Definitions

God

God is defined in a Spinozist sense: God is not the “father in the skies” who purposefully acts in the world. God is not the law-maker and patriarch of the Bible and Koran. God is not a “he” or “she”; God just “is”. God is immanent. God or Nature. God is everything: God is Being and Becoming.

Journey into Joy

Question: What does the word “God” mean to you? What do understand by “Nature”? What are the similarities and differences between God and Nature in your view? What do you understand by immanence?

Essence

The problem of ‘essence’ in Spinoza is never ending, and you will find many very difficult texts trying to work it out — most unsuccessfully. One reading of Spinoza says that every object has its correlate idea in thought: this is because ideas are not ‘mute’; they are active conceptions. This is very counterintuitive because we think that thoughts arise from a Cartesian mind, whereas Spinoza is saying that ideas contain the activity of thought, and our minds are essentially a bundle of these ideas which contain their activity. This means that what seems to be a process of thinking carried out by a ‘thinking mind’ is actually only the activity of many ideas.

Learning

Learning happens every second of every day, learning is not limited to humans, but is in everything. Everything is learning. Existence is learning; getting to know the “stuff” that is around you, that produces who you are – more of this latter point later on. Being is necessarily learning. In Spinozist language, learning is “activity”.

Journey into Joy

Questions: How would you define learning? When have you learnt most in your life? Who are the best teachers you’ve had and why?

Cause

An individual is a cause, or put differently, all individuals create effects. This makes individuals and events inseparable, and relates individuals to activity (IP36).

Effect

From every cause, effects must necessarily follow.

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