spinoza's Ethics. I especially find it difficult to
                      relate your statements about Hydrogen as "Prime Mover" which you had also
                      mentioned previously and so I'll just let others discuss this with you if
                      they feel so inclined and can somehow relate it to something that Spinoza
                      expresses in the Ethics.

                      Best Regards,
                      Terry
                    • Terry Neff
                      Hi Hans, ... So if we know that, and, as I pointed out very carefully my meaning when ... I did not write about the whole of the world of external bodies
                      Message 10 of 26 , Jul 14, 2006
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                        Hi Hans,

                        You wrote:

                        > I would rather say that it is misleading to draw conclusions
                        > from metaphors. Since Extension is in no way involved in
                        > the attribute of Thought there cannot be a literal meaning
                        > of inside/oudside.

                        ...and:

                        > We can literally speak of "external causes" in respect to
                        > our body, but only metaphorically in respect to our mind.
                        > There is no harm in the use of these metaphors if we know
                        > that.

                        So if we know that, and, as I pointed out very carefully my meaning when
                        I wrote what I did, how is it that you go on to say:

                        > But in my view it is in fact misleading to speak of a "dreamworld"
                        > and an "inner life" in opposition to it because it is a conclusion
                        > drawn from a metaphor and not from ideas (activity/passivity)
                        > expressed by them. This is exactly where we should be aware
                        > about the distinction between words and ideas. Additionally,
                        > to speak of "dreamworld" suggests a kind of liberation as
                        > detachment from and a refutation of this deceptive world as a whole.
                        >
                        > BTW: there is a logical objection to your dreamworld -idea. If
                        > the whole of the world of external bodies is a dream, then
                        > nothing is a dream. If all is pink, nothing is pink. So, we don't
                        > gain much.

                        I did not write about "the whole of the world of external bodies" being
                        a dream. You have misinterpreted or are misrepresenting what I wrote. I
                        wrote about our perception of such external things as we imagine them, not
                        about the actual world of actually existing external bodies (I've already
                        explained this before but I'll try again.) Here is what I wrote:

                        ---------- TNeff message, 6/11/2006:
                        For each individual human being on this planet, the entirety of their
                        perception of "history" and of "culture" and of "religion", etc., in so far
                        as these involve "external bodies" which are perceived confusedly as they
                        imagine them and not, as these perceptions actually involve, modes of their
                        own body, the entirety of these "things" I repeat, are nothing more than an
                        elaborate dream involving the motion and rest of each particular
                        individual's extremely complex body. All of the apparent clashes of
                        "culture", "religion", etc., and the destruction of one actual body by
                        another in the name of such things, only occur so long as the individuals
                        involved remain unaware of the nature of this dream "world" and mistake it
                        for reality.
                        ----------

                        You seem to simply ignore my qualification:

                        "...in so far as these involve 'external bodies' which are perceived
                        confusedly as they imagine them and not, as these perceptions actually
                        involve, modes of their own body,..."

                        Or perhaps you just assume, regardless of what I wrote, that I am
                        referring to the actually existent external bodies which have affected our
                        own body but if so then what do you believe Spinoza meant for us to
                        understand when he wrote...:

                        ====== E2: PROP. 16, Corollary 2:
                        --It follows, secondly, that the ideas, which we have of external bodies,
                        indicate rather the constitution of our own body than the nature of external
                        bodies.

                        I have amply illustrated this in the Appendix to Part 1
                        ======

                        ...if not that we often mistake, through our imagination, the modifications
                        of our own bodies for external bodies? He even refers to the Appendix of
                        Part 1 by which I take him to mean what he summarizes there as "...everyone
                        judges of things according to the state of his brain, or rather mistakes for
                        things the forms of his imagination." And, lest you object that imagination
                        refers only to the body, why did Spinoza refer to the MIND IMAGINING
                        external bodies in:

                        ======= E2: PROP. 26, Corollary:
                        --In so far as the human mind imagines an external body, it has not an
                        adequate knowledge thereof.
                        =======

                        I do not see how referring to this tendency as being like living in a
                        dream world could possibly be misleading to any careful reader. If you feel
                        you were mislead by my reference to a dream world then perhaps you now
                        understand my intent.

                        You also take exception and object to my use of such things as our
                        "inner life" in reference to the activities of our mind yet Spinoza again
                        seems to have no problem with such expressions as you can see below from the
                        Short Treatise:

                        ====== ST226-P10 (my CAPS -TNeff):
                        4. The effect of an immanent or INNER cause (which is all one to me)
                        cannot possibly pass away or change so long as this cause of it remains. For
                        such an effect, just as it is not produced by external causes, so also it
                        cannot be changed [by them]; following the third proposition. And since no
                        thing whatever can come to naught except through external causes, it is not
                        possible that this effect should be liable to perish so long as its cause
                        endures; following the second proposition.
                        ======

                        ...and:

                        ====== ST226-P14 (my CAPS -TNeff):
                        2. The TRUE UNDERSTANDING [does this not involve Thought only? -TNeff]
                        can never perish; for in itself it can have no cause to destroy itself,
                        following the second proposition. And as it did not emanate from external
                        causes, but from God, so it is not susceptible to any change through them,
                        following the third proposition. And since God has produced it [that is,
                        TRUE UNDERSTANDING] immediately and he is only an INNER cause, it follows
                        necessarily that it cannot perish so long as this [INNER] cause of it
                        remains, following the fourth proposition. Now this cause of it is eternal,
                        therefore it is too.
                        ======

                        Spinoza uses the phrase "in the mind" 26 times (by my count as
                        translated into English by Elwes and which I suppose you might want to
                        challenge) not including other variations on "in" and "mind". See for
                        instance:

                        ====== E2: PROP 40:
                        Whatsoever ideas IN THE MIND [ideae in mente] follow from ideas which are
                        therein adequate, are also themselves adequate.
                        ======

                        So, again, if you feel you were mislead by my reference to "inner life"
                        with regard to the mind then perhaps you now understand my intent, if not
                        then perhaps you might consider ignoring my posts.

                        Best Regards,
                        Terry
                      • Ethel Jean (Kowan) Saltz
                        Just to say thankyou Terry. You gave me exactly what I hoped for. It s a lot of material compressed in a small space so I m saving it for future mulling. My
                        Message 11 of 26 , Jul 15, 2006
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                          Just to say thankyou Terry. You gave me exactly what I hoped for. It's a
                          lot of material compressed in a small space so I'm saving it for future
                          mulling.

                          My first reaction in scanning is that Baruch only had metaphysics to prove
                          anything. I OTOH have physics/chemistry and now am armed with the "secure"
                          knowledge that Hydrogen is the Prime Mover and spawned Helium (between No.1
                          and No.2, all matter is accounted for plus the entire Periodic Table of
                          Elements). However what created the Prime Mover ;) Now Spinoza would have
                          loved all this 21st century quantum theory. I attribute the Hiroshima event
                          as the source for all this new knowledge. In my sixth grade, Mrs. Samenow
                          told us all about science: "There is a molecule and inside the molecule is
                          an atom and in your day and mine, we will never know what's inside the
                          atom." Six years later Hiroshima!! And now Hydrogen. Nothing metaphysical
                          about it. My knowledge will live after me. Baruch and Galileo were truly
                          21st century men without 21st century materials. In their day their brains
                          could only intuit because the data just wasn't there.

                          I'll give you an example in computers. Google is a miracle to me. I wrote
                          software for 26 years, 1967-1993. Searching techniques were part of my
                          first projects. Back in 1967 we discussed it all the time. It followed me
                          all throughout my software writing. Mathematically there were algorithms
                          which provided shortcuts. However, it turned out that implementing them
                          made the software slower than simply sorting and then writing software on
                          the results, one transaction at a time. Then two new hardware elements were
                          invented: the transistor and the silicon wafer. Voila, the miracle of
                          Google. All those algorithms really were true, they just needed the right
                          use of the Periodic
                          Table of Elements to invent matter that would prove they were true.



                          Ethel Jean (Kowan) Saltz
                          THE BIBLE UNEARTHED
                          YHWH 600BCE - 600CE
                        • Terry Neff
                          Hi Ethel, I do actually find the Periodic Table of the Elements ( periodic as it seems to reflect the apparent combinations and resonances of motion and rest
                          Message 12 of 26 , Jul 15, 2006
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                            Hi Ethel,

                            I do actually find the Periodic Table of the Elements ("periodic" as it
                            seems to reflect the apparent combinations and resonances of motion and rest
                            in extension) quite interesting and attractive as I do also find a detailed
                            depiction of the Frequency Spectrum involving various rates of change of
                            motion and rest. But I don't think any of that is important to Understanding
                            our own mind and "the union existing between the mind and the whole of
                            Nature."

                            Substance is not made up of modes but rather modes express Substance:

                            ======= E1: PROP. 25, Corollary:
                            -- Individual things are nothing but modifications of the attributes of God,
                            or modes by which the attributes of God are expressed in a fixed and
                            definite manner.
                            =======

                            Although I have little doubt that Spinoza would indeed be interested in
                            the science of our day if he had happened to have lived now I don't think
                            that would have changed his view that:

                            ===== E2: PROP. 10 Corollary, Note:
                            ...The nature of God, which should be reflected on first, inasmuch as it is
                            prior both in the order of knowledge and the order of nature, they have
                            taken to be last in the order of knowledge, and have put into the first
                            place what they call the objects of sensation;...
                            =====

                            ...or his view of abstract science involving measure, time, and number:

                            ======= Letter 29 (12) Spinoza to L. M. (Lewis Meyer):
                            ...Again, from the fact that we can limit duration and quantity at our
                            pleasure, when we conceive the latter [quantity] abstractedly as apart from
                            substance, and separate the former [duration] from the manner whereby it
                            flows from things eternal, there arise time and measure; time for the
                            purpose of limiting duration, measure for the purpose of limiting quantity,
                            so that we may, as far as is possible, the more readily imagine them.
                            Further, inasmuch as we separate the modifications of substance from
                            substance itself, and reduce them to classes, so that we may, as far as is
                            possible, the more readily imagine them, there arises number, whereby we
                            limit them. Whence it is clearly to be seen, that measure, time, and number,
                            are merely modes of thinking, or, rather, of imagining. It is not to be
                            wondered at, therefore, that all, who have endeavoured to understand the
                            course of nature by means of such notions, and without fully understanding
                            even them, have entangled themselves so wondrously, that they have at last
                            only been able to extricate themselves by breaking through every rule and
                            admitting absurdities even of the grossest kind. For there are many things
                            which cannot be conceived through the imagination but only through the
                            understanding, for instance, substance, eternity, and the like; thus, if
                            anyone tries to explain such things by means of conceptions which are mere
                            aids to the imagination, he is simply assisting his imagination to run away
                            with him. Nor can even the modes of substance ever be rightly understood, if
                            we confuse them with entities of the kind mentioned, mere aids of the reason
                            or imagination. In so doing we separate them from substance, and the mode of
                            their derivation from eternity, without which they can never be rightly
                            understood.
                            =======

                            Best Regards,
                            Terry
                          • Ethel Jean (Kowan) Saltz
                            Well, that s quite a revelation, Terry. Right now in my new home, I ve just finished putting up my new Periodic Table of Elements, my two different versions of
                            Message 13 of 26 , Jul 16, 2006
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                              Well, that's quite a revelation, Terry. Right now in my new home, I've just
                              finished putting up my new Periodic Table of Elements, my two different
                              versions of the Electro-Magnetic Radiation Spectrum, my custom made metal
                              circular sign of the Direct Current Circuits algorithms. I am woefully
                              deficient in the fourth aspect of universal data: Free Body Diagrams/Mass
                              Acceleration Diagrams. I just don't have time to figure out how to make it
                              a graphic representation. I didn't even know I needed FBD/MAD as basic to
                              physics. It was only when I took physics in 2000 in order to understand
                              accoustics in Music Theory that I found out all about FBD/MAD's. I remember
                              a fellow student that was next to me, muttering under his breath "I don't
                              know how anyone can understand all this if they didn't take physics in high
                              school." That's when I felt good about myself and reduced it all to
                              FBD/MAD's. So FBD/MAD's and DCC algorithms created Hydrogen? Think Baruch
                              might have deduced all this just from the methodology he was teaching in
                              ETHICS? You're the expert in application of ETHICS to universals, thank
                              goodness, I've met up with you.

                              BTW, the discussion of Brain/Mind is having some very good results in
                              livening up conversation in my own life. What would we do without ETHICS as
                              a basis for avoiding anarchy in communications?

                              Another BTW, as far as I'm concerned, we are being "spirit-ual", with
                              respect to the "breath of life".

                              Ethel Jean (Kowan) Saltz
                              THE BIBLE UNEARTHED
                              YHWH 600BCE - 600CE
                            • Terry Neff
                              Hi Ethel, ... Indeed, although I have never had these various tables in other than book sized format I do remember in school thinking that, if I could have
                              Message 14 of 26 , Jul 16, 2006
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                                Hi Ethel,

                                > Well, that's quite a revelation, Terry. Right now in my new home,
                                > I've just finished putting up my new Periodic Table of Elements,
                                > my two different versions of the Electro-Magnetic Radiation
                                > Spectrum, my custom made metal circular sign of the Direct
                                > Current Circuits algorithms.

                                Indeed, although I have never had these various tables in other than
                                book sized format I do remember in school thinking that, if I could have
                                afforded it, I would have liked to have one of the large window-shade like
                                pull-down versions of the Periodic Table (or the very detailed one that hung
                                on the wall in my college chemistry class which must have been 8 by 10 feet)
                                in my bedroom at home. Alas, I moved on to other things and "fell in love
                                with" computer programming (starting my career just two years after you did
                                it appears) and so today my walls are covered with such things as Mandelbrot
                                Set selections and other Fractal images plus a selection of families of
                                Hypo/Hyper-Cycloids, Lissajous figures, and other complex curve families,
                                etc., many created years ago on my old HP-85 and HP pen plotter.

                                I do still find these and other topics interesting although, as I said,
                                I do not believe we need to know much about them in order to Understand the
                                ideas expressed in Spinoza's Ethics and so if others here do not share our
                                common interest I would not want to burden or distract them by discussing
                                them too much here.

                                In our quest to Understand, we might keep the following in mind so as
                                not to get too sidetracked, however interesting these other topics may be:

                                ===== E4: PROP. 28:
                                The mind's highest good is the knowledge of God, and the mind's highest
                                virtue is to know God.

                                Proof.--The mind is not capable of understanding anything higher than God,
                                that is (E1D6), than a Being absolutely infinite, and without which (E1P15)
                                nothing can either be or be conceived; therefore (E4P26 and E4P27), the
                                mind's highest utility or (E4D1) good is the knowledge of God.

                                Again, the mind is active, only in so far as it understands [E3P1 and
                                E3P3], and only to the same extent can it be said absolutely to act
                                virtuously [by E4P23]. The mind's absolute virtue is therefore to
                                understand. Now, as we have already shown, the highest that the mind can
                                understand is God; therefore the highest virtue of the mind is to understand
                                or to know God. Q.E.D.
                                =====

                                Best Regards,
                                Terry
                              • Ethel Jean (Kowan) Saltz
                                Thank you for everything you ve just posted. Now back to reality in the 1600 s. At that time, there were influences as far as understanding the word God
                                Message 15 of 26 , Jul 16, 2006
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                                  Thank you for everything you've just posted. Now back to reality in the
                                  1600's.

                                  At that time, there were influences as far as understanding the word "God"
                                  even when using it as a definition. There's RaMBaM's influence, Muhammad's
                                  influence, Jesus's influence. I'm sure that Baruch understood all this as
                                  he wrote. Also, back then it was hard to even communicate. Whom do you
                                  trust? Everything gets censored. No different today as is shown by the
                                  workings of the separation of power in the USA:)

                                  So how in the world can anyone, even slow reading and discussing the word
                                  "God" really not get their hormones involved. I've noticed that some people
                                  really try hard, but they can't do it. Even mathematicians, even
                                  physicians. So even Baruch knew there was someone watching over his
                                  shoulder, human someones who were minders. Whistleblowing is penalized even
                                  today, I know that!! Can a Christian who knows God and talks about knowing
                                  God do so without having a picture of Jesus in his brain? I know for a fact
                                  that the USA Commander-In-Chief can't. But he's trying real hard;) Can a
                                  Muslim who knows God do so without a picture of Muhammad in his brain. I
                                  use the male term deliberately for simplification. Can Jews who know God do
                                  so without having a picture of RaMBaM in their brain? So how can any member
                                  who reads

                                  "Again, the mind is active, only in so far as it understands [E3P1 and
                                  E3P3], and only to the same extent can it be said absolutely to act
                                  virtuously [by E4P23]. The mind's absolute virtue is therefore to
                                  understand. Now, as we have already shown, the highest that the mind can
                                  understand is God; therefore the highest virtue of the mind is to understand
                                  or to know God. Q.E.D."

                                  be understood without declaring what is his religion? I can't understand
                                  anyone unless I know his religion. Try as they might, the most generous of
                                  moderators end up banning me because of this.
                                  I can use a couple of extracts from the Encyc Britannica to prove that "the
                                  words of God" are impossible to discuss because of all this and the history
                                  of the evolution of Hebrew and Arabic and Greek Languages.

                                  If you tell me you're Christian, then I put the image of Jesus in my brain,
                                  if you say you are Muslim then I put the image of Muhammad in my brain, if
                                  you say you are Jewish then I put the image of RaMBaM in my brain, if you
                                  say you are atheist then why are you discussing God in the first place, if
                                  you say you are Buddhist then I put the image of Buddha in my brain.

                                  But you have to buy into these conditions and be honest about it. I think
                                  Baruch couldn't ever say this outloud because he would have no one to talk
                                  to but himself. Remember, he learned that his dear friends were murdered
                                  for talking like this. Galileo was put under house arrest. That's the
                                  1600's for you. There are minders everywhere, in corporate America, in
                                  philosophical America, too. I've met them.

                                  Thus does Baruch mean that it doesn't make any difference, just stick with
                                  your image of God as the source of everything you know? Works for me then;)
                                  The one thing he couldn't say is be honest and declare up front your image
                                  of God. The Islam image of God can be explained traumatically by Ismail and
                                  the Jews and Christians use Isaac. Fighting words. What's interesting is
                                  that we don't know if Spinoza included the Muslims in his ETHICS. Are there
                                  any Muslim members in this group?
                                  Do they study Spinoza in any Mesopotamian country today?

                                  Ethel Jean (Kowan) Saltz
                                  THE BIBLE UNEARTHED
                                  YHWH 600BCE - 600CE
                                • nathan kyes
                                  Ethel... You wrote, The one thing he couldn t say is be honest and declare up front your image of God. I am learning about god. I have no image of God. If
                                  Message 16 of 26 , Jul 16, 2006
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                                    Ethel...

                                    You wrote, "The one thing he couldn't say is be honest and declare up front your image of God."

                                    I am learning about god. I have no image of God. If I was to use words to describe God they would be something like love, or everything. Though here, I say that is the connection that I desire with God. I understand that every image results because of God, but an image of god is limited to a fraction of what is a whole.

                                    I think Spinoza has no image of God, but worked on his connection with God. No doubt we know how he worked on that connection. It was within. To him, his connection was connected to his freedom, and that of his kind (humans.)

                                    Nathan

                                    "Ethel Jean (Kowan) Saltz" <macnietspingal@...> wrote:
                                    Thank you for everything you've just posted. Now back to reality in the
                                    1600's.

                                    At that time, there were influences as far as understanding the word "God"
                                    even when using it as a definition. There's RaMBaM's influence, Muhammad's
                                    influence, Jesus's influence. I'm sure that Baruch understood all this as
                                    he wrote. Also, back then it was hard to even communicate. Whom do you
                                    trust? Everything gets censored. No different today as is shown by the
                                    workings of the separation of power in the USA:)

                                    So how in the world can anyone, even slow reading and discussing the word
                                    "God" really not get their hormones involved. I've noticed that some people
                                    really try hard, but they can't do it. Even mathematicians, even
                                    physicians. So even Baruch knew there was someone watching over his
                                    shoulder, human someones who were minders. Whistleblowing is penalized even
                                    today, I know that!! Can a Christian who knows God and talks about knowing
                                    God do so without having a picture of Jesus in his brain? I know for a fact
                                    that the USA Commander-In-Chief can't. But he's trying real hard;) Can a
                                    Muslim who knows God do so without a picture of Muhammad in his brain. I
                                    use the male term deliberately for simplification. Can Jews who know God do
                                    so without having a picture of RaMBaM in their brain? So how can any member
                                    who reads

                                    "Again, the mind is active, only in so far as it understands [E3P1 and
                                    E3P3], and only to the same extent can it be said absolutely to act
                                    virtuously [by E4P23]. The mind's absolute virtue is therefore to
                                    understand. Now, as we have already shown, the highest that the mind can
                                    understand is God; therefore the highest virtue of the mind is to understand
                                    or to know God. Q.E.D."

                                    be understood without declaring what is his religion? I can't understand
                                    anyone unless I know his religion. Try as they might, the most generous of
                                    moderators end up banning me because of this.
                                    I can use a couple of extracts from the Encyc Britannica to prove that "the
                                    words of God" are impossible to discuss because of all this and the history
                                    of the evolution of Hebrew and Arabic and Greek Languages.

                                    If you tell me you're Christian, then I put the image of Jesus in my brain,
                                    if you say you are Muslim then I put the image of Muhammad in my brain, if
                                    you say you are Jewish then I put the image of RaMBaM in my brain, if you
                                    say you are atheist then why are you discussing God in the first place, if
                                    you say you are Buddhist then I put the image of Buddha in my brain.

                                    But you have to buy into these conditions and be honest about it. I think
                                    Baruch couldn't ever say this outloud because he would have no one to talk
                                    to but himself. Remember, he learned that his dear friends were murdered
                                    for talking like this. Galileo was put under house arrest. That's the
                                    1600's for you. There are minders everywhere, in corporate America, in
                                    philosophical America, too. I've met them.

                                    Thus does Baruch mean that it doesn't make any difference, just stick with
                                    your image of God as the source of everything you know? Works for me then;)
                                    The one thing he couldn't say is be honest and declare up front your image
                                    of God. The Islam image of God can be explained traumatically by Ismail and
                                    the Jews and Christians use Isaac. Fighting words. What's interesting is
                                    that we don't know if Spinoza included the Muslims in his ETHICS. Are there
                                    any Muslim members in this group?
                                    Do they study Spinoza in any Mesopotamian country today?

                                    Ethel Jean (Kowan) Saltz
                                    THE BIBLE UNEARTHED
                                    YHWH 600BCE - 600CE



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                                  • Terry Neff
                                    Hi Ethel, It seems to me that all that you refer to in your last message concerning God and religion expresses imagination (Knowledge of the First Kind),
                                    Message 17 of 26 , Jul 16, 2006
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                                      Hi Ethel,

                                      It seems to me that all that you refer to in your last message
                                      concerning "God" and "religion" expresses imagination (Knowledge of the
                                      First Kind), not Understanding (Knowledge of the Second or Third Kinds) and
                                      you seem to make a point of emphasizing that fact by saying such things as:

                                      > ...Now back to reality in the 1600's.
                                      >
                                      > At that time, there were influences as far as understanding the word
                                      > "God" even when using it as a definition.

                                      Words belong to the imagination only, Understanding involves adequate
                                      ideas, not words or images. Spinoza explains that he means an adequate idea
                                      of God in the Understanding as he defines it, not an imagination of "God"
                                      which someone may already have associated with the word.

                                      > So how in the world can anyone, even slow reading and discussing
                                      > the word "God" really not get their hormones involved.

                                      Although indeed emotions, that is confused ideas, may arise in a
                                      particular mind associated with discussions involving the word "God", again,
                                      these emotions involve the imagination of that particular individual, not
                                      Understanding. If they had an adequate idea of God in their mind, which is
                                      after all what Spinoza is helping us to come to for ourselves, they would,
                                      to that extent, be actively and not passively affected by emotion.

                                      > ...Can a Christian who knows God and talks about knowing
                                      > God do so without having a picture of Jesus in his brain?
                                      > ...Can a Muslim who knows God do so without a picture of
                                      > Muhammad in his brain.
                                      > ...Can Jews who know God do so without having a picture of
                                      > RaMBaM in their brain?
                                      > So how can any member who reads
                                      >
                                      > "Again, the mind is active, only in so far as it understands [E3P1
                                      > and E3P3], and only to the same extent can it be said absolutely
                                      > to act virtuously [by E4P23]. The mind's absolute virtue is therefore
                                      > to understand. Now, as we have already shown, the highest that the
                                      > mind can understand is God; therefore the highest virtue of the mind
                                      > is to understand or to know God. Q.E.D."
                                      >
                                      > be understood without declaring what is his religion? I can't understand
                                      > anyone unless I know his religion.

                                      When Spinoza writes "God" in the above quote he means God understood as
                                      he has explained his meaning of the word, not as imagined by a particular
                                      mind. If, when the Christian, Muslim, or Jew reads the word "God" in the
                                      Ethics, they do not understand, as Spinoza has explained, what he means by
                                      God but only imagines as you say then of course they are not at all
                                      following Spinoza's meaning. Spinoza warns us of this for instance when he
                                      writes:

                                      ====== E2: PROP. 3, Note:
                                      ...the power which is commonly attributed to God is not only human (as
                                      showing that God is conceived by the multitude as a man, or in the likeness
                                      of a man), but involves a negation of power. However, I am unwilling to go
                                      over the same ground so often. I would only beg the reader again and again,
                                      to turn over frequently in his mind what I have said in Part 1. from E1P16
                                      to the end. No one will be able to follow my meaning, unless he is
                                      scrupulously careful not to confound the power of God with the human power
                                      and right of kings.
                                      ======

                                      But you ask; "...how can any member who reads [Spinoza's words] be
                                      understood without declaring his religion?", which to me implies that you
                                      are interested in trying to understand the mind of that other person, not
                                      the ideas from Spinoza's Ethics being discussed. You even go on to say; "I
                                      can't understand anyone unless I know his religion" which again seems to
                                      indicate that you are not trying to understand Spinoza's ideas but the mind
                                      of the other person.

                                      You also say:

                                      > If you tell me you're Christian, then I put the image of Jesus in my
                                      > brain,if you say you are Muslim then I put the image of Muhammad
                                      > in my brain, if you say you are Jewish then I put the image of
                                      > RaMBaM in my brain, if you say you are atheist then why are you
                                      > discussing God in the first place, if you say you are Buddhist then
                                      > I put the image of Buddha in my brain.

                                      ...and, again, I do not understand how associating some particular image
                                      with some particular person helps you to understand the ideas expressed by
                                      Spinoza.

                                      I am interested in coming to understand my own nature as it derives
                                      (according to Spinoza) from God. To the extent that you and others seek also
                                      to understand your own nature, Spinoza shows that we will come to see that
                                      we truly do agree in nature regardless of the differences in our particular
                                      imaginations. As I pointed out previously, Spinoza shows that:

                                      ====== E4: PROP. 35:
                                      In so far only as men live in obedience to reason, do they always
                                      necessarily agree in nature.
                                      ====== Corollary 1:
                                      --There is no individual thing in nature, which is more useful to man, than
                                      a man who lives in obedience to reason.
                                      ====== Corollary 2:
                                      --As every man seeks most that which is useful to him, so are men most
                                      useful one to another.
                                      ======

                                      ...and, lest you think I meant that I am not also interested in helping you
                                      and others to understand Spinoza's ideas, as far as I understand them, and
                                      as far as I might be able:

                                      ====== E4: PROP. 37:
                                      The good which every man, who follows after virtue, desires for himself
                                      he will also desire for other men, and so much the more, in proportion as he
                                      has a greater knowledge of God.

                                      Proof.--Men, in so far as they live in obedience to reason, are most useful
                                      to their fellow men (E4P35C1); therefore (E4P19), we shall in obedience to
                                      reason necessarily endeavour to bring about that men should live in
                                      obedience to reason. But the good which every man, in so far as he is guided
                                      by reason, or, in other words, follows after virtue [by E4P24], desires for
                                      himself, is to understand (E4P26); wherefore the good, which each follower
                                      of virtue seeks for himself, he will desire also for others.

                                      Again, desire, in so far as it is referred to the mind, is the very
                                      essence of the mind (E3DOE1); now the essence of the mind consists in
                                      knowledge (E2P11), which involves the knowledge of God (E2P47), and without
                                      it (E1P15), can neither be, nor be conceived; therefore, in proportion as
                                      the mind's essence involves a greater knowledge of God, so also will be
                                      greater the desire of the follower of virtue, that other men should possess
                                      that which he seeks as good for himself.--Q.E.D.
                                      ======

                                      Best Regards,
                                      Terry
                                    • Ethel Jean (Kowan) Saltz
                                      Well the word love. For me before I love I must have peace and before I am peaceful I must know the truth. So it s Emet - Shalom - Ahava to use Baruch s
                                      Message 18 of 26 , Jul 18, 2006
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                                        Well the word love. For me before I love I must have peace and before I am
                                        peaceful I must know the truth.

                                        So it's Emet ->Shalom ->Ahava to use Baruch's childhood knowledge language.
                                        Isn't that what he's saying about knowing God?

                                        I don't start with love, I can't. I start with truth. So when the New
                                        Testament uses the word "Law" you do know it refers to the Torah Scrolls and
                                        when the Koran uses the word Law it does refer to the Torah Scrolls.

                                        Can you imagine Spinoza writing this to the small group of folks who would
                                        even communicate with him, mostly people who think Love and God are
                                        freebies. He understood how his friends KNOW GOD. No worrying about truth.
                                        Love is not a truth for me. It doesn't exist until everyone knows that in
                                        the entire bible Torah/Law/Taurat are the same thing and originated in
                                        Hebrew. Now is this scientifically true or not? Remember, Baruch was
                                        unhappily isolated from all his own childhood education. He never rejected
                                        it. It just had to go on trucking. I know what that's like. Remember he
                                        had to tow the Christian POV on God to even talk to anyone. The Christians
                                        couldn't get him to teach either. You do know the Jews wanted him to teach
                                        but they told him you can't express your own views on the Bible. I can and
                                        do. Gets me in loads of trouble and isolated too. I'm forced to listen on
                                        lectures on love:)

                                        Ethel Jean (Kowan) Saltz
                                        THE BIBLE UNEARTHED
                                        YHWH 600BCE - 600CE
                                      • ethel jean (kowan) saltz
                                        The discussions are very therapeutic for me as I watch the mayhem in the name of God s love in God s original country. All fighting over Isaac and Ismail. I
                                        Message 19 of 26 , Jul 18, 2006
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                                          The discussions are very therapeutic for me as I watch the mayhem in
                                          the name of God's love in God's original country. All fighting over
                                          Isaac and Ismail.

                                          I started thinking about my own religious education which was
                                          Orthodox Judaism. Just like Spinoza's. The difference is he had a
                                          father and I didn't. My mom wasn't interested in religion at all
                                          having been brought up in Orthodox Judaism when women really didn't
                                          get the equal education I got. She made me go to Hebrew School when
                                          she found out they were teaching Christianity in public school. So
                                          anti-semitism helped me become Jewishly oriented. Her father helped
                                          start the SouthEast Hebrew Congregation in Washington DC.

                                          For some reason our discussion of love stands out amid the
                                          destruction for God's favor in Mesopotamia right now. Spinoza's God
                                          I think. The God of all of us. It suddenly hit me, another meaning
                                          to love. It fits my last post that first you have to have truth,
                                          then peace, then love. It brought to mind an interview with Sammy
                                          Davis, Jr. He was asked if he intended to ask his fellow blacks to
                                          become Jewish. He replied "Let them find out for hemselves."
                                          That's when I KNEW that he truly was Jewish in his brain. Now that
                                          really has bothered me. I was taught proudly by my fellow Jews
                                          that we Jews don't go around asking anyone to be Jewish. Is that
                                          love? Not according to my definition. They should be demanding that
                                          everyone learn Hebrew and sing the Torah Scrolls. That's the
                                          truth. That may bring peace right now as they bomb in response to
                                          bomb. The should all be singing the Torah Scrolls and offer the
                                          whole Middle East free lessons in learning Hebrew via trope.They
                                          could have military jazz bands doing this. Form trios of keyboard,
                                          drums and bass to reach the children of the Middle East. Now that's
                                          KNOWing God.

                                          Suppose this is why the Jews of Amsterdam got angry with Baruch.
                                          Isn't it possible? I feel full of love saying this. Just as the
                                          Christians feel full of love asking me to submit to Jesus and the
                                          Muslims feel love asking me to submit to Muhammad. I feel love
                                          asking the whole Middle East to sing the Torah Scrolls. The truth
                                          is that these precious scrolls (which Baruch loved) are the what the
                                          Christian Old Testament translates the word "Law" and the Koran
                                          mentions "Taurat" 16 times.

                                          So yes, to KNOW God is to Love. And God is a Loving God. Torah God
                                          simply was trying to give humans self-confidence in their humanity
                                          and not be the slave of the environmental energies. Can you imagine
                                          Baruch writing this to his circle of Christian friends? Did he feel
                                          it inside himself as he wrote ETHICS. I, having shared his youthful
                                          education, can't help but think so. It makes me feel his pain. I'm
                                          luckier because I can say this to you. It's not comfortable for me
                                          because my fellow Jews who share my own youthful education are angry
                                          with this kind of posting, even physicians.

                                          Even Hitler knew that, and said so.

                                          Ethel Jean (Kowan) Saltz
                                          THE BIBLE UNEARTHED
                                          YHWH 600BCE - 600CE
                                        • Terry Neff
                                          Hi All, Well, I guess I ve seen this whole movie now and this is where I came in. In the next scene Hans posts something about Spinoza as Sufi, shaman, healer,
                                          Message 20 of 26 , Jul 18, 2006
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                                            Hi All,

                                            Well, I guess I've seen this whole movie now and this is where I came
                                            in. In the next scene Hans posts something about Spinoza as Sufi, shaman,
                                            healer, and self-management guru and then I post the following message:

                                            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/spinoza-ethics/message/928

                                            ...so I'll break out of this loop unless someone can show how any of this
                                            relates to our Slow Reading of the Ethics and might help further our
                                            Understanding of the Ideas Spinoza expressed there.

                                            On the other hand, I suppose that I could start a new topic. Let's see,
                                            in the Ethics Spinoza writes about bodies involving motion and rest. I have
                                            watched several of the Formula 1 Automobile Races this season after not
                                            paying much attention to them since I was a kid. I notice that these
                                            machines involve motion and rest so I guess this is a good place to talk
                                            about them. I visited a few web sites but have not yet located a complete
                                            description of the current "formula" but it would seem that it must still
                                            involve an attempt to level the playing field with certain design limits so
                                            as to bring each car within a narrow range of motion and rest capability.
                                            Gee, I think Spinoza also says something about emotions and I'll bet it's
                                            quite a thrill to drive one of those cars. I wonder what that feels like.
                                            Oh, and has anyone noticed that Spinoza lived in a country where bicycles
                                            are now very popular? I ride a bicycle and I notice it involves motion and
                                            rest and I also have a lot of fun riding it so I guess Spinoza would have
                                            something to say about that. Too bad he wasn't born more recently. I'll bet
                                            he would enjoy riding a bike too.

                                            :-) Terry (-:
                                          • hans19682000
                                            Terry You wrote ... Of course there is something very individual in your own perception/imagination (because its your desire, your conatus), but even in this
                                            Message 21 of 26 , Jul 19, 2006
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                                              Terry

                                              You wrote
                                              >You seem to think that we can know such things as we name history,
                                              >culture, economics, religion, etc. as though they are objective
                                              >things and that they have some reality of which we might be able to
                                              >come to have an adequate idea. I too believe this to be true when I
                                              >pay attention only to my own imagination and I have my own
                                              >perception of things associated with these particular terms.


                                              Of course there is something "very individual" in your own
                                              perception/imagination (because its your desire, your conatus), but
                                              even in this operation of "paying attention" you will not be able to
                                              attribute your own individual meaning to it. Because as process –
                                              imitation of affects – all that you find "in your imagination" comes
                                              from the "outside", from innumerable encounters with other bodies,
                                              signs, words and your encounter with their encounters among them. And
                                              this condition is singular at the same time as it is universal.
                                              Other humans, "thing similar to us", act and operate determined by
                                              the same necessity.
                                              That's why our (and I do mean _our_, and not only the aggregate of
                                              atom-entity-individuals) imagination is imaginary at the same time as
                                              it is real. We have to redirect our focus from entities ("my"
                                              body, "my" mind, "my" imagination, my knowledge of the mind, but
                                              also "the world, or "dreamworld") to the fractal network-process of
                                              composed individuals at any scale.

                                              It seems that you read Spinoza's passages from the point of view of
                                              an absolute ego dwelling immanently in your personal imagination.

                                              As if Spinoza had written

                                              E2P13
                                              „The object of the idea constituting _my_ mind is _my_ body" ?

                                              or

                                              E5; preface
                                              "Therefore, since the power of MY mind (…) is defined by MY
                                              understanding only, I shall determine solely by the knowledge of MY
                                              mind the remedies against MY emotions (…) and from the same basis I
                                              shall deduce all those conclusions, which have regard to the
                                              blessedness of MY mind."

                                              But Spinoza's ontology of a universal network-causality in process
                                              does not allow such ego-fantasies.

                                              If …

                                              E1P29==
                                              nothing in nature is contingent, but all things are from the
                                              necessity of the divine nature determined to exist and to operate in
                                              a definite way
                                              ==

                                              … then nothing can be isolated.

                                              An individual is always composed and part of larger individuals in
                                              constant changing scopes and scales and that's why it can never be
                                              thought of as an atom, be it physical or spiritual. An Individual is
                                              not a given matter. Just as natura naturata is second to natura
                                              naturans, every individual is an effect of a more general, and more
                                              flexible process of individualization.

                                              For me is decisive that Spinoza conceives the constitution of
                                              personal individualities and the constitution of complex
                                              individualities in the imaginary ("society", "history", "culture") as
                                              one and the same problem, as one and the same process: that is what
                                              Spinoza calls "imitation of affects". That is where the necessity of
                                              the universal network-causality finds it enlargement and continuation
                                              into the sphere of humans.

                                              Then its no longer a question of inside or outside, but of how we
                                              adjust individually and/or collectively to the necessity of God or
                                              Nature.

                                              The perceptive/imaginary/passionate fallacy – the en bloc perception
                                              of myself-in-the-(dream)world is not an ineluctable fatality. But
                                              the line of demarcation is not to be found between an inside or
                                              outside. We rather have to establish this line amidst the imaginary
                                              process – in establishing, discovering adequate ideas or common
                                              notions, according to

                                              E2P39==
                                              That, which is common to and a property of the human body and such
                                              other bodies as are wont to affect the human body, and which is
                                              present equally in each part of either, or in the whole, will be
                                              represented by an adequate idea in the mind.
                                              ==

                                              Interesting is that Spinoza describes here (and in the neighbouring
                                              propositions) the possibility of a progression, a development, a
                                              transition by degrees towards knowledge.
                                              The first adequate idea we can have is the recognition of something
                                              in common between two bodies; this adequate idea immediately leads to
                                              another adequate idea: in this way we can begin our constructive
                                              project to become active. In some realms this becomes the project of
                                              a certain science, but common notions are not only to be found there.
                                              It's a question of community building and discovering, creating
                                              similarities common properties, as well, i.e. an ethical-political
                                              project.

                                              A knowledge of "culture", "history", "biology" and why not "medicine"
                                              is not useful to us per se, but only insofar we are able to design
                                              this knowledge according to common notions.

                                              In respect to Spinoza it is not only interesting (in a gossip mode of
                                              history) but at a certain point indispensable to come to terms with
                                              the problematics of his time and the making of the "modern
                                              world", "of princes and peoples", to understand what is still at
                                              stake for us today.

                                              But this is not a discussion for the slow reading list.
                                              --

                                              P.S.


                                              When we consider the blessedness of Jesus – was his like we find it
                                              in this quote?

                                              "O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a King of
                                              infinite space." (Hamlet)

                                              I would prefer to think of his blessedness as a coincidentia in
                                              oppositorum of the prince and the people.

                                              "For just as those who sketch landscapes places themselves down in
                                              the plain to consider the nature of mountains and to consider the
                                              nature of low places place themselves high atop mountains, similarly
                                              to know well the nature of peoples one needs to be a prince, and to
                                              know well the nature of princes one needs to be the people."
                                              (Machiavelli)

                                              Best regards
                                              hans
                                            • Terry Neff
                                              Hi Hans, ... So, when Spinoza writes such things as...: ====== No one will be able to follow MY MEANING, unless he is scrupulously careful... I cannot for
                                              Message 22 of 26 , Jul 19, 2006
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                                                Hi Hans,

                                                > Of course there is something "very individual" in your own
                                                > perception/imagination (because its your desire, your conatus),
                                                > but even in this operation of "paying attention" you will not be
                                                > able to attribute your own individual meaning to it.

                                                So, when Spinoza writes such things as...:

                                                ======
                                                "No one will be able to follow MY MEANING, unless he is scrupulously
                                                careful..."

                                                "I cannot for the present explain MY MEANING more clearly."

                                                "Very many controversies have arisen from the fact, that men do not rightly
                                                explain THEIR MEANING, or do not rightly interpret THE MEANING OF OTHERS."

                                                "But, before I begin to prove my propositions in detailed geometrical
                                                fashion, it is advisable to sketch them briefly in advance, so that everyone
                                                may more readily grasp MY MEANING."
                                                ======

                                                ...he is, once again, as you have said before, either in error himself or is
                                                speaking in a misleading manner, when he refers to "MY MEANING" or "THEIR
                                                MEANING" or "THE MEANING OF OTHERS".

                                                You go on to say:

                                                > Because as process - imitation of affects - all that you
                                                > find "in your imagination" comes from the "outside", from
                                                > innumerable encounters with other bodies, signs, words
                                                > and your encounter with their encounters among them. And
                                                > this condition is singular at the same time as it is universal.

                                                How can the conditioning of an individual existent human body by other
                                                individual bodies be universal? Yes, the laws of nature under which such
                                                conditioning occurs are universal but the conditioning of any individual
                                                existent body or mind or any other individual existent thing is caused by
                                                another individual existent thing, etc.:

                                                ====== E1: PROP. 28:
                                                --Every individual thing, or everything which is finite and has a
                                                conditioned existence, cannot exist or be conditioned to act, unless it be
                                                conditioned for existence and action by a cause other than itself, which
                                                also is finite, and has a conditioned existence; and likewise this cause
                                                cannot in its turn exist, or be conditioned to act, unless it be conditioned
                                                for existence and action by another cause, which also is finite, and has a
                                                conditioned existence, and so on to infinity.
                                                ======

                                                ...and:

                                                ====== E2: PROP. 9:
                                                The idea of an individual thing actually existing is caused by God, not
                                                in so far as he is infinite, but in so far as he is considered as affected
                                                by another idea of a thing actually existing, of which he is the cause, in
                                                so far as he is affected by a third idea, and so on to infinity.
                                                ====== Corollary:
                                                --Whatsoever takes place in the individual object of any idea, the knowledge
                                                thereof is in God, in so far only as he has the idea of the object.
                                                ====== E2: PROP. 11:
                                                The first element, which constitutes the actual being of the human mind,
                                                is the idea of some particular thing actually existing.
                                                ====== E2: PROP. 13:
                                                The object of the idea constituting the human mind is the body, in other
                                                words a certain mode of extension which actually exists, and nothing else.
                                                ======

                                                So what is "universal" about your or my particular body/mind as far as
                                                it's conditioned existence is concerned except for the universal laws by
                                                which all things operate? Are not all of the conditioned modes of any
                                                particular existent body/mind particular to that body/mind only according to
                                                Spinoza (see E2P9 Cor. above)?

                                                ...but you go on to say:

                                                > Other humans, "thing similar to us", act and operate
                                                > determined by the same necessity.

                                                Yes, the same laws, but different modes (again see above).

                                                > That's why our (and I do mean _our_, and not only the
                                                > aggregate of atom-entity-individuals) imagination is imaginary
                                                > at the same time as it is real. We have to redirect our focus
                                                > from entities ("my" body, "my" mind, "my" imagination, my
                                                > knowledge of the mind, but also "the world, or "dreamworld")
                                                > to the fractal network-process of composed individuals at
                                                > any scale.

                                                I don't understand why you would introduce the phrase "fractal
                                                network-process of composed individuals at any scale" without explaining
                                                what it is in Spinoza's Ethics that this might refer to. And just how is it
                                                that you see Spinoza redirecting our focus from "my" body, "my" mind, and
                                                "my" knowledge of the mind in the following:

                                                ====== E5: PROP. 30:
                                                Our mind, in so far as it knows itself and the body under the form of
                                                eternity, has to that extent necessarily a knowledge of God, and knows that
                                                it is in God, and is conceived through God.
                                                ======

                                                Even if you say he is redirecting us to God he is doing so by referring
                                                to our mind and our body, not some universal mind and universal body. He
                                                goes on to explain that, while that same particular body exists that same
                                                particular mind is subject to particular imagination and emotions (unless
                                                you would like to try to convince us that he means some "universal" body and
                                                "universal" mind in the following):

                                                ======
                                                E5: PROP. 34. The mind is, only while the body endures, subject to those
                                                emotions which are attributable to passions.

                                                Proof.-- Imagination is the idea wherewith the mind contemplates a thing as
                                                present (E2P17CN); yet this idea indicates rather the present disposition of
                                                the human body than the nature of the external thing (E2P16C2). Therefore
                                                emotion (see general Def. of Emotions E3DOE) is imagination, in so far as it
                                                indicates the present disposition of the body; therefore (E5P21) the mind
                                                is, only while the body endures, subject to emotions which are attributable
                                                to passions. Q.E.D.
                                                ======

                                                Now I have just been assuming that all of the members of this group
                                                actually exist but perhaps you believe otherwise and so you have no need of
                                                considering how much your own life is affected by your own imagination but
                                                Spinoza spends considerable time showing how the emotions of any particular
                                                individual work (that is the confused ideas in a particular mind since there
                                                are no confused ideas in the infinite mind of God: "...there are no ideas
                                                confused or inadequate, except in respect to a particular mind" --E2P36,
                                                proof) and how we might guard against them while our body continues to
                                                exist.

                                                Continuing along the same lines you write:

                                                > It seems that you read Spinoza's passages from the
                                                > point of view of an absolute ego dwelling immanently
                                                > in your personal imagination.
                                                >
                                                > As if Spinoza had written
                                                >
                                                > E2P13
                                                > "The object of the idea constituting _my_ mind is _my_ body" ?
                                                >
                                                > or
                                                >
                                                > E5; preface
                                                > "Therefore, since the power of MY mind (.) is defined by MY
                                                > understanding only, I shall determine solely by the knowledge
                                                > of MY mind the remedies against MY emotions (.) and from
                                                > the same basis I shall deduce all those conclusions, which
                                                > have regard to the blessedness of MY mind."
                                                >

                                                ...and again, saying such things as the following without explaining what
                                                you mean makes it difficult to for me to understand:

                                                > But Spinoza's ontology of a universal network-causality in
                                                > process does not allow such ego-fantasies.
                                                >

                                                Please do explain how you see that what Spinoza actually expressed with
                                                regard to the "remedies against the emotions"...:

                                                ===== E5 Preface:
                                                ...Therefore, since the power of the mind, as I have shown above, is defined
                                                by the understanding only, we shall determine solely by the knowledge of the
                                                mind the remedies against the emotions, which I believe all have had
                                                experience of, but do not accurately observe or distinctly see, and from the
                                                same basis we shall deduce all those conclusions, which have regard to the
                                                mind's blessedness.
                                                =====

                                                ...can be applied except by an individual human being with regard to their
                                                own emotions or confused ideas (remember, Spinoza shows: "...there are no
                                                ideas confused or inadequate, except in respect to a particular
                                                mind" --E2P36, proof.) Do you imagine that you somehow have access to the
                                                imagination and therefore the confused ideas (emotions) experienced by
                                                anyone else and therefore can apply Spinoza's remedies to them? Perhaps you
                                                interpret the following as my bracketed comments indicate?:

                                                ===== E5: PROP. 20, Note:
                                                I have now gone through all the remedies against the emotions, or all
                                                that the mind [that is, not any particular human mind but only the
                                                "universal mind"], considered in itself alone can do against them [the
                                                emotions, that is, of all humans universally, not the emotions of any
                                                particular individual.] Whence it appears that the [universal] mind's power
                                                over the emotions [of all humans universally] consists:--

                                                1. In the actual knowledge of the emotions (E5P4CN) [of all humans taken
                                                together, not those emotions involving any particular human being].

                                                2. In the fact that it [that is, the universal mind, not any individual
                                                mind] separates the emotions [of all humans universally, not of any
                                                particular human] from the thought of an external cause, which we [that is,
                                                all human minds together, not that of any individual] conceive confusedly
                                                (E5P2 and E5P4CN).

                                                3. In the fact, that, in respect to time, the emotions referred to
                                                things, which we [the universal human mind, not that of any individual]
                                                distinctly understand, surpass those referred to what we [again, the
                                                universal human mind, not that of any individual] conceive in a confused and
                                                fragmentary manner (E5P7).

                                                4. In the number of causes whereby those modifications [Affectiones] are
                                                fostered [in the universal human being, not in that of any individual],
                                                which have regard to the common properties of things or to God (E5P9 and
                                                E5P11).

                                                5. Lastly, in the order wherein the mind [of all humans universally, not
                                                that of any individual] can arrange and associate, one with another, its
                                                [the whole universal mind's] own [not those of any particular individual]
                                                emotions ([E5P10] E5P10N and E5P12, E5P13, E5P14).
                                                =====

                                                And of course when Spinoza writes at the end of the Ethics...:

                                                ===== E5: PROP. 42, Note:
                                                --I have thus completed all I wished to set forth touching the mind's [the
                                                universal human mind, not that of any individual] power over the emotions
                                                [of all human beings taken universally, not of any particular individual]
                                                and the mind's [not any individual's mind's] freedom. Whence it appears, how
                                                potent is the wise man [I suppose this is another error by Spinoza since he
                                                refers to "man", singular, when he really must have meant "universal
                                                man" --TNeff], and how much he [the universal man, not any particular
                                                individual] surpasses the ignorant man [singular again! perhaps Spinoza was
                                                in a hurry and didn't write or edit carefully --TNeff], who is driven only
                                                by his [not any particular individual but universal man's] lusts. For the
                                                ignorant man [not any particular individual but universal man] is not only
                                                distracted in various ways by external causes without ever gaining the true
                                                acquiescence of his [not any particular individual's but the universal
                                                man's] spirit, but moreover lives, as it were unwitting of himself [?], and
                                                of God, and of things, and as soon as he [not any particular individual man
                                                but universal man] ceases to suffer, ceases also to be.

                                                Whereas the wise man [not any particular individual but...], in so far as
                                                he [not any particular individual but...] is regarded as such, is scarcely
                                                at all disturbed in spirit, but, being conscious of himself [not any
                                                particular individual but...], and of God, and of things, by a certain
                                                eternal necessity, never ceases to be, but always possesses true
                                                acquiescence of his [not any particular individual but...] spirit.

                                                If the way which I have pointed out as leading to this result seems
                                                exceedingly hard, it may nevertheless be discovered. Needs must it be hard,
                                                since it is so seldom found. How would it be possible, if salvation were
                                                ready to our hand, and could without great labour be found, that it should
                                                be by almost all men neglected? But all things excellent are as difficult as
                                                they are rare.
                                                =====

                                                The rest of your post seems to me to just express, in an even more
                                                convoluted way, some things you have written before and which I have no
                                                desire to continue trying to follow. For now I will simply refer you back to
                                                what I have already written in previous posts and if that does not make
                                                sense to you or if you think that I am in error then so be it. My mind
                                                affirms certain things which I have tried to express and if I have not
                                                managed to convey my meaning to you then at least I have given the task some
                                                attention. I'll even go further and say that perhaps you do have some idea
                                                which is clear in your mind but that, due to my own limitations, I am unable
                                                to follow your meaning as you express it.

                                                Best Regards,
                                                Terry
                                              • md_hannan_05
                                                ... Dear Ethel, being a Muslim who is recently learning his religion, I think I believe Islam does not tell us to submit to Muhammad because unlike
                                                Message 23 of 26 , Jul 21, 2006
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                                                  > Suppose this is why the Jews of Amsterdam got angry with Baruch.
                                                  > Isn't it possible? I feel full of love saying this. Just as the
                                                  > Christians feel full of love asking me to submit to Jesus and the
                                                  > Muslims feel love asking me to submit to Muhammad.

                                                  Dear Ethel,
                                                  being a Muslim who is recently learning his religion, I think I believe
                                                  Islam does not tell us to submit to Muhammad because unlike
                                                  Christianism, In Islam, Muhammad is not the body of truth and
                                                  transcendence. Jesus, the very person played the role which Koran
                                                  played in Islam.

                                                  Cheerz !
                                                  -Tahmidal
                                                • nathan kyes
                                                  Hans, You wrote: For me is decisive that Spinoza conceives the constitution of personal individualities and the constitution of complex individualities in the
                                                  Message 24 of 26 , Jul 23, 2006
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                                                    Hans,

                                                    You wrote:

                                                    For me is decisive that Spinoza conceives the constitution of
                                                    personal individualities and the constitution of complex
                                                    individualities in the imaginary ("society", "history", "culture") as
                                                    one and the same problem, as one and the same process: that is what
                                                    Spinoza calls "imitation of affects". That is where the necessity of
                                                    the universal network-causality finds it enlargement and continuation
                                                    into the sphere of humans.

                                                    I am glad that you are involved.

                                                    Nathan


                                                    hans19682000 <hans68@...> wrote:
                                                    Terry

                                                    You wrote
                                                    >You seem to think that we can know such things as we name history,
                                                    >culture, economics, religion, etc. as though they are objective
                                                    >things and that they have some reality of which we might be able to
                                                    >come to have an adequate idea. I too believe this to be true when I
                                                    >pay attention only to my own imagination and I have my own
                                                    >perception of things associated with these particular terms.

                                                    Of course there is something "very individual" in your own
                                                    perception/imagination (because its your desire, your conatus), but
                                                    even in this operation of "paying attention" you will not be able to
                                                    attribute your own individual meaning to it. Because as process –
                                                    imitation of affects – all that you find "in your imagination" comes
                                                    from the "outside", from innumerable encounters with other bodies,
                                                    signs, words and your encounter with their encounters among them. And
                                                    this condition is singular at the same time as it is universal.
                                                    Other humans, "thing similar to us", act and operate determined by
                                                    the same necessity.
                                                    That's why our (and I do mean _our_, and not only the aggregate of
                                                    atom-entity-individuals) imagination is imaginary at the same time as
                                                    it is real. We have to redirect our focus from entities ("my"
                                                    body, "my" mind, "my" imagination, my knowledge of the mind, but
                                                    also "the world, or "dreamworld") to the fractal network-process of
                                                    composed individuals at any scale.

                                                    It seems that you read Spinoza's passages from the point of view of
                                                    an absolute ego dwelling immanently in your personal imagination.

                                                    As if Spinoza had written

                                                    E2P13
                                                    „The object of the idea constituting _my_ mind is _my_ body" ?

                                                    or

                                                    E5; preface
                                                    "Therefore, since the power of MY mind (…) is defined by MY
                                                    understanding only, I shall determine solely by the knowledge of MY
                                                    mind the remedies against MY emotions (…) and from the same basis I
                                                    shall deduce all those conclusions, which have regard to the
                                                    blessedness of MY mind."

                                                    But Spinoza's ontology of a universal network-causality in process
                                                    does not allow such ego-fantasies.

                                                    If …

                                                    E1P29==
                                                    nothing in nature is contingent, but all things are from the
                                                    necessity of the divine nature determined to exist and to operate in
                                                    a definite way
                                                    ==

                                                    … then nothing can be isolated.

                                                    An individual is always composed and part of larger individuals in
                                                    constant changing scopes and scales and that's why it can never be
                                                    thought of as an atom, be it physical or spiritual. An Individual is
                                                    not a given matter. Just as natura naturata is second to natura
                                                    naturans, every individual is an effect of a more general, and more
                                                    flexible process of individualization.

                                                    For me is decisive that Spinoza conceives the constitution of
                                                    personal individualities and the constitution of complex
                                                    individualities in the imaginary ("society", "history", "culture") as
                                                    one and the same problem, as one and the same process: that is what
                                                    Spinoza calls "imitation of affects". That is where the necessity of
                                                    the universal network-causality finds it enlargement and continuation
                                                    into the sphere of humans.

                                                    Then its no longer a question of inside or outside, but of how we
                                                    adjust individually and/or collectively to the necessity of God or
                                                    Nature.

                                                    The perceptive/imaginary/passionate fallacy – the en bloc perception
                                                    of myself-in-the-(dream)world is not an ineluctable fatality. But
                                                    the line of demarcation is not to be found between an inside or
                                                    outside. We rather have to establish this line amidst the imaginary
                                                    process – in establishing, discovering adequate ideas or common
                                                    notions, according to

                                                    E2P39==
                                                    That, which is common to and a property of the human body and such
                                                    other bodies as are wont to affect the human body, and which is
                                                    present equally in each part of either, or in the whole, will be
                                                    represented by an adequate idea in the mind.
                                                    ==

                                                    Interesting is that Spinoza describes here (and in the neighbouring
                                                    propositions) the possibility of a progression, a development, a
                                                    transition by degrees towards knowledge.
                                                    The first adequate idea we can have is the recognition of something
                                                    in common between two bodies; this adequate idea immediately leads to
                                                    another adequate idea: in this way we can begin our constructive
                                                    project to become active. In some realms this becomes the project of
                                                    a certain science, but common notions are not only to be found there.
                                                    It's a question of community building and discovering, creating
                                                    similarities common properties, as well, i.e. an ethical-political
                                                    project.

                                                    A knowledge of "culture", "history", "biology" and why not "medicine"
                                                    is not useful to us per se, but only insofar we are able to design
                                                    this knowledge according to common notions.

                                                    In respect to Spinoza it is not only interesting (in a gossip mode of
                                                    history) but at a certain point indispensable to come to terms with
                                                    the problematics of his time and the making of the "modern
                                                    world", "of princes and peoples", to understand what is still at
                                                    stake for us today.

                                                    But this is not a discussion for the slow reading list.
                                                    --

                                                    P.S.

                                                    When we consider the blessedness of Jesus – was his like we find it
                                                    in this quote?

                                                    "O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a King of
                                                    infinite space." (Hamlet)

                                                    I would prefer to think of his blessedness as a coincidentia in
                                                    oppositorum of the prince and the people.

                                                    "For just as those who sketch landscapes places themselves down in
                                                    the plain to consider the nature of mountains and to consider the
                                                    nature of low places place themselves high atop mountains, similarly
                                                    to know well the nature of peoples one needs to be a prince, and to
                                                    know well the nature of princes one needs to be the people."
                                                    (Machiavelli)

                                                    Best regards
                                                    hans






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                                                  • nathan kyes
                                                    Hi, There are, no doubt, many different opinions concerning our nature. It seems to me that Spinoza was exceptionally driven to find the best of reason. I
                                                    Message 25 of 26 , Jul 23, 2006
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                                                      Hi,

                                                      There are, no doubt, many different opinions concerning our nature. It seems to me that Spinoza was exceptionally driven to find the best of reason. I believe that by reaching the line of reason where God is perfect, and so all must be perfect, Spinoza found a way to reach perfection. As we write to each other, we are either controlled by an emotion, or we are acting through God. Sense we are always acting through God, God being perfect, and not limited, then we are either active (as God), or passive (the idea whereby I am separate from God, and all else.) When we are active, we are not controlled by an emotion to produce aggressive words upon one another. When we are active we see another part of our self as God sharing words always for our benefit. No doubt, WE will struggle to find peace together, until we understand that we have peace together. I think that is when a mind understands that what was perceived as aggressive behavior, or opposition, was in fact an
                                                      act of love. Love being the recognition of a source of power (Another way of putting the intent of Spinoza's love (I think??).

                                                      Anyways, I think I have been true to the ethics here. I may have made some errors though, and would like to be made aware of any that contradict Spinoza's Heart driven work...

                                                      With the intention of our perfection, or me seeing us as perfect...

                                                      Nathan

                                                      nathan kyes <nkyes2000@...> wrote:
                                                      Hans,

                                                      You wrote:

                                                      For me is decisive that Spinoza conceives the constitution of
                                                      personal individualities and the constitution of complex
                                                      individualities in the imaginary ("society", "history", "culture") as
                                                      one and the same problem, as one and the same process: that is what
                                                      Spinoza calls "imitation of affects". That is where the necessity of
                                                      the universal network-causality finds it enlargement and continuation
                                                      into the sphere of humans.

                                                      I am glad that you are involved.

                                                      Nathan

                                                      hans19682000 <hans68@...> wrote:
                                                      Terry

                                                      You wrote
                                                      >You seem to think that we can know such things as we name history,
                                                      >culture, economics, religion, etc. as though they are objective
                                                      >things and that they have some reality of which we might be able to
                                                      >come to have an adequate idea. I too believe this to be true when I
                                                      >pay attention only to my own imagination and I have my own
                                                      >perception of things associated with these particular terms.

                                                      Of course there is something "very individual" in your own
                                                      perception/imagination (because its your desire, your conatus), but
                                                      even in this operation of "paying attention" you will not be able to
                                                      attribute your own individual meaning to it. Because as process –
                                                      imitation of affects – all that you find "in your imagination" comes
                                                      from the "outside", from innumerable encounters with other bodies,
                                                      signs, words and your encounter with their encounters among them. And
                                                      this condition is singular at the same time as it is universal.
                                                      Other humans, "thing similar to us", act and operate determined by
                                                      the same necessity.
                                                      That's why our (and I do mean _our_, and not only the aggregate of
                                                      atom-entity-individuals) imagination is imaginary at the same time as
                                                      it is real. We have to redirect our focus from entities ("my"
                                                      body, "my" mind, "my" imagination, my knowledge of the mind, but
                                                      also "the world, or "dreamworld") to the fractal network-process of
                                                      composed individuals at any scale.

                                                      It seems that you read Spinoza's passages from the point of view of
                                                      an absolute ego dwelling immanently in your personal imagination.

                                                      As if Spinoza had written

                                                      E2P13
                                                      „The object of the idea constituting _my_ mind is _my_ body" ?

                                                      or

                                                      E5; preface
                                                      "Therefore, since the power of MY mind (…) is defined by MY
                                                      understanding only, I shall determine solely by the knowledge of MY
                                                      mind the remedies against MY emotions (…) and from the same basis I
                                                      shall deduce all those conclusions, which have regard to the
                                                      blessedness of MY mind."

                                                      But Spinoza's ontology of a universal network-causality in process
                                                      does not allow such ego-fantasies.

                                                      If …

                                                      E1P29==
                                                      nothing in nature is contingent, but all things are from the
                                                      necessity of the divine nature determined to exist and to operate in
                                                      a definite way
                                                      ==

                                                      … then nothing can be isolated.

                                                      An individual is always composed and part of larger individuals in
                                                      constant changing scopes and scales and that's why it can never be
                                                      thought of as an atom, be it physical or spiritual. An Individual is
                                                      not a given matter. Just as natura naturata is second to natura
                                                      naturans, every individual is an effect of a more general, and more
                                                      flexible process of individualization.

                                                      For me is decisive that Spinoza conceives the constitution of
                                                      personal individualities and the constitution of complex
                                                      individualities in the imaginary ("society", "history", "culture") as
                                                      one and the same problem, as one and the same process: that is what
                                                      Spinoza calls "imitation of affects". That is where the necessity of
                                                      the universal network-causality finds it enlargement and continuation
                                                      into the sphere of humans.

                                                      Then its no longer a question of inside or outside, but of how we
                                                      adjust individually and/or collectively to the necessity of God or
                                                      Nature.

                                                      The perceptive/imaginary/passionate fallacy – the en bloc perception
                                                      of myself-in-the-(dream)world is not an ineluctable fatality. But
                                                      the line of demarcation is not to be found between an inside or
                                                      outside. We rather have to establish this line amidst the imaginary
                                                      process – in establishing, discovering adequate ideas or common
                                                      notions, according to

                                                      E2P39==
                                                      That, which is common to and a property of the human body and such
                                                      other bodies as are wont to affect the human body, and which is
                                                      present equally in each part of either, or in the whole, will be
                                                      represented by an adequate idea in the mind.
                                                      ==

                                                      Interesting is that Spinoza describes here (and in the neighbouring
                                                      propositions) the possibility of a progression, a development, a
                                                      transition by degrees towards knowledge.
                                                      The first adequate idea we can have is the recognition of something
                                                      in common between two bodies; this adequate idea immediately leads to
                                                      another adequate idea: in this way we can begin our constructive
                                                      project to become active. In some realms this becomes the project of
                                                      a certain science, but common notions are not only to be found there.
                                                      It's a question of community building and discovering, creating
                                                      similarities common properties, as well, i.e. an ethical-political
                                                      project.

                                                      A knowledge of "culture", "history", "biology" and why not "medicine"
                                                      is not useful to us per se, but only insofar we are able to design
                                                      this knowledge according to common notions.

                                                      In respect to Spinoza it is not only interesting (in a gossip mode of
                                                      history) but at a certain point indispensable to come to terms with
                                                      the problematics of his time and the making of the "modern
                                                      world", "of princes and peoples", to understand what is still at
                                                      stake for us today.

                                                      But this is not a discussion for the slow reading list.
                                                      --

                                                      P.S.

                                                      When we consider the blessedness of Jesus – was his like we find it
                                                      in this quote?

                                                      "O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a King of
                                                      infinite space." (Hamlet)

                                                      I would prefer to think of his blessedness as a coincidentia in
                                                      oppositorum of the prince and the people.

                                                      "For just as those who sketch landscapes places themselves down in
                                                      the plain to consider the nature of mountains and to consider the
                                                      nature of low places place themselves high atop mountains, similarly
                                                      to know well the nature of peoples one needs to be a prince, and to
                                                      know well the nature of princes one needs to be the people."
                                                      (Machiavelli)

                                                      Best regards
                                                      hans


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                                                    • hans19682000
                                                      Hi Nathan, ... What I m simply looking for in/with Spinoza is in what way the changing of circumstances and self-changing do coincide – and additionally,
                                                      Message 26 of 26 , Jul 25, 2006
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                                                        Hi Nathan,

                                                        You quoted this passage from my post:

                                                        >For me is decisive that Spinoza conceives the constitution of
                                                        >personal individualities and the constitution of complex
                                                        >individualities in the imaginary ("society", "history", "culture") as
                                                        >one and the same problem, as one and the same process: that is what
                                                        >Spinoza calls "imitation of affects". That is where the necessity of
                                                        >the universal network-causality finds it enlargement and
                                                        >continuation into the sphere of humans.

                                                        What I'm simply looking for in/with Spinoza is in what way the
                                                        changing of circumstances and self-changing do coincide – and
                                                        additionally, what is required to realize (in both meanings: to
                                                        understand and to achieve) this coincidence in "Thought" and
                                                        in "Extension". In my view Spinoza gives the broadest possible
                                                        foundation to such a project.

                                                        Thank you for your kindness

                                                        Best regards
                                                        Hans

                                                        PS:
                                                        I found this nice quote in a book I'm reading at the moment. It is
                                                        from a chapter about the Spinozist, jewish-german philosopher Moses
                                                        Mendelsohn:

                                                        "The dynamic nature of the concept [of perfection, hans] becomes
                                                        obvious when he [Mendelsohn] goes on to explain that isolation,
                                                        abstraction and stasis are the very opposite of what he has in
                                                        mind: `But true perfection is a living flame, constantly fanning out
                                                        and becoming stronger and stronger the more it is able to fan out.
                                                        The inclination to communicate itself and to reproduce the good that
                                                        one enjoys is implanted in the soul as much as the instinct to
                                                        preserve oneself. We become more perfect, if everything that
                                                        surrounds us is perfect; we become happier if we are able to make
                                                        everything around us happy."
                                                        (Willi Goetschel, Spinoza's Modernity, 96)

                                                        Perhaps theses words sound a little bit naïve and idealistic but I
                                                        hope that we can further explore the subtleties of their meaning here
                                                        in this forum.
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