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June 16, 2007


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Spinoza may have added that the members of the county Board of Commissioners may have equally felt right about their 'purely political decision'.

He writes the following two passages in his Ethics Part III PROPOSITION 31
"each of us strives, so far as he can, that everyone should love what he loves, and hate what he hates."

"... so we see that each of us, by his nature, wants the others to live according to his temperament; when all alike want this, they are alike an obstacle to one another, and when all wish to be praised, or loved, by all, they hate one another."

My take on that:
A person will mistakenly seek sameness in others' diffences and differences in their sameness.
We are all different. We all have different desires which follow from our different natures. Yet, we essentially strives as equal. Anyone's appetites, wishes or needs, considered in themselves, do not express greater or lesser perfection than anyone else's desires.
But, somehow, we normally see or imagine things up side down. We all want and wish to build a new world where everybody would have the same desires and agree. But the acceptance of this vision is conditional on the truth that the individuals conceive and expect that the shared desires would be those that follow from their nature only and no one else. The reason is that each individual considers her desires as displaying greater perfection than those of others - on the sole account that they belong to her.

Spinoza was only a heretic because he was right! :)


JP, I don't know what Spinoza would have thought of the subdivision decision. I do know that he was the forerunner of our modern secular, liberal, democratic way of looking at the world: non-dogmatic and scientific.

Ideally. The reality, unfortunately, is quite different. We still have people, like two of the county commissioners, who are locked into rigid ways of seeing the world. That is very un-Spinozaish.

They elevate their concepts of reality above reality itself. I'm pretty sure Spinoza would have decried that. For him, nature is reality. There isn't something transcendent above and beyond the reality in which we live and breathe. We are part and parcel of "God."

So when we deny that reality, we deny Spinoza's "God." This is how Einstein could admire Spinoza so much. Science is completely compatible with Spinoza's philosophy.

By contrast, the commissioners' refused to look at the facts about the real water beneath the development and substituted their imaginative conception of "property rights" and other conservative idols.

I like to think that Spinoza would be on our side.


Science is the language of nature and nature is always right? A corollary being that the language of right nature is always true science...

That's fairly fanatical.

But that's cool. You have really captured the process we all go through, feeling we are Right, with a capital 'R', the rush of having a purpose clear, and a place to go.

This is almost exactly how people with OCD describe life without 'normals' applying socially acceptable behavior to get in the way: "When you're doing what you should, it feels good. Not necessarily pleasant... but right." Yet normals percieve the obsessive to be almost completely ignorant of the reality of their environment. Remarkable.

This is a marvelous story of thinking globally, acting locally, swinging for the fence cosmically.

I've felt the sting of betrayal by local elected officials. The real estate developers find a way to influence them, even if it's just having a charming attorney take them to lunch every week. There's so much money to be made so quickly. The innocent critters that live on the land are not represented in the political process.

In our neighborhood, there's a Super Walmart just over the hill from our home where there once was small farms.

There was 100 acres of beautiful forest with a 10 acre lake at the end of our street -- the lake has been drained and the trees cut, waiting for 275 homes to be built.

I understand your despair.

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