14. Baruch Spinoza etc. etc.

Baruch Spinoza - Sterfhuis

14. Baruch Spinoza etc. etc.

Baruch Spinoza or Benedictus de Spinosa is the most important philosopher of The Netherlands.

In tandem with Desiderius Erasmus who preceded him with a century.

They are in the same exclusive major league of philosophers. With Immanuel Kant, David Hume, John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, René Descartes, Jean-Jacques Rousseau etc. etc.

Spinoza
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Spécial Spinoza – Le Magazine Litteraire, nov.-dec. 2017

He lived his last 6 years in this house where he died, probably due to silicosis, a lung disease, at age 44 in 1677. It is located in the Netherlands, The Hague.

Close to the city centre and top three Kee Lun Palace, Fat Kee, Full Moon Dim Sum & Hot Pot in China Town, within others…

In this house he finished his famous work Ethica.

These are my own pictures, partly, and musings. Info is also taken from books, internet and Wikipedia.

Ethics, Demonstrated in Geometrical Order (Latin: Ethica, ordine geometrico demonstrata), usually known as the Ethics, is a philosophical treatise written when just 32-33 years old. Between 1664 – 1665 and first published when about to die, in 1677.

I ventured to read and tried to understand this book as a student in Lugdunum Batavorum. Also bought several other Spinosa books (…as well as Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, the philosopher with the hammer). In Boekhandel De Slegte and Atheneum in Amsterdam.

No, not yet. No Amazon.com or Bol.com for easy and fast online acquisitions. Just slow. Take the train from Leiden, via Haarlem to Amsterdam where you stroll along the whole day.

No hurry, just slow and peacefull nostalgic living. Those were the days…

.

Groot Auditorium - Academiegebouw - Leiden
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Groot Auditorium – Academiegebouw – Leiden

Regularly I attended additionally lectures on other famous philosophers. By the Philosophy Department in the main Groot-Auditorium with its alluring stained glasses. As well as interesting presentations and analysis of Shakespeare and The Bible. In the historical Academie Gebouw building of 1516. One was stimulated also to attend for free, extra-curricular subjects and discussions: ” Studium Generale “.

Spinoza
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Spinoza

It is perhaps the most ambitious attempt to apply the method of Euclid in philosophy.

Spinoza puts forward a small number of definitions and axioms from which he attempts to derive hundreds of propositions and corollaries, such as

“When the Mind imagines its own lack of power, it is saddened by it”,

“A free man thinks of nothing less than of death”, and

“The human Mind cannot be absolutely destroyed with the Body, but something of it remains which is eternal.”

Baruch Spinoza - Sterfhuis
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Baruch Spinoza – Sterfhuis – House where he lived the latest years of his life and died in 1677.

Baruch Spinoza (24 November 1632 in Amsterdam – 21 February 1677 in The Hague) was a Dutch philosopher of Portuguese Jewish origin. He is considered to be one of the great Rationalist philosophers of the 17th century. Other famous rationalists include Gottfried Leibniz and René Descartes.

Baruch Spinoza - Spinozahuis - Den Haag
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Baruch Spinoza – Spinozahuis – Den Haag

Life

Spinoza’s ideas were not cherished by the Jewish community in Amsterdam of the time. He was excommunicated at age 24 in 1656.

Excommunication of Spinoza - by Samuel Hirszenberg, 1907
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Excommunication of Spinoza – by Samuel Hirszenberg, 1907
Spinozahuis - Den Haag
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Spinozahuis – Den Haag

Key ideas

An important idea in Spinoza’s philosophy is God and Nature, everything that exists, are the same thing. Opposing Dualism, Spinoza said that the body and the mind (soul) are two of God’s infinite attributes.

There is no good or evil in Nature, and that these words only have meanings for human beings. For a person, an event that leads to happiness is good, and an event that leads to suffering is bad.

Spinoza describes two (2) types of thoughts, or emotions:

  • When a person acts from his own nature, he is said to be Active. The more you understand your actions, the more active you become. Active emotions lead to happiness and an understanding of God, as well as to Freedom.
  • When a person is being influenced by another person, or a thing, he is said to be Passive.

The goal of every person is to intellectually love God (that is, understand Nature as much as humanly possible).

Baruch Spinosa
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Baruch Spinosa

P.D. & Musings

Looking out from the window in the Spinoza House you see this street of my last photo.

Highly frequented by gents. In an elusive search to acquire a few minutes of undisclosed solitary happiness.

The big bang for their bucks?

Question?

I do not know if this famous street already existed in Spinosa’s time. If so, it would have been his window view to the outside world. Stepping out of his house for a break and stroll, when writing his famous Ethica, he would have walked straight into this boulevard of elusive and broken wet dreams.

How would the contents of his Ethica have then looked like?

If this lively street had already existed and had surrounded, immerged and assimilated him by then. Would he have included specific deep philosophical thoughts on this item ?

Similar to the effect the immersion had on Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa.

Toulouse de Lautrec
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Toulouse de Lautrec

Known as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the French painter, printmaker, draughtsman, caricaturist, and illustrator whose immersion in the colourful and theatrical life of Paris in the late 19th century ?

Count Henry lived in Montmartre, a part of Paris that was famous for its bohemia people, artists, poets, philosophers and poor students. He was called “the soul of Montmartre”. And often visited the nightclubs such as the Moulin Rouge

Yes. This whole atmosphere inspired him to produce a candid tribute. A precious collection of enticing, elegant, and provocative images of the modern, sometimes decadent, affairs of those times. So often used for posters throughout time.

And Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (The Young Ladies of Avignon) a 1907 cubist painting. It was inspired and represented five women in a brothel.

Similar to Gabriel García Marquez, GGM ?

Who lived in Cartagena as a poor, rookie journalist. And often sought and found refuge such as to pernoctate, in a cheap house of joy. Bread-and-breakfast-all-inclusive? A period that inspired him with many thoughts and themes as expressed in a sublimated and camouflated way in many different parts of his 35+ Nobel Prize works.

Even in GGM’s last, post prize 2009 novel ? A candid veiled tribute. Unveiled at age 82 ?

Gabriel García Márquez
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Gabriel García Márquez

Also.

All immersed, influenced and literary inspired by this setting. Not again Charles Beaudelaire’s Parisian capo lavoro from 1857, Les Fleurs du mal. Or Big Sur, Henry Miller, with numerous. Neither Pedro Juan Gutiérrez, also with various, such as his Trilogía sucia de La Habana from 1999.

P.J. Gutiérrez
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P.J. Gutiérrez

And ?

His reputation suffered after announcing to the New Yorker in 1994 that he had been “a great prostitute man” during his marriage to Patricia Hale, and declined further in 2008 after admitting to his biographer Patrick French a long-running affair with Margaret Gooding in which he was “very violent”.

V. Naipaul, Nobel Prize literature, 2001.

But.

Last but not least least. Absolutely. The infamous and famous L.A. wordsmith and barfly. The laureate of lowlife that wrote about the wild side of life, unpolished or mundane as it could be.

” When I came it was in the face of everything decent, white sperm dripping down over the heads and souls of my dead parents. If I had been born a woman I would certainly have been a prostitute. Since I had been born a man, I craved women constantly, the lower the better. And yet women, good women frightened me because they eventually wanted your soul, and what was left of mine, I wanted to keep.

Basically I craved prostitutes, base women, because they were deadly and hard and made no personal demands. Nothing was lost when they left. Yet at the same time I yearned for a gentle, good woman, despite the overwhelming price. Either way I was lost. A strong man would give up both. I wasn’t strong. So I continued to struggle with women, with the idea of women.”

Charles Bukowski.

P.J. Gutiérrez
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Charles Bukowski

Fertile food for musings and speculations of philosophers and Spinosa specialists ?

Maybe, a Ph.D. thesis needed to unravel…: ” Baruch Spinoza and the influence of his red front street on Ethica “?

This street is one of the several ones in The Hague.

An unintentional, coincidentally candid tribute to Ethica and Baruch Spinoza ?

Street perpendicular to Spinoza House - Red Light District - The Hague
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Street perpendicular to Spinoza House -This was/is the view from his window . When he was writing his Ethica. It is the Red Light District nowadays – The Hague.

A Red Light Street.

” But all things excellent are as difficult as they are rare.

End of the Ethics by Benedict de Spinoza”.

Daydreamer - Near Spinoza house
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Daydreamer – Elusively blowing ahead in his search and quest for happiness – Near Spinoza’s house.

FYI:

One click away and for nothing. For your free, leisure weekends. Alternatively also when you get bored?

During your long flight to Houston while sitting in your KLM Business Class chair?

During your regular stops while trailing the 777 km of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage, starting in Roncesvalles, with your heavy backpack?

On the beach of Pirate Bay accompanied by a Cuba Libre with ron Diplomático and Orquesta Guayacán through your headphone?

After watching your favourite team loose 1-2 in Mordovia Arena, Saransk, Russia?

To unwind in a philosophical way:

Ethica, Benedictus Spinoza:

Kindle 715 KB & Images, 3640 virtual pages.

http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/3800/pg3800.txt

Principes de plaîsir et de divertissement - Spinoza
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Principes de plaîsir et de divertissement – Spinoza

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