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Re: "Skillful Means"

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  • spinoza_gurdjieff
    Dear Sunhunter. You are a remarkable individual! Iris ... academics ... his ... Ethics, ... necessarily ... being; ... infinite ... which ... name ... which
    Message 1 of 4 , Mar 11, 2004
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      Dear Sunhunter.
      You are a remarkable individual!
      Iris


      --- In spinoza-tie@yahoogroups.com, SunHunter9@a... wrote:
      >
      > In a message dated 6/28/02 6:02:14 AM, fdixon65@y... writes:
      >
      > >Those who make a "spiritualist" of
      > >Spinoza err just as surely as those who make of him a
      > >materialist.
      >
      > The Improvement contains Spinoza's actual methods of work, but most
      academics
      > seem to feel that the Ethics, with TPT, is the mature expression of
      his
      > philosophy. If I wanted to give someone a brief survey of the
      Ethics,
      > perhaps I would read to them just the first bit of each part's
      preface, thus:
      >
      > [PREFACE] Part 2
      > (Pr:1) I now pass on to explaining the results, which must
      necessarily
      > follow from the essence of God, or of the eternal and infinite
      being;
      > not, indeed, all of them (for we proved in I:[xvi] , that an
      infinite
      > number must follow in an infinite number of ways), but only those
      which
      > are able to lead us, as it were by the hand, to the knowledge of the
      > human mind and its highest blessedness.
      >
      > PREFACE] Part 3
      > (Prf:1) Most writers on the emotions and on human conduct seem to be
      > treating rather of matters outside nature than of natural phenomena
      > following nature's general laws...
      >
      > [PREFACE] Part 4
      > (Prf:1) Human infirmity in moderating and checking the emotions I
      name
      > bondage: for, when a man is a prey to his emotions he is not his own
      > master, but lies at the mercy of fortune...
      >
      > [PREFACE] Part 5
      > (Prf:1) At length I pass to the remaining portion of my Ethics,
      which
      > is concerned with the way leading to freedom. (2) I shall therefore
      > treat therein of the power of the reason, showing how far the reason
      > can control the emotions...
      >
      > Given only the name "Ethics," and these preface beginnings, someone
      might
      > conclude that the book in hand concerns not materialism or some
      sort of
      > mystical states, but mainly a kind of enlightened psychology, or
      code of
      > conduct. As far as "materialists" are concerned, I think they are
      extremely
      > "smart" harbingers of the next re-former of Berkeley, etc., who
      will also be
      > an intellectual whiz, should our race persevere here on planet
      sufficiently
      > long to produce him or her, because all the while their cohorts in
      extremely
      > logical sciences are busily devising the latest "decision-trees"
      for missile
      > guidance systems and so on. Of course, Gurdjieff's cosmological
      formation
      > states that "everything is material" but I think what he means
      by "material"
      > is synonymous with Spinoza's "substance," which may sound
      like "material" to
      > those who I feel cannot distinguish between the words, and the
      things they
      > signify (even in a limited way, I don't understand them completely
      by any
      > means) in this instance. For me, the most important thing day-by-
      day about
      > Spinoza, if I had to pick and choose today, that I can't find
      anywhere else,
      > is the content of parts 3 &4, and his other ideas concerning the
      emotions in
      > part 5 and the method by which they may be transformed from
      passions into
      > activities. Also, his relentlessness in the pursuit of extending
      true ideas
      > is unique. He talks about attaining some kind of perfect
      Blessedness, but he
      > never says call it quits there. He's going to extend this not just
      to
      > sitting on his porch meditating, but to every thing, every waking
      feeling
      > moment, and above all, into relationship with his fellow man. He
      is no
      > sannyasi or hermit in a cave, but is "taking it to the street" by
      elevating
      > Ethics to a practical science. Spinoza is like the martial artist
      of true
      > philosophy. He is victorious by striking through and past the
      target of
      > overcoming suffering.
      >
      > Perhaps Spinoza is neither a "materialist" or "spiritualist," but
      is more
      > like a gold miner who just loves the color and heft of gold itself,
      and
      > enjoys therefore nothing more than being down in the earth covered
      with dirt
      > working yet another vein, and dying "in the harness." Those lucky
      enough not
      > just to hear about his work, but to discover the actual site, seem
      to find
      > one nugget after another in his train.
      >
      > ...."this knowledge brings it about that we do not grow
      > proud when we have accomplished something excellent (which pride
      > causes us to come to a standstill, because we think that we are
      > already great, and that we need do nothing further; thereby
      > militating precisely against our own perfection, which consists
      in
      > this -- that we must at all times endeavour to advance further
      and
      > further); but that, on the contrary, we attribute all that we
      do to
      > God, who is the first and only cause of all that we accomplish
      and
      > succeed in effecting."
      >
      > A "spiritualist," (a Deepok Chopra type always comes to mind-I
      wonder if he's
      > joking us with that name, it is too close to Deepockets), is
      generally like a
      > prospector who finds a mine where some real miner worked, notices
      one or two
      > nuggets near the entrance, then goes off to town with them to get a
      little
      > drunk maybe and impress the locals, who on the one hand may have
      never seen
      > anything sparkly and beautiful, or who, or on the other hand may
      have a brick
      > of bullion to his every nugget because they discreetly knew where
      the mine
      > was, bought tools to actually work the mine with the few nuggets
      they had
      > likewise initially found lying near the entrance, and can only
      shake their
      > heads as that slightly dipsomaniacal prospector heads down the road
      to give
      > the town a bad name with his shenanigans.
      >
      > A "materialist" wouldn't know a gold eagle if he held it in is
      hand, thinks
      > even the whole notion of prospecting is a myth, and will even argue
      about
      > whether there is such a thing as ground, all the while standing
      upon it.
      >
      > ...."if a carpenter, while doing some work, finds his Hatchet of
      excellent
      > service, then
      > this Hatchet has thereby attained its end and perfection
      > -Short Treatise
      >
      > So what can we gather immediately from the foregoing? Don't stand
      too close
      > to a blind carpenter.
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