Tell Me About Spinoza, and do you agree?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary basically says “Spinoza believed reality is one substance with an infinite number of attributes of which only thought and extension are capable of being apprehended by the human mind.”

If I am understanding this correctly, then is his words can be extracted to say:
a) There’s more going on in the physical world than meets the eye?
b) My perception of reality may not necessarily match your reality?
c) There may be more at work here than we could ever perceive…whether it is the existence of a superior being and/or the purpose of His/Her actions…as well as the possibility of other lives (or the existence of souls) on other planes.

Hmm, perhaps this is like how a mathematician knows there can be infinite dimensions, but we cannot begin to perceive, say, a 5-d “square” object…right?

Do you agree with (a) my interpretation? If not, what is he saying, then? And, (b) do you agree with Spinoza himself? It’s subtle and deep, but he may have something, and yet we may never know…

Very thought provoking!

  • Jinx

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

That’s how I’d take it, anyway.

SPINOZA FUCKING ROCKS!!! In Hindu scriptures, God showed the hero Arjuna His true divine self, and it describes Him as: “Suppose a thousand suns should rise in the sky together; such is the glory of the shape of infinite God.” When Spinoza saw a thousand suns rising into the sky, he whipped out a spectrograph and measured and categorized them. The man was awesome!!!

Pardon me; I’m calmer now. Spinoza said lots of things, doubtless more than either of us understand of him. I think part of it is the problem of mind vs. matter. Do I really have a soul, or am I just a bunch of molecules bumping into each other in my brain? Well, both. Spinoza said both are equally valid interpretations of the one true reality.

I’m not sure, but I also think he said the basis of morality is that we should be nice to other people because we can use them. I’ve worked for Spinozists.

Spinoza was talking about God. Everything in the universe is really one of the infinite attributes of one infinite substance, which he called “the God in Nature” (Deus sive Natura).

As for “Thought and Extension,” I’ll quote this website:

I think this also tangentially touches the subject of Intellectual Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence. Spinoza theorized that humans react to their perception of the environment through feelings and subsequent emotions (which he defined to be causal but separate and distict). He proposed that a baby is born with certain basic feelings (hunger, need for physical touch, etc…) and developes new ones as he ages and experiences his environment. The emotions that he experiences as a result of the feelings (his immediate reaction to the environment) is largely learned, i.e. the feelings of touch bring on pleasant emotions when that desire is satisfied by a loving parent. Absence of touch at a critical developmental stage will likely develop an emotion of abandonment, fear and subsequent anti-social emotion.

By extension, our perception of the world around us is heavily influenced by the kinds of emotions we learned to experience in answer to the feelings we instinctively experienced from particular stimuli. Does that make any sense? It took me a while to get my head around this bit of Spinoza-think.

Moving thread from IMHO to Great Debates.