Abridgement of Spinozistic Ideas      
Only links, comments, and endnotes are abridged, not Spinoza's works. 
 
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Preface 
Love and Hate  -  Self-Interest 
Religion  -  One World  -  Conclusion  -  Bibliography 

 


Notes:

1.    "Spinozistic Ideas" was abridged and formatted for conversion to an eBook.
       This abridged version is available to be read on various eBook Readers.


2.    The unabridged file has more definitions, much more commentary, many more        links, and the latest revisions.

3.    Please report errors or suggestions to josephb@yesselman.com.

4.    {comment by JBY}

5.   The secret to understanding Spinoza is its foundation rock.
 


Preface:

I stumbled upon Spinoza after I studied Calculus in college. Spinoza's definitions of  sorrow, boredom, joy; hate, indifference, love, seemed to me to lend themselves to Calculus expression. The more I studied these equations, the more I realized how important they were in understanding roller-coaster emotions and everyday relationships—you love not out of altruism but self-interest.

As I kept studying Spinoza, I was really hooked when what happened to me is what Elwes thought happened to Spinoza.

From Bk.II:v "Elwes's Introduction to his Translations of Spinoza's Works":


This "unfolding itself" was to me an infinite "organic interdependence of all parts" which led directly to the "Golden Rule"; the obedience of which is not altruism but enlightened self-interest.

Now, after some fifty-six years, I am still studying Spinoza and gaining ever-new insights.

For an excellent introduction to Spinoza see Elwes's "Introduction to his Translations of Spinoza's Works".

I show herein a list of Spinozistic Ideas on Love and Hate, Self-Interest, Religion, One World, and Conclusions.  These ideas have been edited from the Glossary and Index, Ethics, TTP, TEI, and other Works.

The ideas expressed may not be explicit in Spinoza's Works, but are (in my opinion)  implicit and follow from his general principles.  In any event, partake of them as you would a pomegranate; relish the flesh and spit out the pits.
 

Shirley's Bk.VII:25—Idea.


1. Love and Hate:

1.1.  The definitions as given in the dictionaries are the everyday language usage, and are generally synonyms or properties of the word—not the nature thereof. Spinoza attempts to find the cause.
 

1.2.  Bk.1:178: Def. of the Emotions XX:Expl.— Definition of the Emotions


1.3.  Definitions which define things by their causes are hypotheses; they all need be suspect, for they are only congealed hypotheses. Hypotheses need to be constantly updated as knowledge evolves.
 

1.4.  An hypothesis is subject to error. Care must be taken to follow the scientific method—a method of research in which a problem is identified, relevant data gathered, a hypothesis formulated, and the hypothesis empirically tested.
 

1.5.  An hypothesis is an unproved, but as yet uncontradicted opinion. The truth of an hypothesis (or speculation) is in proportion to its usefulness in increasing PerpetuationCash Value.
 

1.6.  I:2.5c


1.7.  E3:VI:136— Perpetuation and Perfection are equal terms.


1.8.  I:1.5a


1.9.  °EMOTION is a change in one's °Perpetuation. Its intensity is proportional to the change.
 

1.9a.  °SORROW is a decrease in one's °Perpetuation. Its intensity is proportional to the decrease.
 

1.9b.  BOREDOM is no change in one's °Perfection. It marks the theoretical transition from JOY to SORROW and vice versa.
 

1.9c.  °JOY is an increase in one's °Perpetuation.  Its  intensity is proportional  to the increase.
 

1.10.  °FAITH is belief that an external object will cause a change in one's °Perpetuation. The intensity is proportional to the change.
 

1.10a.  °HATE is belief that an external object will decrease one's °Perpetuation. The intensity is proportional to the decrease feared.
 

1.10b.  INDIFFERENCE is belief that an external object will not change one's °Perpetuation.
 

1.10c.  °LOVE is belief that an external object will increaseone's °Perpetuation. The intensity is proportional to the increase hoped for.

1.11.   E4:Prf.27:189 Good and Bad.


1.12.  E3IX:137—What is a Good?


1.13.  A man, when rational and judging correctly, calls a thing good if it increases his °Perfection—bad; otherwise
 

1.14.  When a little fish is eaten by a bigger fish, does not the little fish "think" that's bad and does not the bigger fish "think" that's good (because each one seeks to preserve itself)?"  We say that is Nature; if the food cycle stops, all life stops.  However, we are like that little fish—or, like that big fish; abused or abuser.
 

1.15.  When Adam and Eve started to think in terms of "good and bad", i.e. subjectively; instead of "true and false", i.e. objectively; they self-thrust themselves from the Garden of Eden, i.e. they were subject to loss of °Peace of Mind. 
  

1.16.  Omit.
 
 

1.17.  A sex act is sexually moral if the parties are able to provide for the  possible  issue; able, both financially and psychologically within the standards of their society.  The motive for the society's standard is what best provides for the issue, thus best perpetuating  that  society—virtue.


1.18.  Games are atavistic play-acting at an activity which in real life is necessary for PERPETUATION. Examples–sports, boxing, gambling, war-games, fishing, hunting, (some gun lovers are sublimating their aggressiveness). Sexual intercourse without the desire for issue is also a game.

Proof.– The more actual the NEED; the more pleasurable, the success; the more sorrowful, the failure.
 

1.19.  E5Prop.Xn:252Right Conduct.



2. Self-Interest:
 

2.1.  Jungle self-interest—Survival is proportional to your power.  A strong tribe in a jungle is more likely to survive than a weak tribe.  Survival of the fittest; there are no laws—power  makes  right.

But technological advancement and training bring:

2.2.  Societal (enlightened) self-interest— Survival  is  proportional  to playing  by  the  rules  (reason,  keeping the beat in an orchestra).  Not  true  when living in a part-jungle society.  When a man steals bread  and  milk  to  feed his children, we do not condemn  him.
 

2.3.  To get and not give is selfishness (inorganic—in a body, the body soon dies); to get and to give is enlightenment (organic); to give and not get is altruism (inorganic). Healthy self-interest is perpetuation—you can't have one without the other.
 

2.4.  Rabbi Hillel (1st Century BCE) taught "If I am not for myself, who will be; if I am only for myself, what am I? Nothing, like the lung without the heart.
 

2.5.  Analogy: Unless it is ill, will the heart do anything to harm the lungs? On the contrary, it will do what it can to enhance their performance. Witness what harm whites have done to blacks—to the inevitable harm of whites.


2.6.  From Uzgalis—Leviathan -

2.8.  Self-interest—"you have to give to get; you have to get to give" is the nature of organic interdependence. Altruism implies that a person is not always part of G-D and has, at that time, no duties or obligations.
 

2.9.  The Hebrew word which is often mistranslated as charity, mercy, pity, etc., is tsed-aw-kaw', Strong:6666—rightness, justice, virtue, piety.  The root of tsed-aw-kaw' is tsaw-dak',  Strong:6663—upright, just, straight, innocent, true, sincere; (the same root as for righteousness).  Based on this etymology, it is what one lung does when the other collapses; it does double-duty, not out of altruism, but for its very own survival.  In so doing, it is, if possible, leading the collapsed lung back to health and thereby increasing the the lung-capacity of the body.  It is the Golden Rule in working clothes; enlightened self-interest.
 

2.10.  The Hebrew word which is often mistranslated as pity (compassion, love, is better) is rakh'-am, Strong:7355—to fondle, love, cherish, affection.  A related word is rekh'em, Strong:7358—the womb (cherishing the fetus).  Based on this etymology, the compassion, forgiveness, and °LOVE we should feel for each other is like that of a mother for the issue of her womb, perhaps varying in degree but not in kind; it is in no way altruistic; but on the contrary, enlightened self-interest.

2.11.  The Hebrew word for righteousness, justice is tseh'-dek, Strong:6664— righteous, integrity, equity, justice, straightness.  The root of tseh'-dek is tsaw-dak', Strong:6663—upright, just, straight, innocent, true, sincere; (the same root as for charity).  Based on this etymology, righteousness is the Golden Rule in working clothes—enlightened self-interest.  It is what one lung does when the other collapses; it takes over, for its very OWN survival.
 

2.12.  I believe society evolves as technological advancement and trade tips the scale toward enlightened self-interest and away from jungle self-interest. 



3. Religion:
 

3.1.  Religion is a self-serving, ever-evolving hypothesis designed to achieve °PEACE-OF-MIND, i.e. by faith, and when fleetingly achieved it is called Bliss, Blessedness, Grace, Salvation, etc.  This definition is in no  way pejorative of religion.  On the contrary, it is the highest attainment of the human mind—  Intuition-Revelation-Insight-Hypothesizing.


3.2.  A belief (hypothesis) in its varying degrees, can be a guess, a dogma, a hope, an intuition, a leap-of-faith.
 

3.3.  A dogma is a useful or non-useful hypothesis assumed true in the face of contradictions or unsubstantiated proof of inferences made.  It is true if useful; false and idolatrous if otherwise.

3.3a.   Jewish people, no matter their numbers, will never become extinct; Torah keeps them alive and relevant. Torah's message is to know the "ONE' and teaches to keep from idolatry
 
3.3b.   No. 3.3a above, is the root cause of anti-Semitism (
Semitism: Semitic characteristics, esp. the ways, ideas, influence, etc., of the Jewish people. Anti-Semitism: discrimination against or prejudice or hostility toward Jews.). By not acknowledging the religious hypotheses of the countries in which they live, they, the Jews undermine those hypotheses and hence, the peace-of-mind of those holding them. Mark Twain's 'A little Story' 

3.4.  Idolatry is making the infinite finite.  Idolizing a part, ignoring the whole; idolizing money, a golden calf (Exo. 32:4), farmers who pollute, substance  abuse, creating slums, any fixation to the exclusion of other things leads to chaos.
 

3.5.  The misuse of any part (mode) to the detriment of the whole is idolatry and leads to chaos.


3.6.  The Hebrew word for Holy is ko'desh, Strong:6944—a sacred place or thing, hallowed, holiness.  The root of ko'desh is kaw-dash' , Strong: 6942—to be pure, clean, i.e. right, straight, true, just.  Based on  this etymology, what is pure, clean, right, straight, true, just, etc., is Holy; the  test  is—that  which PERPETUATES is Holy.  If it does not PERPETUATE, it is unholy—profane.
 

3.7.  Bk.1:1Def.VI:45Durant:636


3.8.  From Bk.VII:23G-D (Deus)

3.9.  Spinoza goes to great lengths to posit G-D—the quintessential pragmatic truth (an all inclusive organic interdependence of all parts) so as to establish the foundation for all his thought.  Establishing the hypothesis of G-D is the entire burden of "The Improvement of the Understanding" and "The Ethics".

3.9a.  Posit Spinoza's G-D as a working hypothesis. 
 
Hypothesis is a provisional theory set forth to explain some class of phenomena (say, like gravity), either accepted as a guide to future investigation (working hypothesis) or assumed for the sake of argument and testing for its cash value—all things are in G-D, therefore everything is organically interdependent;
you know then that you cannot harm one part without eventually harming yourself or your progeny.

This hypothesis helps to understand our universe, society, and ourselves and thus brings peace-of-mind—the goal of all Religions and righteous governments.
 

3.10.  Spinoza and Scripture declare that G-D is ONE to establish that everything is bound into one grand ORGANIC interdependence: from this intuition, by deduction, "in working clothes", logically flows the Golden Rule "love your neighbor..." and enlightened self-interest.


3.11.  If declaring "G-D is ONE", does not trigger the concept of the "organic Interdependence of Parts"  then "G-D is ONE" is just words without meaning.
 

3.12.  James's Bk.X:63—Pragmatism


3.13.  D:Endnote 1.27dGolden Rule


3.14.  Following the Golden Rule is in your own self-interest; it is not Altruism. The rule becomes more and more complied with as a society becomes more and more affluent and integrated (wired).
 

3.15.  Bk.II:TTP312(61):172Corner-stone of Religion


3.16.  The Sacred parts of Scripture are the ethical and moral parts which demand obedience to commandments—laws. Other parts may be rejected or interpreted allegorically. This demand of obedience is the same as required by any governmental or military law. No explanation of the law or command is given; nor any philosophy expounded; just do it—or else.
 

3.17.  1P18:62Cause


3.18.  G:Shirley:25—Cause


3.19.  Letter 21(73):298Pantheism.


3.20.  4Ap.4:237Blessedness


3.21.  The Hebrew word for commandment is mits-vaw', Strong:4687—a command,  an ordinance, a precept, good deed. The root of mits-vaw' is tsaw-vaw', Strong:6680—to enjoin, bid, send a messenger, put in order,  to charge with. A related word is tsaw-vaw', Strong:6633—to mass an army, fight, war; army, host.  Based on this etymology, a commandment is an order to a part of an organism to do its duty for the sake of the organism's perpetuation.  Enlightened self-interest is the better reason for obeying the command, not fear of punishment. Law of Organisms
 

3.22.  Letter 25:306


3.23.  TTP3:XIV(17)—love to one's neighbour


3.24.  A part of an organism, an orchestra, a country, all have their duties to perform for their very own good—it is not altruism.


3.25.  The word "religion" as we use it does not exist in Biblical Hebrew.  They looked upon the Bible as we do our Constitution, and took it as a given—a way of life. The Old Testament was their Constitution and Legislative enactments; Post-biblically, the Talmud was, and is, the equivalent of a modern Law Library. When modern Hebrew had to coin a word for "religion" they chose the word (daht) whose root is "knowledge", Strong:1847 from 3045.
 

3.26.  From "Jews, God and History", ISBN 0451628667, Pg. 368.

3.27.  The Hebrew word for worship is av-o-daw ', Strong:5656—work of any kind, ministry, labor, service. The root of av-o-daw ' is aw-vad ', Strong: 5647—to work, labor, serve.  Based on this etymology, everyone doing their duty, practicing enlightened self-interest is worshipping G-D. Ritual also has its place in adding pomp, poetry, song, sociability, and pep-talks—school auditoriums.
 
 
3.28.  The Pantheon of deified figures of modern world religions is an evolution of the Pantheon of Pagan gods. This is not pejorative of either Pantheon. It is the evolution of the hypothesis of Religion to purer and purer Monotheism— from the fetish of a caveman to an unadulterated Monotheism.

3.29.  Religion is an hypothesis that constantly evolves to purer and purer forms of monotheism.  Study how Holiday themes were re-interpreted as Paganism evolved into Judaism, Christianity,  and, I conjecture, will in turn (with other Religions of the world) evolve into G-D"The Universal Religion and the United States of the World".
 
 
 



4. One World:
 

4.1.  I conjecture that the holidays of the coming Universal Religion will be purged of literal miracles, imagery, and deified figures; all of which make fences (a different language for expressing the "Oneness of G-D") between neighbors and peoples of the world. These fences are a violation of the Second Commandment, Deu.5:8— "You  shall  not make for yourself a carved image..."
 

4.2.  It is the increasingly electronic-age-caused unification that will make these fences (incompatible protocols) more and more onerous.
 

4.3.  The United Nations is today in the analogous position of The United States of America at the time of its founding. The USA had to overcome the power of the individual states to achieve the power it has today. Likewise The United Nations will likewise overcome the power of the sovereign states in time, because of the inescapable trend of history; opposers become irrelevant.
 

4.4.  I believe socialism evolves as technological advancement and trade tips the scale toward enlightened self-interest and away from jungle self-interest.
 

4.5.  Technological advancement—fire, wheel, writing, electricity, steam engine, combustion engine, radio, television, computer, internet, nuclear power, space travel, .......... —all have tended (or will tend) to lead people to be more cooperative; enlightened, one-worldish.
 

4.6.  The misuse of wealth, causing slums, prejudice, and uneducated masses, is idolatry.  When affluence reaches a critical mass, a decent minimum income will be guaranteed to all; eradicating slums, prejudice and uneducated masses.  It is not altruism, it is evolution due to evolving technological advancement making products cheaper and maintaining aggregate demand.
 

4.7.  I conjecture that with advancing technology and affluence, there will be a synthesis between Capitalism and Socialism.  As major corporations mature, they become more and more controlled by their management and not by their stock owners.  The self-interest of the management will begin to coincide more and more with the unions and the public interest—enlightened self-interest.
 

4.8.  Spinoza is a harbinger of the coming, however long it may take, of a One-World Universal Religion—the One-World that is evolving as it is  being organically bound together by electronic mutations.  It is for this reason that I think Spinoza is the quintessential Monotheist as is Einstein—they constantly sought unification; simplicity, efficiency.

4.8a.  From Bk.XIA:109note146Synthesis.

But Spinoza does more than prepare the reader for the overcoming of Judaism by Christianity. As I suggested earlier, he prepares the reader for the overcoming {synthesizing} of both Judaism and Christianity by the secular democratic state. After depicting Christ as the teacher of a universal rational morality (a kind of Spinoza avant la lettre) {Bk.XIA:110note147}, he shows how Christianity did not possess the true moral teaching. In particular, he shows that Christianity, not Judaism, became the cause of the persecution and intolerance to which the Treatise takes itself to be the answer. In Spinoza's recasting of sacred history, if Christ takes the place that Maimonides had accorded to Moses, Spinoza now assumes the place that had previously been accorded to Christ. He {Spinoza} is the bringer of a new theologico-political dispensation every bit as far-reaching as the historical religions that he claims to overcome {Bk.XIA:110note148}.
 

 



5. Conclusion 


5.1.  No matter the World's evolutionary stage, because of man's desires, he will always have wants, hence problems. There are no ends; no attainment, only attaining because no change is boredom.
 
Analogy: a child, a teenager, an adult, an old person, all have problems and wants peculiar to their stage in life. The problems of each stage are, in the main, not solved, but transcended; the car transcended the inconvenience of the horse-and-buggy. Walk humbly, for the car brings it's own problems—smog, accidents, and grid-lock.
 
What then is Man to do?—Follow Spinoza's Doctrine and:

5.2.  Micah 6:8.  It hath been told thee, O man, what is good, and what
                          the LORD doth require of thee, only to do justly, and
                          to love mercy, and to walk modestly with thy G-D.
 
 



Bibliography:
For complete bibliography and book ordering see:


END.

 

Abridgement of Spinozistic Ideas

Issued: June 26, 2000
Revised: April 4, 2004
 

by Joseph B. Yesselman
 
 
  Home Page
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