Baruch Spinoza citations

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Baruch Spinoza

Date de naissance: 24. novembre 1632
Date de décès: 21. février 1677
Autres noms:Baruch de Spinoza

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Baruch Spinoza, également connu sous les noms de Baruch d'Espinoza d'après sa signature, Bento de Espinosa ou Benedictus de Spinoza, né le 24 novembre 1632 à Amsterdam et mort le 21 février 1677 à La Haye, est un philosophe néerlandais d'origine ibérique dont la pensée eut une influence considérable sur ses contemporains et nombre de penseurs postérieurs.

Issu d'une famille juive marrane portugaise ayant fui l'Inquisition, Spinoza fut un héritier critique du cartésianisme. Il prit ses distances vis-à-vis de toute pratique religieuse, mais non envers la réflexion théologique, grâce à ses nombreux contacts interreligieux. Après sa mort, le spinozisme connut une influence durable et fut largement mis en débat. L'œuvre de Spinoza entretient en effet une relation critique avec les positions traditionnelles des religions révélées que constituent le judaïsme, le christianisme et l'islam.

Si sa doctrine repose sur une définition de Dieu, suivie d'une démonstration de son existence et de son unicité et propose une religion rationnelle, Spinoza fut à tort couramment compris comme un auteur athée et irréligieux. En effet, ses conceptions théologiques qui relèvent du panthéisme, mais aussi sa conception historiciste de la rédaction de la Bible, tendent à s'opposer aux dogmes religieux de la transcendance divine et d'une révélation surnaturelle.

Gilles Deleuze le surnommait le « Prince des philosophes », tandis que Nietzsche le qualifiait de « précurseur », notamment en raison de son refus de la téléologie. D'après Hegel, « Spinoza est un point crucial dans la philosophie moderne. L'alternative est : Spinoza ou pas de philosophie. »

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Citations Baruch Spinoza

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„Mais il est des gens qui croient que la fiction est limitée par la fiction, et non par l'intelligence; c'est-à-dire qu'après avoir feint une chose, et avoir affirmé, par un acte libre de la volonté, l'existence de cette chose, déterminée d'une certaine manière dans la nature, il ne nous est plus possible de la concevoir autrement. Par exemple, après avoir feint (pour parler leur langage) que la nature du corps est telle ou telle, il ne m'est plus permis de feindre une mouche infinie; après avoir feint l'essence de l'âme, il ne m'est plus permis d'en faire un carré, etc.
Cela a besoin d'être examiné. D'abord, ou bien ils nient, ou bien ils accordent que nous pouvons comprendre quelque chose. L'accordent-ils; ce qu'ils disent de la fiction, ils devront nécessairement le dire aussi de l'intelligence. Le nient-ils; voyons donc, nous qui savons que nous savons quelque chose, ce qu'ils disent. Or, voici ce qu'ils disent : l'âme est capable de sentir et de percevoir de plusieurs manières, non pas elle-même, non pas les choses qui existent, mais seulement les choses qui ne sont ni en elle-même ni ailleurs : en un mot, l'âme, par sa seule vertu, peut créer des sensations, des idées, sans rapport avec les choses, à ce point qu'ils la considèrent presque comme un dieu. Ils disent donc que notre âme possède une telle liberté qu'elle a le pouvoir et de nous contraindre et de se contraindre elle-même et de contraindre jusqu'à sa liberté elle-même. En effet, lorsque l'âme a feint quelque chose et qu'elle a donné son assentiment à cette fiction, il ne lui est plus possible de se représenter ou de feindre la même chose d'une manière différente; et en outre, elle se trouve condamnée à se représenter toutes choses de façon qu'elles soient en accord avec la fiction primitive. C'est ainsi que nos adversaires se trouvent obligés par leur propre fiction d'accepter toutes les absurdités qu'on vient d'énumérer, et que nous ne prendrons pas la peine de combattre par des démonstrations.“

—  Baruch Spinoza
On the Improvement of the Understanding

„I do not think it necessary for salvation to know Christ according to the flesh : but with regard to the Eternal Son of God, that is the Eternal Wisdom of God, which has manifested itself in all things and especially in the human mind, and above all in Christ Jesus, the case is far otherwise.“

—  Baruch Spinoza
Context: I do not think it necessary for salvation to know Christ according to the flesh : but with regard to the Eternal Son of God, that is the Eternal Wisdom of God, which has manifested itself in all things and especially in the human mind, and above all in Christ Jesus, the case is far otherwise. For without this no one can come to a state of blessedness, inasmuch as it alone teaches, what is true or false, good or evil. And, inasmuch as this wisdom was made especially manifest through Jesus Christ, as I have said, his disciples preached it, in so far as it was revealed to them through him, and thus showed that they could rejoice in that spirit of Christ more than the rest of mankind. The doctrines added by certain churches, such as that God took upon himself human nature, I have expressly said that I do not understand; in fact, to speak the truth, they seem to me no less absurd than would a statement, that a circle had taken upon itself the nature of a square. This I think will be sufficient explanation of my opinions concerning the three points mentioned. Whether it will be satisfactory to Christians you will know better than I. Letter 21 (73) to Henry Oldenburg, November (1675) Variant translation: The eternal wisdom of God … has shown itself forth in all things, but chiefly in the mind of man, and most of all in Jesus Christ.

„Philosophers conceive of the passions which harass us as vices into which men fall by their own fault, and, therefore, generally deride, bewail, or blame them, or execrate them, if they wish to seem unusually pious.“

—  Baruch Spinoza
Context: Philosophers conceive of the passions which harass us as vices into which men fall by their own fault, and, therefore, generally deride, bewail, or blame them, or execrate them, if they wish to seem unusually pious. And so they think they are doing something wonderful, and reaching the pinnacle of learning, when they are clever enough to bestow manifold praise on such human nature, as is nowhere to be found, and to make verbal attacks on that which, in fact, exists. For they conceive of men, not as they are, but as they themselves would like them to be. Whence it has come to pass that, instead of ethics, they have generally written satire, and that they have never conceived a theory of politics, which could be turned to use, but such as might be taken for a chimera, or might have been formed in Utopia, or in that golden age of the poets when, to be sure, there was least need of it. Accordingly, as in all sciences, which have a useful application, so especially in that of politics, theory is supposed to be at variance with practice; and no men are esteemed less fit to direct public affairs than theorists or philosophers. Ch. 1, Introduction; section 1

„But if in any case I did find error in that which I have collected from my natural understanding, I should count it good fortune, since I“

—  Baruch Spinoza
Context: If you find the light of Scripture clearer than the light of reason (which also is given us by divine wisdom), you are doubtless right in your own conscience in making your reason yield. For my part, since I plainly confess that I do not understand the Scriptures, though I have spent many years upon them, and since I know that when once I have a firm proof I cannot by any course of thought come to doubt of it, I rest wholly upon that which my understanding commends to me, without any suspicion that I am deceived therein, or that the Scriptures, even though I do not search them, can speak against it. For one truth cannot conflict with another, as I have already clearly shown in my Appendix to the "Principles of Descartes"... But if in any case I did find error in that which I have collected from my natural understanding, I should count it good fortune, since I enjoy life, and endeavour to pass it not in weeping and sighing, but in peace, joy, and cheerfulness, and from time to time climb thereby a step higher. I know, meanwhile (which is the highest pleasure of all), that all things happen by the power and unchangeable decree of the most perfect Being. Letter to William van Blyenbergh (1665) as quoted by Sir Frederick Pollock, Spinoza: His Life and Philosophy https://books.google.com/books?id=82R9rMALJfQC (1880) pp. 50-51.

„Let him be accursed by day, and accursed by night; let him be accursed in his lying down, and accursed in his rising up ; accursed in going out and accursed in coming in“

—  Baruch Spinoza
Context: With the judgment of the angels and the sentence of the saints, we anathematize, execrate, curse and cast out Baruch de Espinoza, the whole of the sacred community assenting, in presence of the sacred books with the six-hundred-and-thirteen precepts written therein, pronouncing against him the malediction wherewith Elisha cursed the children, and all the maledictions written in the Book of the Law. Let him be accursed by day, and accursed by night; let him be accursed in his lying down, and accursed in his rising up; accursed in going out and accursed in coming in. May the Lord never more pardon or acknowledge him; may the wrath and displeasure of the Lord burn henceforth against this man, load him with all the curses written in the Book of the Law, and blot out his name from under the sky; may the Lord sever him from all the tribes of Israel, weight him with all the maledictions of the firmament contained in the Book of Law; and may all ye who are obedient to the Lord your God be saved this day. Hereby then are all admonished that none hold converse with him by word of mouth, none hold communication with him by writing; that no one do him any service, no one abide under the same roof with him, no one approach within four cubits' length of him, and no one read any document dictated by him, or written by his hand. Writ of expulsion from the Jewish community, as translated in Benedict de Spinoza : His Life, Correspondence, and Ethics (1870) by Robert Willis

„Indwelling in every dewdrop as in the innumerable host of heaven, in the humblest flower and in the mind of man, he found the living spirit of God, setting forth the Divine glory, making the Divine perfection and inspiring with the Divine love.“

—  Baruch Spinoza
Context: Of Bruno, as of Spinoza, it may be said that he was "God-intoxicated." He felt that the Divine Excellence had its abode in the very heart of Nature and within his own body and spirit. Indwelling in every dewdrop as in the innumerable host of heaven, in the humblest flower and in the mind of man, he found the living spirit of God, setting forth the Divine glory, making the Divine perfection and inspiring with the Divine love. William Boulting, in Giordano Bruno: His Life, Thought, and Martyrdom (1916) online excerpt http://www.class.uidaho.edu/mickelsen/texts/Bruno's%20Eroici.htm

„For Spinoza, philosophy originates in the very personal... feeling of emptiness“

—  Baruch Spinoza
Context: For Spinoza, philosophy originates in the very personal... feeling of emptiness that in the philosophical tradition has earned the distinguished name of contemptu mundi, the contempt for worldly things, or, better, vanitas.... Spinoza says that... success in life is just a postponement of failure;... pleasure is just a fleeting respite from pain; and... the objects of our striving are vain illusions.... The feeling of vanitas Spinoza describes is... a dire encounter with the prospect of descent into absolute nothingness, a life without significance coming to a meaningless end.... The experience Spinoza records... establishes... the moment of extreme doubt, fear, and uncertainty that precedes the dawn of revelation.... the journey... is one trodden by poets, philosophers, and theologians too numerous to mention, who for millennia have recorded this feeling that life is a useless passion, a wheel of ceaseless striving, a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing, and so on.<!--pp. 55-56 Matthew Stewart, The Courtier and the Heretic (2006)

„He fell well short of mastering the art of demonstration; he had only a mediocre knowledge of analysis and geometry; what he knew best was to make lenses for microscopes.“

—  Baruch Spinoza
Context: Regarding Spinoza, whom M. Arnauld has called the most impious and most dangerous man of this century, he was truly an Atheist, [i. e., ] he allowed absolutely no Providence dispensing rewards and punishments according to justice.... The God he puts on parade is not like ours; he has no intellect or will.... He fell well short of mastering the art of demonstration; he had only a mediocre knowledge of analysis and geometry; what he knew best was to make lenses for microscopes. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, letter to Count Ernst von Hessen-Rheinfels (Aug. 14, 1683) in Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz: Sämtliche Schriften und Briefe (1923-) II.ii. p. 535, as translated by Matthew Stewart, The Courtier and the Heretic (2006) pp. 228-229.

„The religious geniuses of all ages have been distinguished by this kind of religious feeling, which knows no dogma and no God conceived in man's image“

—  Baruch Spinoza
Context: The religious geniuses of all ages have been distinguished by this kind of religious feeling, which knows no dogma and no God conceived in man's image; so that there can be no church whose central teachings are based on it. Hence it is precisely among the heretics of every age that we find men who were filled with this highest kind of religious feeling and were in many cases regarded by their contemporaries as atheists, sometimes also as saints. Looked at in this light, men like Democritus, Francis of Assisi, and Spinoza are closely akin to one another. Albert Einstein, in The World as I See It (1949) http://books.google.com/books?id=ZpdlRg2IJUcC&pg=PT32&dq=%22en+like+Democritus,+Francis+of+Assisi,+and+Spinoza+are+closely+akin+to+one+another%22&hl=en&ei=-J7LTqqNJaG90AHAir0E&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10&ved=0CGYQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=%22en%20like%20Democritus%2C%20Francis%20of%20Assisi%2C%20and%20Spinoza%20are%20closely%20akin%20to%20one%20another%22&f=false

„For they conceive of men, not as they are, but as they themselves would like them to be.“

—  Baruch Spinoza
Context: Philosophers conceive of the passions which harass us as vices into which men fall by their own fault, and, therefore, generally deride, bewail, or blame them, or execrate them, if they wish to seem unusually pious. And so they think they are doing something wonderful, and reaching the pinnacle of learning, when they are clever enough to bestow manifold praise on such human nature, as is nowhere to be found, and to make verbal attacks on that which, in fact, exists. For they conceive of men, not as they are, but as they themselves would like them to be. Whence it has come to pass that, instead of ethics, they have generally written satire, and that they have never conceived a theory of politics, which could be turned to use, but such as might be taken for a chimera, or might have been formed in Utopia, or in that golden age of the poets when, to be sure, there was least need of it. Accordingly, as in all sciences, which have a useful application, so especially in that of politics, theory is supposed to be at variance with practice; and no men are esteemed less fit to direct public affairs than theorists or philosophers. Ch. 1, Introduction; section 1

„I have laboured carefully, not to mock, lament, or execrate human actions, but to understand them“

—  Baruch Spinoza
Context: I have laboured carefully, not to mock, lament, or execrate human actions, but to understand them; and, to this end, I have looked upon passions, such as love, hatred, anger, envy, ambition, pity, and the other perturbations of the mind, not in the light of vices of human nature, but as properties, just as pertinent to it, as are heat, cold, storm, thunder, and the like to the nature of the atmosphere, which phenomena, though inconvenient, are yet necessary, and have fixed causes, by means of which we endeavour to understand their nature, and the mind has just as much pleasure in viewing them aright, as in knowing such things as flatter the senses Ch. 1, Introduction; section 4

„My opinion concerning God differs widely from that which is ordinarily defended by modern Christians. For I hold that God is of all things the cause immanent, as the phrase is, not transient.“

—  Baruch Spinoza
Context: My opinion concerning God differs widely from that which is ordinarily defended by modern Christians. For I hold that God is of all things the cause immanent, as the phrase is, not transient. I say that all things are in God and move in God, thus agreeing with Paul, and, perhaps, with all the ancient philosophers, though the phraseology may be different; I will even venture to affirm that I agree with all the ancient Hebrews, in so far as one may judge from their traditions, though these are in many ways corrupted. The supposition of some, that I endeavour to prove in the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus the unity of God and Nature (meaning by the latter a certain mass or corporeal matter), is wholly erroneous. As regards miracles, I am of opinion that the revelation of God can only be established by the wisdom of the doctrine, not by miracles, or in other words by ignorance. Letter 21 (73) to Henry Oldenburg , November (1675) http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=1711&chapter=144137&layout=html&Itemid=27

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