First the idea of love for Spinoza is that truly free persons actively avoid love as in love is a passion.
Second that the "rational/noble" love of doing good to others ethically is the center piece of ethics.
Proposal 43 "Hatred is increased by being reciprocated, and can on the other hand be destroyed by love."
"For by “courage” I understand “the desire by which each person endeavors to preserve his being in accordance with the dictate of reason alone,” and by “nobility” I understand “the desire by which each person, in accordance with the dictate of reason alone, endeavors to help other men and join them to him in friendship.”" Page 73 of Ethics published in 1949 (Copy on my shelf)
When i talk about Spinoza in academic worlds I have the belief that Kierkegaard (Acts of Love in specific) and Spinoza are agreeing and talking about the same ethics of love. Though they disagree about everything else about love it is love that makes us be ethical to our neighbors. I try to make my children understand that we make those around us better because we care about their well-being and that while we disagree with people we do so with the idea that we care for them also.
"People in every time and culture have fallen in love, but not every culture has written about love or valued it in the same way.
'In the 12th century, romantic love became something that was worth celebrating and exploring in songs and stories - and you only have to look at modern film and music to see that legacy is still with us.'
Before the Norman conquest of England, Anglo-Saxon literature had a very different focus, said Professor Ashe.
'The world of the Anglo-Saxon warrior, at least in poetry, was based on the bond of loyalty between fighting men. Love in this world means love for your fellow warriors, and the idea of sacrificing yourself for the group."
Yet the cited article does not indicate "love" as meaning "suffering for someone or something else" or anything like that. Instead, we get something about "tragic love" (an apparent "contradiction in terms"): "In the Middle Ages, the idea that suffering was in some way productive was very widespread."
Earlier in that article: "So what changed in the Middle Ages? 'There was a transformation in culture,’ said Professor Ashe. ‘A series of church reforms in the 12th century took Christianity from a rather austere view of God the Father to a new focus on Christ's humanity. 'The spiritual lives of ordinary people were recognised, and people were encouraged to have a more emotional and personal relationship with God as individuals. And romantic love - giving yourself to another person - provides a justification, in the medieval moral compass, for the pursuit of self-fulfilment as an individual."
And from there, I would argue, "passion" took on a definition of "love" (and not the other way round).
I have studied Ancient Hebrew, classical Greek, Aramaic, German, and Danish (WOWZ) and there isn't a time when the word love couldn't be translated. Sometimes with more then one word but love has always been a varied meaning word.
Just as fear, sad and angry are translated love also is pretty clearly different categories within that emotion.
There are only two words for love in the new Testament: Agape and Philia and they are used interchangably. Anyone that tries to say they mean different things are trying to sell you something.
Exercise: Just look up the verses with the two words and read them (One difference (Many professors disagree that there is any difference)is that when Jesus and Peter had the conversation of "Do you love me." BUT I couldn't really tell you for certain why there were two words). Also same thing with rhema and logos they are used interchangeably.
People that try to split words into "atoms" into definitions just haven't studied a language for academic purposes. The more I learn the more I know that the people who did the translations are at a different league and much better then I am. I cringe when people talk Greek or Hebrew in church because 75% of the times they are just wrong. Like dunamis (power from the inside) is "dynamite power" makes me want to scream there is no way Paul knew what dynamite was or was thinking about an explosive.
Pope Benedict XVI, whom I believe is one of the greatest theological minds of our day, wrote about 3 kinds of love in his encyclical Deus Caritas Est (God is Love) . He shows how these different words for love are distinct but related. (Storge is not included; some people translate it as "affection" rather than love.) Here is a quote:
3. That love between man and woman which is neither planned nor willed, but somehow imposes itself upon human beings, was called eros by the ancient Greeks. Let us note straight away that the Greek Old Testament uses the word eros only twice, while the New Testament does not use it at all: of the three Greek words for love, eros, philia (the love of friendship) and agape, New Testament writers prefer the last, which occurs rather infrequently in Greek usage. As for the term philia, the love of friendship, it is used with added depth of meaning in Saint John's Gospel in order to express the relationship between Jesus and his disciples. The tendency to avoid the word eros, together with the new vision of love expressed through the word agape, clearly point to something new and distinct about the Christian understanding of love.
Perhaps, but the GP began with "the word love has lost its meaning throughout the ages". I don't think it has. Perhaps "love" can be parsed into several "flavors" (storge, philia, eros, agape, romantic, loyalty, etc.), but at the core it means still about the same (the "flavors" give hint or detail to motivations/context/obligations for the caring/concern/nurturing/keen-interest).
In the phrase (from above) "truly free persons actively avoid love as in love is a passion", I think here passion means something like "intense emotion". "Passion" has taken on new meanings - barely controllable emotion, intense sexual love, arousing great enthusiasm, etc. Only by way of religious context would a word that meant "suffering" get linked to "charity" love (agape). If anything, its other new meanings seem to be about the kinds of suffering from unsatisfied/unsatiated/frustrated desires.
Not true. The original meaning of the word passion was suffering, derived from Latin pati, the same root of patience. A passion in the emotional sense was suffering caused by love. This exactly shows that what was considered love in the old times was closely connected with suffering, a selfless feeling. Of course, religion had a lot to do with that. The happy feelings that we now assign to love are a conception of more modern times.
That equivalence was (and still is) anyhow a reasonable (i.e 'unmystical') starting point for carving out a sliver of understanding from existence in it's totality, including religious aspects.
Spinoza is also a great philosopher for people not used to the "canonical" philosophical methodology. The treaty looks and works like a formal mathematical proof with definitions, axioms, and propositions systematically proved by pure logic.
> There is nothing supernatural; there is nothing outside of or distinct from Nature and independent of its laws and operations.
It's pretty common to associate supernatural with magical because super-natural sounds like beyond the rules of nature, when it can just as easily mean beyond the known rules of nature. If you can't explain events under natural law (rules, whatever), it's practically and effectively supernatural. That doesn't necessarily exclude a future explanation, just because people have been averse or ignorant, to investigate in the past. Straight from history, countless supernatural events have been brought in to the fold.
Otherwise, this guy sounds like he had some contemporary beliefs shared by rationalists.
I do agree that many if not most 'supernatural' phenomena have been explained by science. However I don't think that it's all that useful to classify them as supernatural at a previous time and natural now. They haven't changed.
"If we think that God is like us, an agent who acts for the sake of ends and who, by issuing commands, makes known his expectations and punishes those who do not obey, we will be dominated by the passions of hope and fear: hope for eternal reward and fear of eternal punishment. This will, in turn, lead us towards submission to ecclesiastic authorities who claim to know what God wants
The resulting life is one of “bondage” – psychological, moral, religious, social and political enslavement – rather than the liberating life of reason."
.. well, if he said something like this before and in a way, that people listened to him, than this was a direct assault to the priests, the Rabbis, of the community. And also to the general foundations of jewish religion - so they probably saw it as a existential threat - therefore their harsh reaction.
And yet, in light of Spinoza’s mature philosophical writings, which he began working on less than a decade after the herem, the mystery of the ban begins to dissipate.
Thus, I call a thing free that exists and acts out
of the pure necessity of its nature; and I call it compelled, if its existence and activity are determined
in a precise and fixed manner by something else.
Thus God, for example, though necessary, is free,
because he exists only out of the necessity of his
nature. Similarly, God knows himself and everything else freely, because it follows from the necessity of his nature alone that he should know
everything. You see, then, that I locate freedom not
in free decision, but in free necessity.
Let us, however, descend to created things,
which are all determined to exist and to act in fixed
and precise ways by outside causes. To see this
more clearly, let us imagine a very simple case. A
stone, for example, receives a certain momentum
from an external cause that comes into contact with
it, so that later, when the impact of the external
cause has ceased, it necessarily continues to move.
This persistence of the stone is compelled, and not
necessary, because it had to be established by the
impact of an external cause. What applies here to
the stone, applies to everything else, no matter how
complex and multifaceted; everything is necessarily determined by an outside cause to exist and to
act in a fixed and precise manner.
Now please assume that the stone, as it moves,
thinks and knows that it is trying, as much as it
can, to continue in motion. This stone, which is
only conscious of its effort and by no means indifferent, will believe that it is quite free and that it
continues in its motion not because of an external
cause but only because it wills to do so. But this is
that human freedom that all claim to possess and
that only consists in people being aware of their
desires, but not knowing the causes by which they
are determined. Thus the child believes that it
freely desires the milk; the angry boy, that he freely
demands revenge; and the coward flight. Again,
drunkards believe it is a free decision to say what,
when sober again, they will wish that they had not
said, and since this prejudice is inborn in all
humans, it is not easy to free oneself from it. For,
although experience teaches us sufficiently that
people are least able to moderate their desires and
that, moved by contradictory passions, they see
what is better and do what is worse, yet they still
consider themselves free, and this because they
desire some things less intensely and because some
desires can be easily inhibited through the recollection of something else that is familiar.
Because this view is expressed clearly and definitely, it
is easy to discover the fundamental error in it. Just as a
stone necessarily carries out a specific movement in response to an impact, human beings are supposed to carry
out an action by a similar necessity if impelled to it by any
reason. Human beings imagine themselves to be the free
originators of their actions only because they are aware of
these actions. In so doing, however, they overlook the
causes driving them, which they must obey unerringly.
The error in this train of thought is easy to find. Spinoza
and all who think like him overlook the human capacity
to be aware not only of one’s actions, but also of the causes by which one’s actions are guided.
A Philosophy of Freedom - Rudolf Steiner
I dunno. I see a lot of people who take sole credit for their actions and outcomes and don't give a thought to the fact that they didn't choose their parents, place of birth, genetic makeup, talents and temperaments or simply the role of luck.
Take for example a monk who has set himself on fire yet remains calmly seated on the ground. Out of necessity I would say that the average person would run around frantically while being engulfed by flames, however the monk has seemingly decided to ignore this instinctual response. But then one could counter that the monk is acting out of necessity born from years of cultivating emptiness within. Well then, did the monk decide to become a monk when he was a child, or did it happen due to the necessity of his circumstances?
I can't decide whether necessity or decision is necessarily true in a case like this. =P
"The mind's highest good is the knowledge of God, and the mind's highest virtue is to know God. ...The mind is not capable of understanding anything higher than God, that is, than a Being absolutely infinite, and without which nothing can either be or be conceived; therefore, the mind's highest utility or good is the knowledge of God. Again, the mind is active, only in so far as it understands, and only to the same extent can it be said absolutely to act virtuously. The mind's absolute virtue is therefore to understand."
Welcome to philosophy's number one question. What can we base anything on? To Spinoza it is rationalism. Soren Kierkegaard (My son is named after him) there is nothing but faith that we must leap upon when we have no faith.
Bertrand Russel had a definition of Philosophy that fits your suspicion - in that he said that Philosophy is the contested no-mans land between Theology and Science.
Hence - you're probably not going to find absolutes.
He's talking about the name of that number.
He lived in the 1600s, that is not medieval, it's Renaissance. (Sorry for nitpicking.)
He must have been an interesting person, though. In his day job, he created lenses that powered the first microscopes and the telescope(s) that Christiaan Huygens used to observe Saturn's rings. A true Renaissance man, indeed!
That isn't universal and as a Theological student it isn't even what is written in the scriptures. In fact you can't read anywhere in the scriptures where people go to heaven, but it talks about people living here on earth.
It's hard to make universal statements.
I feel like I've been motte and bailey'd a bit here .
OK, let's remain agnostic about the hermeneutics. Can we agree that the doctrine of heaven and hell is less conducive to good stewardship of the earth than the doctrine of reincarnation?
Or are you, a theology student, solely commenting on a philosophy thread to police generalities?
> Or are you, a theology student, solely commenting on a philosophy thread to police generalities?
No, I just was trying to be diplomatic. I also wasn't really reacting to your statement as much as I hate when Christians throw on the doom and gloom when it is based on emotions and lazy Theology. It drives me crazy how people put so much energy into their beliefs when they don't put any energy into learning about their own beliefs. That is why so many people become so
> Can we agree that the doctrine of heaven and hell is less conducive to good stewardship of the earth
I have also read hundreds of Hindu books and I can say that Christian Scriptures also has clear statements about stewardship of the Earth. People also love ignorance and are lazy. They just believe what a person says and don't investigate it themselves. BUT I still don't see where Heaven and Hell as anything to do with stewardship. The Christian Scriptures don't have a Good / Evil balance scale for who goes to heaven and hell.
Huh, seems self-evident to me. If you have to keep a thing, you're gonna be motivated to treat it nice. If you're gonna throw that thing away after you're done with it, you're less motivated to treat it nice.
Since you are a Theological student, I'm sure you're familiar with 2 Corinthians, where Paul goes on at length about the evanescence of our terrestrial "tents": "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands."
Now this certainly sounds like it would be quite conducive to a "sinking ship" mentality. At the very least on the face of it! You might disagree for more _Theological_ reasons, but if you can't recognize the most obvious, exoteric implications of the text, then I can't help but feel that you're not considering what I said in good faith.
In another sense, it's a question of enforcement. All religions explicitly name the consequences for sin, so if abusing the environment is a sin in Christianity, what is the consequence? I mean, I assume even Christians have some vague sense that you shouldn't torture animals, but where exactly in the Scriptures is even that prohibited?
This is all rooted in Christianity's anthropocentric "ranking of souls." Since only humans are made in the image of God, we have a special status, which is why it's fine to eat the flesh of animals, which God specifically exhorts Peter to do, no?