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Re: [spinoza-tie] re Imagination etc.

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  • Terry Neff
    Hi SunHunter9 and All, After more time spent thinking about one of SunHunter9 s previous replies I may see what it is that is confused. Here is SunHunter9 s
    Message 1 of 14 , Jan 1, 2001
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      Hi SunHunter9 and All,

      After more time spent thinking about one of SunHunter9's previous
      replies I may see what it is that is confused. Here is SunHunter9's reply
      and I will first include the preceding few statements for others who might
      just now be joining this thread:

      ------ My, then SunHunter9's , original statement:
      > The clear and distinct conception is not the same thing
      > as the image --it only happens that they may occur together
      > in the same mind.
      >
      > > To the contrary, Spinoza means that the idea of the modification of the
      > > body
      > > in the mind [the image] is necessarily and objectively identical with
      the
      > > idea of that idea [the clear and distinct conception] etc. and the idea
      of
      > > that idea, and so on ad infinitum, and vice versa, even to the extent
      that
      > > all of these are conceived under one and the same attribute.
      ------

      to which I replied:

      >
      > > "objectively identical with the idea of that idea..."? On what do you
      > >base this statement? ...
      >

      and then SunHunter9 [I'll refer to as "you" from here on] replied:

      > E2 (21:5) Strictly speaking, the idea of the mind, that is, the
      > idea of an idea, is nothing but the distinctive quality (forma) of the
      > idea in so far as it is conceived as a mode of thought without reference
      > to the object; if a man knows anything, he, by that very fact, knows that
      > he knows it, and at the same time knows that he knows that he knows it,
      > and so on to infinity.
      >

      Here you reply with a quote from Spinoza so I suppose we are to simply
      accept that whatever conclusion you have drawn must be true. But what
      conclusion can we draw from this? You said:

      > > ...the idea of the modification of the body in the mind [the image]
      > > is necessarily and objectively identical with the
      > > idea of that idea [the clear and distinct conception] etc.

      This statement went from "the idea of the modification of the body in
      the mind [the image]", which Spinoza tells us is confused in that particular
      mind (though not in the infinite intellect of God), to THE idea of THAT idea
      (of the modification of the body) which you refer to as "[the clear and
      distinct conception]". Now I'm confused here. How did this idea, of the idea
      which is confused, become clear and distinct simply by paying attention to
      THE idea of it? I believe by dealing in words only you have attempted to
      bring together two different ideas from Spinoza. Were you referring here to
      Spinoza's:

      ========E5: PROP. 4.
      There is no modification of the body, whereof we cannot form some clear and
      distinct conception. [Nulla est Corporis affectio, cujus aliquem clarum, &
      distinctum non possumus formare conceptum.]

      Proof.--Properties which are common to all things can only be conceived
      adequately (E2P38); therefore (E2P12 and E2P13L2) there is no modification
      of the body, whereof we cannot form some clear and distinct conception.
      Q.E.D.
      ========

      This does not say that "THE" idea of an idea of a modification of the
      body is clear and distinct in the particular human mind. It says that if we
      pay attention to the "properties which are common to all things" (including
      the modifications of the body), and which properties themselves can only be
      conceived adequately, then we can form "SOME" (Curley and Shirley translate
      this "A") clear and distinct conception.

      Thinking about Charles' example of a square (or rectangle) or Spinoza's
      example of a circle (or a sphere perhaps, where he goes into more detail
      about what the clear and distinct idea is), or your very own example of a
      cabinet: There is the image, the idea of the image, etc. and there is the
      abstract idea formed by reasoning. Are these "objectively identical"?

      > TEI [34] (1) For instance, the man Peter is something real; the true
      > idea of Peter is the reality of Peter represented subjectively,
      > and is in itself something real, and quite distinct from the
      > actual Peter. (2) Now, as this true idea of Peter is in itself
      > something real, and has its own individual existence, it will
      > also be capable of being understood - that is, of being the
      > subject of another idea, which will contain by representation
      > (objective) all that the idea of Peter contains actually
      > (formaliter). (3) And, again, this idea of the idea of Peter
      > has its own individuality, which may become the subject of yet
      > another idea; and so on, indefinitely.
      >

      Well and good, but is this true idea of Peter, and idea of the idea,
      etc. clear and distinct in Peter's mind or only in the infinite intellect of
      God?:

      ======== E2: PROP. 28, Note:
      The idea which constitutes the nature of the human mind is, in the same
      manner, proved not to be, when considered in itself alone, clear and
      distinct; as also is the case with the idea of the human mind, and the ideas
      of the ideas of the modifications of the human body, in so far as they are
      referred to the mind only, as everyone may easily see.
      ========

      The fact that Spinoza will show that we can have adequate ideas of the
      Attributes of Extension and Thought and from that know many things does not
      make the imagination of Peter, in itself clear and distinct:

      ======== 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.
      ========

      Gee, I just noticed, Spinoza refers to his own statement in E2P17CN as
      his "definition of Imagination" --"(vide Imaginat. Defin. in Schol. Prop. 17
      p. 2)". Is this not the very "definition" to which SunHunter9 takes
      exception?: [to Charles:] "Your attempt to define a square is closer to
      Spinoza's standard of a definition than Terry's definition of "the
      imagination," but Spinoza's aim is too important to settle for anything less
      than clarity."

      Is it the Existence of the human body and it's modifications or the
      Essence of the human body under the form of Eternity that Spinoza is trying,
      to the best of his ability (being limited to words on the page), to have us
      Understand?:

      ======== 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.
      ========

      May Spinoza's words and our own Understanding help us to think more
      clearly about this. As SunHunter9 urges: "Spinoza's aim is too important to
      settle for anything less than clarity."

      Regards,
      Terry

      Ps: Does anyone else have any thoughts on these matters or am I just
      "Preaching to the Choir"? I may be confused in this area so please do join
      in. In sharing your thoughts the only thing that might experience pain, if
      it turns out they are found to be confused, is your imagination of your self
      which Spinoza tells us is not your Essential Being. Your true self is your
      Understanding and this can never experience pain but can only grow and
      grow...
    • Terry Neff
      Hi SunHunter9, Charles, and other list members, Having read Imagination and the Inverse Ratio of Transformation for a third time a few thoughts occurred to
      Message 2 of 14 , Jan 25, 2001
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        Hi SunHunter9, Charles, and other list members,

        Having read "Imagination and the Inverse Ratio of Transformation" for a
        third time a few thoughts occurred to me:

        Spinoza distinguishes (Merriam Webster def.: "to mark as separate or
        different") three Kinds of Knowledge and uses three different corresponding
        terms early on in the TIE, and again in and throughout the Ethics, namely;
        Imagination, Reason, and Intuition. It seems to me that Spinoza keeps this
        distinction throughout because it is useful for his aim of helping his
        readers come to Understand what he found to be "the union existing between
        the mind and the whole of nature."

        I believe that arguing abstractly (in my opinion); "There is no absolute
        logical extension such that imagination--->confused" (which still seems to
        be the theme), is of little real value to anyone struggling to follow
        Spinoza's path. I believe, though I don't assume I could prove, that such
        arguments may even provide stumbling blocks to others because they reinforce
        the tendency of the human imagination to look for "the answer" to questions
        not yet well formed in the mind. These "answers" often prevent further
        inquiry as the imagination turns toward new and novel images.

        As I mentioned above Spinoza seems to keep the distinction throughout
        his writings as in the following near the end of the Ethics:

        ========== E5: PROP. 40, Corollary:
        Hence it follows that the part of the mind which endures, be it great or
        small, is more perfect than the rest.

        For the eternal part of the mind (E5P23 and E5P29) is the understanding,
        through which alone we are said to act (E3P3); the part which we have shown
        to perish is the imagination (E5P21), through which only we are said to be
        passive (E3P3 and general Def. of the Emotions E3DOE); therefore, the
        former, be it great or small, is more perfect than the latter. Q.E.D.
        ============

        Spinoza says early on that he desires to help us perfect and come to the
        same understanding in our mind that he has come to in his --"...it is part
        of my happiness to lend a helping hand, that many others may understand even
        as I do, so that their understanding and desire may entirely agree with my
        own." Here in E5P40C, near the end of his reasoned endeavour to help us, he
        says that the mind's perfection is what he names "Understanding" and that
        the rest belongs to what he names "Imagination."

        To describe, and try to show, that imagination (as Spinoza uses the
        term) "...is also the source of grist for the mill of reason" seems to me a
        mere poetic/academic abstraction and of little value for studying my own
        nature using Spinoza's expressed ideas. My own nature and daily life
        involves a struggle to distinguish and to keep from confusing my
        Understanding with the passive part of my nature which Spinoza names
        Imagination.

        Now and then I awaken a little into the Eternal part of my mind and then
        "... what is referred to [my] imagination and memory become[s]
        insignificant, in comparison with [my] intellect."

        One mind's opinion,
        Regards,
        Terry
      • SunHunter9@aol.com
        ... I fully agree with this, but I don t see the relevance to any issue at hand. Since we re on the subject though, I think there are usefully different
        Message 3 of 14 , Jan 27, 2001
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          In a message dated 1/25/01 1:23:51 PM, tneff@... writes:

          > Spinoza distinguishes (Merriam Webster def.: "to mark as separate or
          >different") three Kinds of Knowledge and uses three different corresponding
          >terms early on in the TIE, and again in and throughout the Ethics, namely;
          >Imagination, Reason, and Intuition. It seems to me that Spinoza keeps this
          >distinction throughout because it is useful for his aim of helping his
          >readers come to Understand what he found to be "the union existing between
          >the mind and the whole of nature."

          I fully agree with this, but I don't see the relevance to any issue at hand.
          Since we're on the subject though, I think there are usefully different
          specific ideas to be distinguished between the >four modes of perception< in
          TIE, one of which is experience, and the >three kinds of knowledge< in the
          Ethics. Since Spinoza wants to direct not only his own philosophy, but even
          "all sciences" to his "one end aim," Terry's comment to us here regarding
          "usefulness" seems kind of like pointing out to astronomers that all planets
          in the solar system orbit Sol.

          >I believe that arguing abstractly (in my opinion); "There is no absolute
          >logical extension such that imagination--->confused" (which still seems
          >to
          >be the theme), is of little real value to anyone struggling to follow
          >Spinoza's path. I believe, though I don't assume I could prove, that such
          >arguments may even provide stumbling blocks to others because they reinforce
          >the tendency of the human imagination to look for "the answer" to questions
          >not yet well formed in the mind. These "answers" often prevent further
          >inquiry as the imagination turns toward new and novel images.

          "Provide stumbling blocks?" This seems a confused choice of words, but
          mostly it further indicates the sort of condescension displayed by posting a
          definition from the dictionary, etc. I don't imagine anyone reading this
          list is looking for Terry's protection from my dangerous disinformation.
          But, to look for the positive in his remark, I venture that perhaps, in a
          limited fashion, Terry may have a sense of this:

          "E5:Prop. [XXVIII] The endeavour or desire to know things
          by the third kind of knowledge cannot
          arise from the first, but from the
          second kind of knowledge."

          The desire to "look for the answer" does not follow from any "tendency of the
          human imagination," but rather from the nature of the essence of the human
          mind, (which becomes more active as we begin to reflect upon our
          imaginations), in conjunction with the proprium of Providence by which the
          mind seeks to preserve itself, and to improve.

          >To describe, and try to show, that imagination (as Spinoza uses the
          >term) "...is also the source of grist for the mill of reason" seems to
          >me a mere poetic/academic abstraction and of little value for studying my own
          >nature using Spinoza's expressed ideas. My own nature and daily life
          >involves a struggle to distinguish and to keep from confusing my
          >Understanding with the passive part of my nature which Spinoza names
          >Imagination.

          This is where we have different ideas. It is difficult for me to imagine how
          the process represented by this figure of speech, "grist for the mill" can be
          viewed as anything but essential to the practical and progressive aspects of
          Spinoza's philosophy by someone who claims to have some acquaintance with it,
          unless, as I suspect, it is mainly a case of obstinacy. The "one end aim" of
          Spinoza's philosophy and the epistemic primacy of intuition in it, are not in
          dispute by me. It is Spinoza's methodology of emendation that I perceive to
          be at issue. My paper makes a good case for the view that the method of
          progressing toward "the summit of wisdom" has a good deal to do with
          revamping the way we think about our imaginations. And further, I maintain
          that the imagination is a vital tool in the process.

          Again, one of the four modes of perception in TIE is "experience." This
          depends on imagination, and comprises most of our knowledge, arrived at
          inductively. It is clear to me, and I think to anyone, as I said, with a
          certain degree of studentship, that Spinoza intends for us to reason about
          our experiences. For that matter, it is common sense. What are the first 20
          propositions of Part 5? If we rule out sense experiences, emotions,
          inadequate ideas, dreams, and the rest of our imaginations as "grist for the
          "mill of reason," what is left to reason about? Some, such as Hume, might
          say "nothing." Others, say Plato, might say "geometry," or some other
          arguably abstract discipline. The unique aspect of Spinoza's philosophy, as
          far as I know, is that he says that for the result we seek, we must
          ultimately study ourselves and other things according to the standard of a
          "given true idea." I fully agree, if Terry ascribes to this, that the
          direction is ultimately to make inferences from intuitions of this caliber.
          Accordingly, I have explained in my paper what this innate "true idea" is.
          However, as the beginning of the TIE illustrates, even Mr. Spinoza was
          searching a while before he discerned this method well. Reasoning about
          experiences, on the other hand, is already underway in everyone's life, to
          one degree or another. Spinoza indicates that we can strengthen the eyes of
          our minds for ever greater insights by reasoning, especially when we turn our
          mental magnifying glass inward, toward our own nature, and particularly
          toward our emotions, which are confused imaginations.

          Consider the following description of Mr. Spinoza by his biographer Colerus
          in view of my remarks.
          >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

          >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
          "He often took his magnifying glass, observing through this the smallest
          mosquitoes and flies, at the same time reasoning about them. He knew,
          however, that things cannot be seen as they are in themselves. The eternal
          properties and laws of things and processes can only be discovered by
          deduction from common notions and evident axioms. 'The eyes of the mind, by
          which it sees and observes the things are the demonstrations."
          >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

          >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
          I understand by this account that Spinoza was able to give each kind of
          knowledge its harmonious place in the "intellectual order," as it pertains to
          a living, breathing human being.

          > Now and then I awaken a little into the Eternal part of my mind and
          >then
          >"... what is referred to [my] imagination and memory become[s]
          >insignificant, in comparison with [my] intellect."

          I think it is worthwhile for individuals interested in Spinoza to understand
          why a philosopher like Wittgenstein would say, without any malice, that
          Terry's expression here is "nonsense." Terry's words allude to an
          unverifiable psychological state, and he then endeavors to rest arguments
          upon it. He may be enjoying a certain mental state, or he may be pulling our
          leg, but it is poor rhetoric all the same, because to anyone who recognizes
          sense, his authority as a sensible individual is diminished by such pointless
          declarations. How is Terry here to be rebutted? "Well, I have been to the
          mountain, and have the new commandments in hand! They say that you are full
          of nonsense!"

          Individuals willing to assiduously >apply reasoning and understanding to
          their imaginations with the aim of forming a clear and distinct conception of
          them< will find that the modes of perception Spinoza elucidates in TIE will
          be distinguished more and more vividly as they go along.

          > One mind's opinion,
          > Regards,
          > Terry

          Spinoza equates "opinion" with the first kind of knowledge (note to E2:Prop
          40), and as we discovered, he asserts that the desire for the truths we seek
          cannot arise from it. I'll hopefully spend no more effort addressing Terry's
          for a while, I think, for reasons I have alluded to. However, I welcome
          constructive criticism, sincere questions, etc.
        • Terry Neff
          SunHunter9, ... hand. I can t account for your not seeing any relevance. Perhaps arrogance does equal blindness on both our parts. Terry
          Message 4 of 14 , Jan 27, 2001
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            SunHunter9,

            > I fully agree with this, but I don't see the relevance to any issue at
            hand.

            I can't account for your not seeing any relevance. Perhaps arrogance
            does equal blindness on both our parts.

            Terry
          • Terry Neff
            Hi SunHunter9, ... how ... be ... obstinacy. ... of ... So, when Spinoza wrote: ========== But one may take any view one likes of the imagination so long as
            Message 5 of 14 , Jan 27, 2001
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              Hi SunHunter9,

              > This is where we have different ideas. It is difficult for me to imagine
              how
              > the process represented by this figure of speech, "grist for the mill" can
              be
              > viewed as anything but essential to the practical and progressive aspects
              > of Spinoza's philosophy by someone who claims to have some
              > acquaintance with it, unless, as I suspect, it is mainly a case of
              obstinacy.
              > The "one end aim" of Spinoza's philosophy and the epistemic primacy
              > of intuition in it, are not in dispute by me. It is Spinoza's methodology
              of
              > emendation that I perceive to be at issue. My paper makes a good case
              > for the view that the method of progressing toward "the summit of
              > wisdom" has a good deal to do with revamping the way we think
              > about our imaginations. And further, I maintain that the imagination
              > is a vital tool in the process.

              So, when Spinoza wrote:

              ==========
              "But one may take any view one likes of the imagination so long as one
              acknowledges that it is different from the understanding, and that the soul
              is passive with regard to it. The view taken is immaterial, if we know that
              the imagination is something indefinite, with regard to which the soul is
              passive, and that we can by some means or other free ourselves therefrom
              with the help of the understanding."
              ==========

              What he really meant to say was not that we can free ourselves from the
              Imagination with the help of the Understanding but rather that with the help
              of this indefinite, passive, "vital tool" of Imagination we can make
              progress toward "the summit of wisdom." Strange, Spinoza missed that here
              and rather told us that we should acknowledge the difference and use the
              Understanding to overcome Imagination.

              As for stumbling blocks, I used the expression in reference to Spinoza's
              own description of that "which prevents the understanding from reflecting on
              itself":

              ==========
              Let us also beware of another great cause of confusion, which prevents
              the understanding from reflecting on itself. Sometimes, while making no
              distinction between the imagination and the intellect, we think that what we
              more readily imagine is clearer to us; and also we think that what we
              imagine we understand. Thus, we put first that which should be last; the
              true order of progression is reversed, and no legitimate conclusion is
              drawn.
              ==========

              How is it that the essay has done anything other than point out what is
              abundantly clear from Spinoza's own words --that the Imagination is with us
              as long as the body endures and that the mind is aware of these images?
              Seems to me like "pointing out to astronomers that all planets in the solar
              system orbit Sol."

              Regards,
              Terry
            • Terry Neff
              Hi SunHunter9, I ve given the essay a fourth read since you seem so insistent that it provides vital information. A few points, which at first I read through
              Message 6 of 14 , Jan 28, 2001
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                Hi SunHunter9,

                I've given the essay a fourth read since you seem so insistent that it
                provides vital information. A few points, which at first I read through more
                readily, are becoming more evident "sticking points" for me. When I reach
                the following:

                "It is crucial to understand, however (and Spinoza elaborates upon this in
                Part 5), that when passive perceptions in turn become the object of a "clear
                and distinct conception" (active idea, or adequate idea determined from
                within), that is to say, after we apply reflective knowledge to them, the
                perceptions themselves necessarily reflect the change in their correlate
                status. They are necessarily transformed because they maintain the correlate
                relation to an idea which is now adequated. This is the reversal of the
                causative flow I mentioned at the outset, and more will be revealed about it
                later."

                Spinoza's example of the imagined distance to the sun comes to my mind:

                ============= E2: PROP. 35, Note:
                ...So, again, when we look at the sun we imagine that it is distant from us
                about two hundred feet; this error does not lie solely in this fancy, but in
                the fact that, while we thus imagine, we do not know the sun's true distance
                or the cause of the fancy. For although we afterwards learn, that the sun is
                distant from us more than six hundred of the earth's diameters, we none the
                less shall fancy it to be near; for we do not imagine the sun as near us,
                because we are ignorant of its true distance, but because the modification
                of our body involves the essence of the sun, in so far as our said body is
                affected thereby.
                =============

                and

                ============= E4: PROP. 1, Note:
                ...imagination is an idea, which indicates rather the present disposition of
                the human body than the nature of the external body; not indeed distinctly,
                but confusedly; whence it comes to pass, that the mind is said to err.
                For instance, when we look at the sun, we conceive that it is distant
                from us about two hundred feet; in this judgment we err, so long as we are
                in ignorance of its true distance; when its true distance is known, the
                error is removed, but not the imagination; or, in other words, the idea of
                the sun, which only explains the nature of that luminary, in so far as the
                body is affected thereby: wherefore, though we know the real distance, we
                shall still nevertheless imagine the sun to be near us. For, as we said in
                E2P35N, we do not imagine the sun to be so near us, because we are ignorant
                of its true distance, but because the mind conceives the magnitude of the
                sun to the extent that the body is affected thereby.
                =============

                Spinoza suggests that although we might learn that "the sun is distant
                from us more than six hundred of the earth's diameters" our imagination
                still presents it in such a way that it appears only a few hundred feet away
                (your distance may vary). He does not say how the "true distance" might be
                determined (600 x 8000 miles or so is far from today's reasoned distance)
                but he clearly says it is not by simply relying on the apparent distance as
                imagined. In fact, he says that even if we do learn its true distance,
                still:

                ============
                "...we none the less shall fancy it to be near; for we do not imagine the
                sun as near us, because we are ignorant of its true distance, but because
                the modification of our body involves the essence of the sun, in so far as
                our said body is affected thereby."
                ============

                Whether we eventually learn either "the sun's true distance or the cause
                of the fancy" the perceived distance remains the same. Now in the essay it
                is stated that:

                "...when passive perceptions in turn become the object of a "clear and
                distinct conception" (active idea, or adequate idea determined from within),
                that is to say, after we apply reflective knowledge to them, the perceptions
                themselves necessarily reflect the change in their correlate status. They
                are necessarily transformed because they maintain the correlate relation to
                an idea which is now adequated. This is the reversal of the causative flow I
                mentioned at the outset..."

                So what transformation of the perception of the sun's distance has taken
                place? The sun is still perceived (through our Imagination) to be a few
                hundred feet away. Earlier in the essay it was stated:

                "...when we are certain about a thing, it is because, in contemplation of
                our idea, we recognize the essential and real 1:1:1 ratio between the
                object, the true idea, and the idea of the idea."

                How does this 1:1:1 ratio apply to the perception of the sun's distance
                in Spinoza's example?

                At the close of the essay it is stated:

                "The inversion of the ratio 1:1:1 from passive to active that I have
                attempted to illustrate and clarify, and by which I mean the reversal of the
                direction of causal flow such that it reflects "the intellectual order" by
                proceeding from consciousness of truths to the active emotions to images and
                words, is fully operative as Spinoza's timeless conceptions are transformed
                into a geometric arrangement of language through the faculty of free
                imagination."

                This seems at first glance to express an idea of great depth but on
                closer inspection I confess that I do not understand "Imagination and the
                Inverse Ratio of Transformation".

                Yes,
                One mind's "Opinion",
                Terry
              • SunHunter9@aol.com
                ... ...when passive perceptions in turn become the object of a clear and distinct conception (active idea, or adequate idea determined from within), that is
                Message 7 of 14 , Jan 30, 2001
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                  In a message dated 1/28/01 2:10:03 PM, tneff@... writes:

                  > Whether we eventually learn either "the sun's true distance or the
                  >cause of the fancy" the perceived distance remains the same. Now in the essay
                  >it is stated that:

                  "...when passive perceptions in turn become the object of a "clear and
                  distinct conception" (active idea, or adequate idea determined from within),
                  that is to say, after we apply reflective knowledge to them, the perceptions
                  themselves necessarily reflect the change in their correlate status. They
                  are necessarily transformed because they maintain the correlate relation
                  to an idea which is now adequated. This is the reversal of the causative flow
                  I
                  >mentioned at the outset..."

                  >So what transformation of the perception of the sun's distance has
                  >taken place?

                  None. Why would a transformation occur? An imagination is not transformed
                  by the presence of what is "true," but only by another more powerful
                  modification. That is the whole point. If individuals do not know how, and
                  do not constantly practice Spinoza's methods for producing these modifying
                  effects, outlined in the first 20 propositions of part 5, with relentless
                  devotion, they are not availing themselves of the intended practical
                  employment of his philosophy. The image of the Sun, like any other image,
                  may, in theory, be referred to the idea of God, though, for ethical reasons,
                  I would sooner see this effort applied first to the idea of a passion, which
                  is no less a confused idea. This is a process akin to playing the piano
                  well, only much more difficult; in the sense, I mean, that it requires a
                  great deal more of practice than it does of theoretical information, or
                  speculative wiseacring. Its implementation depends on the capability of the
                  individual practitioner and must take into account the sometimes overpowering
                  essence of the other thing. The remedy, the active emotion, if sufficiently
                  energetic, will displace the passive modification. These active emotions are
                  produced by an understanding of the "common notions," and if one is so
                  blessed as to work one's way to the summit of wisdom, as Spinoza may have
                  done, the idea of God is the commonest of all notions. By the same
                  principles, empirical knowledge of good and evil cannot transform the
                  passions, but only insofar as the knowledge produces at least a desire. Each
                  instance of a passion is unique in the interplay of essential forces, and
                  requires commensurate strength of reason and intuition to produce the
                  overcoming modification (image). What Spinoza reveals is that the headwater,
                  so to say, of this active emotion/common notions is the love of God.

                  >The sun is still perceived (through our Imagination) to be a few
                  >hundred feet away.

                  "...when we are certain about a thing, it is because, in contemplation of
                  our idea, we recognize the essential and real 1:1:1 ratio between the
                  object, the true idea, and the idea of the idea."

                  >How does this 1:1:1 ratio apply to the perception of the sun's distance in
                  Spinoza's example?

                  Another question I will address.

                  Hopefully, we are aware that the "distance to the Sun" of x units of quantity
                  doesn't involve anything like the objective certainty to which I was
                  referring in the citation from my essay, and such empirical data may or may
                  not comprise a kind of knowledge giving rise to the desire for getting at the
                  essence of things, depending upon the fact itself, within any given mind. If
                  I were to perform an experiment, perhaps it might go something like this....

                  So, now I am out on the sidewalk. I don't intend to look at the sun, by the
                  way, so I'll have to adapt the perception of distance from the optic nerve to
                  the nerves on my arm, which I expose now to the suns rays. When it is
                  direct, and passively experienced, it feels warm, about the warmth I would
                  expect from the orb, however subjectively far away, on this winter's day. I
                  am going to transform how it feels, this image, by forming a clear and
                  distinct conception of the modification and explain each component of the
                  reversed ratio.

                  One: The Understanding-I am highly certain of several ideas of factors common
                  to my essence and the essence of the Sun, and furthermore, that it is through
                  these that there are benefits to my body with limited exposure, and this is
                  the aspect of "distance" that I begin to enjoy actively. I now have an
                  adequate conception of the modification, referred to the idea of common
                  notions arising strictly from within my own nature, and referred only to my
                  nature, and also, incidentally, to the Sun.

                  One: The Active Emotion-The more sufficiently these ideas of common notions
                  are understood, that is, the more they approach such a degree of integration
                  between what I conceive in common with the Sun, that they first approach the
                  notions of the mediate modes, then begin to reflect the ideas of the
                  attributes, the more vivid the active emotion, the idea of the modification,
                  produced. I am very conscious that my ideas are certain, but existing human
                  languages lack an indexical form of the word indicating "truth" which begins
                  at intuitive certainty (2+2=4), and proceeds through variants to a word for
                  completely objective certainty meaning "intuition reflecting perfectly the
                  whole intellectual order up to and inclusive of the idea of
                  God/mind/extension."

                  One: The Modification of the Body (image)-I no longer feel this pleasant warm
                  blending of my essence and that of the Sun, as I did when I first rolled up
                  my sleeve and was passively enjoying a certain warm sensation, but rather
                  another more vivid sensation peculiar to my ideas of that which is common to
                  my nature alone and also, incidentally, to the nature of the Sun. For, it is
                  written, "what is an idea, if not a certain sensation?" However, the essence
                  of the Sun is likewise a reality in the general order of nature, and it has
                  proportions of motion and rest that are in harmony with my nature only within
                  certain parameters, beyond which it can be most harmful. Therefore, it is
                  time for me to go home now. Drinking a cup of coffee can be good. Inhaling
                  it is definitely bad. Likewise, the image of the Sun, when looked at
                  directly, is bad for my eyes.
                • Terry Neff
                  Hi SunHunter9, You ve finally succeeded in losing me completely. Your reply seems quite unintelligible. Maybe others will find it helpful in their endeavour to
                  Message 8 of 14 , Jan 30, 2001
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                    Hi SunHunter9,

                    You've finally succeeded in losing me completely. Your reply seems quite
                    unintelligible. Maybe others will find it helpful in their endeavour to
                    Understand their own nature but to me it seems as though we are speaking two
                    different languages.

                    <snip>

                    > >So what transformation of the perception of the sun's distance has
                    > >taken place?

                    > None. Why would a transformation occur?

                    <snip>

                    >
                    > >How does this 1:1:1 ratio apply to the perception of the sun's distance
                    in
                    > Spinoza's example?
                    >
                    > Another question I will address.
                    >

                    <snip>

                    =========
                    "Sometimes ... we think that what we more readily imagine is clearer to
                    us; and also we think that what we imagine we understand."
                    =========

                    Pleasant Dreams,
                    Terry
                  • SunHunter9@aol.com
                    ... Loosing you completely was not the intent of my effort in drafting a reply to the couple of questions I separated from the many you posed in a flurry of
                    Message 9 of 14 , Jan 31, 2001
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                      In a message dated 1/30/01 9:31:55 PM, tneff@... writes:

                      >Hi SunHunter9,
                      >
                      >You've finally succeeded in losing me completely. Your reply seems
                      >quite
                      >unintelligible. Maybe others will find it helpful in their endeavour to
                      >Understand their own nature but to me it seems as though we are speaking
                      >two
                      >different languages.

                      "Loosing you completely" was not the intent of my effort in drafting a reply
                      to the couple of questions I separated from the many you posed in a flurry of
                      posts. But what specious aim had you, I wonder, in posing these questions,
                      that you have neither an answer to them, nor anything now but an aversion to
                      their issue?

                      It may indeed seem that I am speaking a different language, especially when
                      ideas are couched in the rigorous verbiage that logical exposition would like
                      us to employ. Nevertheless, the basic axiom of Spinoza's metaphysics, and of
                      adequate knowledge of our own nature, depends upon understanding that the
                      mind and body are one and the same individual, and therefore that the
                      conceptions of the mind of an individual must be reflected in the
                      corresponding body. In fact, these conceptions <are> the body, either as it
                      actually exists, in which case the conceptions involve duration, or they
                      <are> the body "under the form of eternity," whose corresponding conceptions
                      are eternal, and without reference to the imagination, except that an
                      individual who is alive, whose mind is absorbed in contemplation of an
                      eternal essence, will be physically modified accordingly by an emotion. Just
                      as certainly as One Substance expresses the attributes of mind and matter,
                      these correlate relationships are immutable, and will be reflected in the
                      existent bdoy until death ensues. This knowledge is the key to freedom from
                      the bondage we are held in by our passions. Therein, this method by which
                      understanding may produce the active emotion which displaces the passions in
                      the body itself, lies the trailhead of the path to freedom.

                      Sometimes, a different form of language expression, which is liberated from
                      paying heed to the niceties of logic, can break us out of mental torpor, and
                      at least begin to stir a feeling, the emotional sense, the activity of
                      spirit, which must accompany ideas in order for knowledge to acquire the real
                      power to displace the modification that a passion, or confused idea,
                      comprises. Here, then, is a poem in that spirit which I composed to depict
                      the marvel, and the ensuing emotion, in the idea that that all modifications,
                      images, may be referred to the idea of God.

                      >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

                      >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

                      And This Is Real


                      I am sitting here.
                      I see the view of trees and sky;
                      Images in my body’s eye.
                      And this is real: All that exists God thinks, and infinitely more.

                      What am I seeing
                      In this deeply silent scene? His thought in extension?
                      Can I more perfectly know this now,
                      This truth... beyond agreeable perceptions of beauty?

                      All within me is more than still with the Wonder of it.
                      The Word whispers secrets of Absolute Fullness,
                      “I am in the Father, and the Father is in me.”

                      A breeze rattles the leaves before my eyes,
                      Unmoved Mover striking.
                      I am as It’s bell now,
                      Still ringing with Truth.

                      And this is Real.

                      >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

                      >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

                      Poetry is inherently "Nonsense," by Wittgenstein's valuable scheme of
                      reference, but that doesn't prevent it from being useful, here and there.
                      I want to also include a couple of pertinent brief citations from "The Gospel
                      of Thomas." But in order to make this "on topic," to a reasonable degree, I
                      offer that a recently discovered and authenticated note from Tschirnhausen to
                      Leibniz quoted Spinoza as saying that "Jesus is the best philosopher." Jesus
                      the philosopher has little to do with the theological Jesus, a notion I think
                      we can assent to in view of these examples:

                      Jesus said " If they ask you, 'What is the evidence of your father in you?'
                      say to them, 'It is motion and rest.'"
                      "Know what is in front of your face, and what is hidden from you will be
                      disclosed to you. For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed."

                      > Pleasant Dreams,
                      > Terry

                      <G> Or as Terry seems to feel about my ideas, "For there is nothing
                      unintelligible that will not be reviled."

                      In his last post, Charles brought out the important idea that according to
                      Spinoza, each individual has an innate true idea. When we look upon one
                      another by this light, our words and deeds are motiviated by an adequate
                      understanding of the principle behind the golden rule. It some cases, during
                      active discussion, it takes a modicum of discrimination to discern where a
                      philosophical challenge, containing true ideas and directed to the intellect,
                      is able to be distinguished from superfluous effrontery.
                    • Terry Neff
                      Hi SunHunter9, Again, I can barely make anything intelligible out of this rigorous verbiage. It seems to me that many of the phrases and examples are being
                      Message 10 of 14 , Jan 31, 2001
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                        Hi SunHunter9,

                        Again, I can barely make anything intelligible out of this "rigorous
                        verbiage." It seems to me that many of the phrases and examples are being
                        used more to produce an impression of depth than to help anyone to
                        understand anything. In your recent posts, including the essay, it seems to
                        me that many of the comments directed toward me apply as much, or even more
                        directly, to you and what you have written. It's as though you are talking
                        to a mirror but don't know it. Of course maybe that's what I'm doing too so
                        I'm putting in effort to observe my own emotions as I read and write. Any
                        emotions must involve my own imagination and confused thinking.

                        I will continue to read and endeavor to understand anything that anyone
                        writes here however at this point, having reviewed the last several
                        exchanges, I feel there has been nothing of any value to come from either of
                        us.

                        Terry
                      • SunHunter9@aol.com
                        ... Your lack of specifics, in the sense of presenting any particular sticking points, prevents any dialectic process from occurring. A good deal of what
                        Message 11 of 14 , Feb 1, 2001
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                          In a message dated 1/31/01 10:12:32 PM, tneff@... writes:

                          >Hi SunHunter9,
                          >
                          >Again, I can barely make anything intelligible out of this "rigorous
                          >verbiage."

                          Your lack of specifics, in the sense of presenting any particular "sticking
                          points," prevents any dialectic process from occurring. A good deal of what
                          was contained in my last post, specifically the second paragraph which
                          comprises the main body of prose text, is a very brief and incomplete
                          explication of Spinoza's ontological conception and a reference to his aim in
                          Part 5, which ideas are readily available in reputable texts about Spinoza's
                          philosophy. That is not to say that the concepts are not difficult.
                          Would-be adherents who cannot yet comprehend, at least logically to a certain
                          degree, Spinoza's conception of Substance and the attributes, and his ideas
                          about the dual nature of objects, (particularly where their own nature is
                          concerned), will encounter corresponding limitations when it comes to
                          applying the practical methods for coming to adequate conceptions of their
                          modifications.

                          >It seems to me that many of the phrases and examples are being
                          >used more to produce an impression of depth than to help anyone to
                          >understand anything.

                          The text portion of my last post which I just discussed etc., was aimed at
                          helping the understanding of the topics just mentioned. I made it clear that
                          my aim with my poem etc., which comprised the balance of the post was, as you
                          say, "to produce an impression of depth." But, do you mean in the sense of
                          somehow defrauding the poor reader? If there was a measuring device for
                          determining the degree of someone else's "depth" over the net, or even across
                          the room, how useful would that be? It might be worth something if we could
                          use it to assess or aid our own progress, because that is what is important.
                          If you agree, then what is important for you is how <you> feel in responding
                          positively or reacting passively to these "depth impressions."

                          The best way I know of to share the joy I felt in creating one of my poems,
                          or reflecting again on the ideas that inspired it, is to show or read it to
                          the other. I cannot show you them idea directly; it isn't a physical object.
                          I show them what my idea "looks like" to me by embodying it in the words of
                          my poem. How about the possibility that in your recognition of this "depth
                          impression," once you separate it from your ideas about me, is a sense of
                          "some good," which is in you?

                          >In your recent posts, including the essay, it seems
                          >to me that many of the comments directed toward me apply as much, or even
                          >more
                          >directly, to you and what you have written.

                          There isn't anything about you, in particular, in my essay.

                          >Any emotions must involve my own imagination and confused thinking.

                          This is of value. A true proposition.

                          > I will continue to read and endeavor to understand anything that anyone
                          >writes here however at this point, having reviewed the last several
                          >exchanges, I feel there has been nothing of any value to come from either
                          >of us.

                          I see a good deal of value generally in your interest in Spinoza, especially
                          when it is manifested in a clear idea, as in your proposition above. My own
                          remarks embody ideas which are of incalculable value to me. However, our
                          discussions have not achieved any dialectic process, or synthesis.
                        • tneff@earthlink.net
                          Hi SunHunter9, The tone of your last post (as I perceive it) seems a little less arrogant to me and that s a positive sign. There is, at this time, nothing
                          Message 12 of 14 , Feb 1, 2001
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                            Hi SunHunter9,

                            The tone of your last post (as I perceive it) seems a little less
                            arrogant to me and that's a positive sign.

                            There is, at this time, nothing further I can think of to
                            contribute to this thread.

                            Regards,

                            Terry
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