Spinoza states that God is the only free thing in that he is “All-That-Is”; he is “compelled by no one” (pp. 13, P. 17). Everything else is necessarily determined by an infinite series of causes and effects. However, we are all “in” God. I would like to argue that by learning about God, about “All-That-There-Is”, we glean a sense of God’s freedom. This is not acquiring a sense of the Judo-Christian God who many theologians argue exercises his free will upon us, but gaining a sense of an immanent God whose being is infinitely free. By learning in an adequate fashion about the world, we gain a sense of the constant inter-play of things, of the freedom of the “whole” to take any direction, any course, which is free to the extent that it is God, and determined to the extent But it’s important to note that determinism doesn’t entail fatalism, i.e. learning that the whole might take any course is learning that the future is not pre-given; that we, as the modifications of God, have the ability–through adequate thinking and active action–to be an adequate cause of the ‘direction’ of the whole.
Journey into Joy
Creative visualisation: zoom out from where you are now, become a magical bird and fly above yourself, watch yourself from above, doing what you are doing right now, and then zoom out more so you can see the area where you are currently in, then zoom more so that you can see the country you’re in, then the continent, the cloud-enmeshed blue earth, the bare moon; the rings of Saturn, purple Jupiter, the other planets and the blazing sun of the solar system; the Milky Way, the other galaxies, then all the galaxies that ever were and are, so that you are outside it all! Stand back, and watch the free play of everything in its totality!
Now free fall through everything that ever was and will be back into yourself.
See Spinoza’s Letter 32 (Spinoza, 2008)
What did you learn?