Baruch Spinoza’s Conception of God and FreedomJune 26, 2021
Most religions teach that God is somewhere outside of the world, perhaps in heaven. Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677) was unusual in that he thought God was in the world. He wrote about “God or Nature” to express this idea, meaning that god and nature are the same thing. God and nature are two different ways of describing one thing. God is nature, nature is God. The belief that God is everything was a kind of pantheism. It was a radical idea that put a lot of work into Spinoza’s head.
Spinoza was born in Amsterdam to a Portuguese Jewish family. Back then, Amsterdam was the refuge of people fleeing persecution. But even here the views you can express were limited. Although he was brought up in a Jewish family, Spinoza was put down and cursed by the rabbis in his synagogue in 1656, at the age of 24, probably because of his views on God. He left Amsterdam and later settled in The Hague. From this time on, his Jewish name was known as Benedict de Spinoza rather than Baruch.
Many philosophers have been influenced by geometry. Ancient Greek philosopher Euclides’ famous proofs regarding various geometric hypotheses went from a few simple axioms or initial assumptions to the conclusion that the sum of the interior angles of a triangle is equal to two right angles. Philosophers are often fascinated by the way geometry moves, through careful logical steps, from agreed starting points to surprising conclusions. If the axioms are true, the conclusions must also be true. This kind of geometric reasoning inspired both Rene Descartes and Thomas Hobbes. Spinoza not only admired geometry, he wrote philosophy as if it were geometry.
The proofs in his book “Ethics” are similar to geometric proofs and include axioms and definitions. Spinoza thought that the “proofs” in the book should have the same relentless logic as in geometry. But the evidence here is about God, nature, freedom, and emotions, rather than dealing with issues like the angles of triangles and the diameters of circles. Spinoza thinks these issues can be analyzed and reasoned about in the same way we reason about triangles, circles, and squares. He even goes further and ends the chapters with “QED”, an abbreviation of the Latin phrase quod erat demonstrandum used in geometry books, meaning “must be proven”.
Spinoza believes that a structural logic underlies the world and our place in the world, and that this can be revealed through reason. Nothing is as it is by chance; There is a purpose and principle in all. Everything fits together in one gigantic system, and the best way to understand this is through the power of thought. This philosophical approach, which emphasizes the mind rather than experimentation and observation, is often referred to as “Rationalism”.
Spinoza liked to be alone. Solitude gave him the time and peace of mind he needed to continue his studies. Given their view of God, that was probably safer than being part of a government agency. That is why his most famous book “Ethica” was published only after his death.
Instead of buying a house for himself, Spinoza lived a very simple life, staying in hostels. He didn’t need much money, making a living by chipping lenses and earning some small payments from people who admired his philosophical work. The lenses he made were used in scientific instruments such as telescopes and microscopes. This allowed him to remain independent and work from his room. Unfortunately, the job also caused him to die prematurely at just 44 years old, probably from a respiratory infection he contracted. There is no doubt that the glass dust he inhaled while chipping the lenses damaged his lungs.
If God is eternal, he reasoned, it must be followed by the thought that there cannot be anything that is not God. If you find something in the universe that is not God, then God cannot be eternal, because God can be anything, as well as anything in principle. We are all parts of God, but stones, ants, grass and windows are also parts of God. All. They all intertwine into an incredibly complex whole, but everything that exists is ultimately a part of this one thing, God.
Traditional devotees preach that God loves humanity and answers personal prayers. This is a form of anthropomorphism that projects human qualities such as compassion onto an inhuman being, God. In its most extreme form, it is to imagine God as a kind-hearted man with a large beard and a kind smile on his face. Spinoza’s god is not such a god. He (man or woman) was completely impersonal, not caring about anything or anyone. According to Spinoza, you can and should love God, but you cannot expect any love in return. This is a nature lover expecting nature to love him too. like this. In fact, the God Spinoza describes is for human beings and their