Baruch Spinoza, born in 1632, was a philosopher who focused on teaching about God, and the limits of religious authority. He also taught about the human mind, science, and morality. As well, he stressed on the importance of freedom and provided the masses with a scientific interpretation of the Bible.
His teachings were enlightening, and the elite believed they would expose several religious errors and awaken the masses: hence, they forced him to flee Amsterdam.
I gathered his teachings from his book, ‘The Philosophy of Spinoza (Edited by Joseph Ratner).
On How to Achieve Sustained Happiness
We only achieve happiness when we free ourselves from the bondage of our emotions by becoming the masters of our emotions.
‘Whatever is, is in God, and nothing can either be or be conceived without God.’ – Baruch Spinoza
Spinoza opposed the religious belief that some things are divine while others aren’t. For him, everything is divine because everything exists within God. He believed nothing is unholy because everything exists only because God, The Divine Creator, exists.
On Understanding God’s True Nature
‘Everyone can by the light of nature clearly understand the goodness and the eternal validity of God.’ – Baruch Spinoza
Many people believe understanding God is a spiritual gift of religious leaders. Contrarily, Spinoza believed everyone can understand God’s true nature by studying nature because nature acts according to God’s laws and displays ‘his’ attributes.
The philosopher disagreed with the idea that miracles are unnatural. For him, miracles are part of nature since they obey its laws. He claimed that many people believe miracles are supernatural occurrences because they are beyond their understanding.
On The Illusion of Good and Bad
According to Spinoza, good and bad are ideas that arise after comparing one thing with another. For instance, an individual only believes Hip Hop is bad because he compares it with Country music, Rock, or Rhumba.
Besides this, people believe a thing is bad if it makes them sad and another is good if it makes them happy. For this reason, good and bad change because something that can make you happy might be bad if it makes another sad.
I gained massive interest in Spinoza’s teachings after realizing that he was banished from the Jewish community and forced to flee Amsterdam. My research on ancient history has enlightened me that anyone who shared teachings that exposed man’s true power was either forced into exile or killed. Jesus was crucified, Socrates was sentenced to death, and Pythagoras was burned.
We should study these people – who were either killed or exiled – because their teachings contain hidden truths that the ruling classes don’t want us to know. I will continue studying Spinoza’s works, and I’ll share them with you because I believe they contain powerful hidden teachings.
Benedictus de, and Joseph Ratner. The Philosophy of Spinoza. Modern Library, 1954.
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