Re: [spinoza-tie] re Imagination etc.
- 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 thingthe
> 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
> > idea of that idea [the clear and distinct conception] etc. and the ideaof
> > that idea, and so on ad infinitum, and vice versa, even to the extentthat
> > all of these are conceived under one and the same attribute.------
to which I replied:
>and then SunHunter9 [I'll refer to as "you" from here on] replied:
> > "objectively identical with the idea of that idea..."? On what do you
> >base this statement? ...
> E2 (21:5) Strictly speaking, the idea of the mind, that is, theHere you reply with a quote from Spinoza so I suppose we are to simply
> 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.
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]This statement went from "the idea of the modification of the body in
> > is necessarily and objectively identical with the
> > idea of that idea [the clear and distinct conception] etc.
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
========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.
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  (1) For instance, the man Peter is something real; the trueWell and good, but is this true idea of Peter, and idea of the idea,
> 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.
etc. clear and distinct in Peter's mind or only in the infinite intellect of
======== 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
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).
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
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
======== 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."
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
- 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
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,
- In a message dated 1/25/01 1:23:51 PM, tneff@... writes:
> Spinoza distinguishes (Merriam Webster def.: "to mark as separate orI fully agree with this, but I don't see the relevance to any issue at hand.
>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."
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"Provide stumbling blocks?" This seems a confused choice of words, but
>logical extension such that imagination--->confused" (which still seems
>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.
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 theThis is where we have different ideas. It is difficult for me to imagine how
>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
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 andI think it is worthwhile for individuals interested in Spinoza to understand
>"... what is referred to [my] imagination and memory become[s]
>insignificant, in comparison with [my] intellect."
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
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,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.
> I fully agree with this, but I don't see the relevance to any issue athand.
I can't account for your not seeing any relevance. Perhaps arrogance
does equal blindness on both our parts.
- Hi SunHunter9,
> This is where we have different ideas. It is difficult for me to imaginehow
> the process represented by this figure of speech, "grist for the mill" canbe
> viewed as anything but essential to the practical and progressive aspectsobstinacy.
> of Spinoza's philosophy by someone who claims to have some
> acquaintance with it, unless, as I suspect, it is mainly a case of
> The "one end aim" of Spinoza's philosophy and the epistemic primacyof
> of intuition in it, are not in dispute by me. It is Spinoza's methodology
> emendation that I perceive to be at issue. My paper makes a good caseSo, when Spinoza wrote:
> 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.
"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
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
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."
- 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
"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
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
============= 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,
"...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
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".
One mind's "Opinion",
- 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"...when passive perceptions in turn become the object of a "clear and
>cause of the fancy" the perceived distance remains the same. Now in the essay
>it is stated that:
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
>mentioned at the outset..."None. Why would a transformation occur? An imagination is not transformed
>So what transformation of the perception of the sun's distance has
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"...when we are certain about a thing, it is because, in contemplation of
>hundred feet away.
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 inSpinoza'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
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
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.
- 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
> >So what transformation of the perception of the sun's distance has<snip>
> >taken place?
> None. Why would a transformation occur?
> >How does this 1:1:1 ratio apply to the perception of the sun's distance
> Spinoza's example?<snip>
> Another question I will address.
"Sometimes ... we think that what we more readily imagine is clearer to
us; and also we think that what we imagine we understand."
- In a message dated 1/30/01 9:31:55 PM, tneff@... writes:
>Hi SunHunter9,"Loosing you completely" was not the intent of my effort in drafting a reply
>You've finally succeeded in losing me completely. Your reply seems
>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
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
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 bodys 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 Its 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,<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.
- 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
- In a message dated 1/31/01 10:12:32 PM, tneff@... writes:
>Hi SunHunter9,Your lack of specifics, in the sense of presenting any particular "sticking
>Again, I can barely make anything intelligible out of this "rigorous
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
>It seems to me that many of the phrases and examples are beingThe text portion of my last post which I just discussed etc., was aimed at
>used more to produce an impression of depth than to help anyone to
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 seemsThere isn't anything about you, in particular, in my essay.
>to me that many of the comments directed toward me apply as much, or even
>directly, to you and what you have written.
>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 anyoneI see a good deal of value generally in your interest in Spinoza, especially
>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
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.
- 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.