28 de abril de 2018

Notes on “Ethics”.

Filed under: Livros — Tags:, , , — Yure @ 16:21

“Ethics” was written by Spinoza. Below are some notes I took about his text.

  1. “Cause of itself” doesn’t mean that something made itself, but something that has existence as part of it’s concept, that is, something that we can’t conceive as non-existent.
  2. A body can not be limited by a thought and a thought is no barrier for a body.
  3. “Attribute” is what I perceive in the essence of a substance.
  4. “Free” is something that doesn’t derive existence from something else and doesn’t have it’s will conditioned by anything else.
  5. If you derived your existence from something else or if your will is conditioned by something else (such as the laws of nature), you are not free.
  6. If something can not have derived it’s existence from something external, then it’s “cause of itself” (see note 1).
  7. When a cause acts, an effect follows, whereas there’s no effect without a cause.
  8. You can’t study an effect without also studying it’s cause.
  9. An effect carries characteristics from it’s cause, meaning that a cause has a set number of effects, for as long as it’s limited.
  10. Often, discussing the nature of something isn’t enough, because some issues related to the object aren’t explained by it’s nature.
  11. God exists, even if not in the way that everyone conceives him.
  12. Potentiality is tendency to exist.
  13. God’s substance contains existence.
  14. If perfection “adds” existence to something, while imperfections “remove” existence, then a being that is perfectly perfect must exist.
  15. When it comes to concepts, a substance can not be divided in consequence of it’s attributes.
  16. If we can divide an infinite substance, then the resulting substances either are not infinite (which can not be) or are infinite (but you can’t have more than one infinite substance), rendering an infinite substance logically indivisible.
  17. If something is infinite, it can’t be the result of the fusion between two finite parts.
  18. If more than one infinite thing could exist, all infinites would have the same size.
  19. A substance isn’t the corporeal object that it references.
  20. God is the prime cause of everything that his intellect could have conceived.
  21. God’s will isn’t limited by anything, thus he is free.
  22. You can not force God to act.
  23. Saying that God has already created everything that he could, that is, that the creation is finished and there’s nothing else to create, isn’t a blasphemy.
  24. If God already created every possible thing, that doesn’t mean he is no longer omnipotent.
  25. God’s intellect and will are completely different from human intellect and will.
  26. God’s intellect is creative (knows things before creation), while the human intellect is apprehensive (knows things after creation).
  27. I created my son as person, but not as essence (I didn’t make the human species).
  28. If a substance necessarely implies existence, we can say that substance is eternal.
  29. A being that was determined by another, can not become undetermined by itself.
  30. Something can be necessary (always existent), contingent (may or may not exist) or impossible (never existent).
  31. God, when in action, doesn’t aim to for a “good” action, as if the concept of good existed outside and God had to comform to that model.
  32. God exists, is only one, determined only by himself and is the only free cause of the universe.
  33. If you can satiate your urges and needs, that doesn’t make you free, as you can’t choose the desires you have.
  34. You can’t suppose that everything in nature was made for a reason.
  35. Isn’t like everything in mature was made in function of you.
  36. The belief that gods can punish humans finds support in the belief that nothing in nature was made without a reason, suggesting that illnesses and natural disasters serve the purpose of punishing men.
  37. Final causes only exist for humans, in human minds.
  38. God can not be controlled by systems of deed and reward, as if God would do everything you wanted because you attend to church like a good sheep.
  39. If people are no longer ignorant, they will stop turning to priests and pastors.
  40. Sin and merit are dependent on freedom: if we are not free, then nothing is our fault and nothing is our merit.
  41. Do not mistake imagination for intellect.
  42. Nature is amoral and must be judged by itself, not from our moral point of view.
  43. A feeling or an emotion depends on an idea that causes that feeling of emotion.
  44. Which implies that only creatures with a mind are capable to have feelings.
  45. God is capable of thinking.
  46. Humans have body and also mind and both things are as we feel them.
  47. The mind only knows about the body’s existence because the body affects the mind.
  48. You are your mind and your body, not only your mind, with your body at your service as a tool.
  49. Which does not mean that the mind fully knows the body.
  50. Understanding what your body feels doesn’t imply that you know your body to an adequate level.
  51. The mind also doesn’t have a clear knowledge about itself.
  52. Being ignorant is different from being wrong.
  53. If you ignore the causes of your determination, you will think you are free.
  54. Even ideas often regarded as universal may vary from person to person, according to how that person usually conceives them.
  55. So, working with “universal” concepts doesn’t guarantee that you won’t be wrong.
  56. If you feel doubt, then you don’t have a complete understanding of what you are talking about.
  57. On the other hand, being sure of something doesn’t make you right.
  58. Most reasoning mistakes happen due to poor definitions (attributing the wrong words to certain things).
  59. Controversy starts when people don’t know how to properly explain their point… or when other people fail to understand that point.
  60. Two people may be seriously arguing about something and believe that they are in disagreement, when they are actually agreeing with each other without knowing that they are in agreement, because of a communication failure.
  61. Every mental content can be understood as affirmative or negative.
  62. Even if we concede that our will is bigger than our intellect, the will is still smaller than the perception.
  63. Knowledge about God will bring you happiness.
  64. The human mind shouldn’t only be a target for recrimination.
  65. Emotions and feelings aren’t as bad as classic philosophy says.
  66. Our affections and acts shouldn’t be demonized.
  67. Nature is always the same.
  68. You can’t ever say that nature “made a mistake”.
  69. An effect may have more than one simultaneous cause.
  70. When our mind is the only cause of an effect, we are acting, but, if our mind is not the only cause acting over us, we are being affected by something else.
  71. The thing affection you could be a passion (an emotion that is strong enough to keep you from reasoning correctly).
  72. There are animals with more physical or sensorial ability than humans have.
  73. If your mind dies, you body dies too…
  74. And if your body dies, so does your mind!
  75. The ability to study an object depends on the senses.
  76. The body can bend your willpower, which is a mental attribute.
  77. That means that the mind doesn’t boss the body around, without also being bossed around by the body.
  78. Some impulsive acts pass as completely lucid, even for the person who performs the act.
  79. Even if I’m conscious of my acts, that doesn’t prove that I’m free.
  80. You can not forget on purpose.
  81. There are no “expiration dates” for beings, that is, a being, by it’s own essence, can not give a self-destruction date to itself.
  82. You can not affect the body without also affecting the mind.
  83. When you feel joy while thinking about an object or being in it’s presence, you can safely say that you love that object.
  84. Hate is the other way around: the combination of sadness (understood as any feeling that empoverishes your ability to act or think) and a specific object.
  85. If you love, you want to keep the beloved person in good state.
  86. Love and hate aren’t mutually excludent.
  87. The anticipation of love or hate is behind feelings such as security, hope, disappointment, anxiety and others that are related to past and future.
  88. When the beloved object or person is affected by joy or sadness, we are also subject to the same affection.
  89. When we are in love, we tend to regard the loved object too highly, while we often belittle (also unfairly) something that we hate.
  90. A person may feel happy when making others happy.
  91. “Shame” is the feeling of being below your own standards.
  92. If someone loves what you love, you will love it even more, but, if someone hates what you love, you tend to love it less.
  93. That’s why, when we love something, we try to get others to love it too, while, at same time, we give effort into making others hate what we hate.
  94. We want everyone to live according to our own inclinations, which is a display of ambition.
  95. That’s not true when the thing that we love can not be shared.
  96. If we love a person, we want to be loved by that person.
  97. “Jealousy” is derived from the love that we feel towards a loved one and from the envy we feel towards someone who also loved who we love.
  98. The more we love, the more we feel jealous when the envy takes place.
  99. Jealousy kills the love, so much that we start hating the person we once loved.
  100. When we hate a person we once loved, we tend to hate them more than we would if we had never loved them.
  101. If we hate someone, we will feel urges to cause harm to that person, unless we feel that, by doing so, we would attract more harm to ourselves than the harm we intend to cause to them.
  102. “Good” is a blanket term for all kinds os joy, while “evil” is a blanket term for all forms of sadness.
  103. Because our sources of joy and sadness vary, our concepts of good and evil vary from person to person.
  104. If someone hates us while we feel that there’s no reason for such, we will likely hate that person.
  105. However, if someone hates us and we feel that their hate is justified, we feel shame.
  106. Analogically, if someone loves us for no apparent reason, we will end up loving them back.
  107. If we do something good to someone who did us something good, we are being grateful.
  108. If we do something bad to someone who loves us, we are being cruel.
  109. Mutual hate creates more hate.
  110. There’s no hope without fear, and vice-versa.
  111. We judge the emotions of others according to our own (if a person isn’t scared of something that I am scared, I’ll see him as “courageous”, but, if someone is scared of something that I am not scared of, I’ll likely see him as a “coward’).
  112. “Regret” is deriving sadness from something you did.
  113. When you are too scared of something that is going to happen sooner or later, you forget to think of ways to avoid it.
  114. There are emotions and feelings that weren’t named yet.
  115. Our impotence is cause of sadness.
  116. You can only feel envy towards the achievements of others who are at your same level (you will likely not mind if someone who is way higher than you in intelligence, physical strength or wealth does something better).
  117. A parent can raise their child to cause envy on others.
  118. The three main emotions are joy, sadness and desire, with all other emotions and feelings deriving from those three.
  119. The mind is put in movement by joy and desire, while sadness retards it or even stops it altogether.
  120. Desire varies according to body disposition.
  121. Desire is our nature trying to make us act in a certain way.
  122. If you are sure, you are not hopeful, but secure.
  123. Unless you are sure about something bad; in that case, it’s despair.
  124. A person who hates themselves will think that everybody else would also hate them.
  125. Humility may very well be a passive-aggressive compensation to envy.
  126. We feel shame when we do something that others could disapprove.
  127. It’s different from modesty, which is the fear of doing something that others could disapprove.
  128. Saudade is the desire for something that is absent, when said desire is empowered by the memory of the desired object or person, but repressed by the feeling that such object or person no longer exists.
  129. A person may desire something just because everyone else does (emulation).
  130. If you are humble and would rather avoid glory, don’t sign your works.
  131. If you can not control your emotions and feelings, you are a slave of them.
  132. Something is “perfect” when it meets the author’s expectations.
  133. If the author has completed a work and doesn’t wish to add anything to it, but someone thinks that the work could be better, it’s still perfect, as it met the author’s expectations.
  134. Because of that, we can’t say that the world or natural things are imperfect, for as long as we don’t know what was the author’s intention.
  135. We can’t judge if something is perfect or not by using our own criteria, unless we are the authors of the thing we are judging.
  136. We can’t say that nature is perfect or imperfect without having access to the author’s plans.
  137. Contigent” is something that may cease to exist, while “possible” is something that may come to exist.
  138. There are things that are more powerful than us, and those things can annihilate us.
  139. We are part of nature.
  140. A person never commits suicide because of their own nature, but only because of overwhelming pressure coming from outside, against which he is powerless.
  141. Self-preservation is behind every virtue (implying self-interest).
  142. If two things lack the same attributes, they still have nothing in common.
  143. Emotions are cause of disagreement.
  144. Reason is cause of agreement.
  145. We are more often driven by envy than by reason.
  146. A lonely life is painful.
  147. It’s easier to get what we want if we work together.
  148. The most useful thing for a human is another human.
  149. Animals have feelings.
  150. The civil state isn’t the natural state.
  151. The existence of a society implies that it’s participants waived their natural right of exercising their own justice, in favor of the justice system that is offered by such society.
  152. Laws aren’t obeyed because they are rational, but because they are scary.
  153. A person who says that it’s a virtue to be sad is likely envious of your happiness.
  154. It’s healthy to laugh.
  155. Be kind to your enemies too.
  156. A person who does no good deeds for others, not matter if motivated by reason or pity, is not human.
  157. In a world where people are not usually guided by reason, humility and the ability to feel regret bring more benefit than harm.
  158. A person who is both idiot and courageous is a threat to public safety.
  159. Humility is one path to reason.
  160. A virtuous act is guided by reason, not by fear or desire for acceptance (which are self-interest, but an irrational form of self-interest).
  161. If you don’t know yourself, you don’t know the foundation of your acts.
  162. If virtuous is an act guided by reason and you don’t know the foundation of those acts (yourself), you know nothing about virtue.
  163. A person who is unable to act rationally is taken to believe what others say about them.
  164. Feeling like worthless scum and feeling like you are above others are both displays of ignorance.
  165. Acting like that is acting on emotion, rather than rationally.
  166. It’s easier to help a person who feel worthless than helping a person who feels like they are above others.
  167. If you are full of pride, you won’t stand the company of someone who doesn’t praise you.
  168. A proud person doesn’t want to be reminded of who they truly are.
  169. You are also full of pride if you think that others are inferior to you, even if your idea about yourself is humanized and correct.
  170. If you are like that, you won’t easily change; rather, by seeking the company of people who only share your same views, you will only get worse.
  171. The desire for a future benefit can be ignored easier if the person already has a decent level of present satisfaction.
  172. Teaching a person to do good deeds out of fear of punishment is the same as teaching the pupil to be as unhappy as the teacher.
  173. That’s why people hate scaremongers.
  174. If you do good, you will avoid evil as consequence, which is healthier than doing good out of fear of punishment.
  175. The good punishment is the one that is motivated by the desire to make people safe, rather than by revenge, ire, prejudice or hysteria.
  176. If things are going well, you won’t think about death.
  177. Wisdom comes from meditating on life, not from thinking about death.
  178. The goal of education should be “to teach all students to rationally guide their lives”.
  179. One single person can not end poverty alone.
  180. Good eating habits involve variation.
  181. Unfortunately, said variation can be expensive.
  182. The more you understand an emotion, the less it affects you.
  183. If you speak against glory and how meaningless the world is, you probably want to receive glory for pointing that out.
  184. Speaking against what you, deep inside, would like to do is often a sign of impotence to change the circunstances and act on the desire (sour grapes).
  185. Understand your emotions to control them.
  186. Your hate and the thing that you hate are different things.
  187. Childhood is an inferior state of the body and the mind, so nobody should have their maturing pace curbed by someone else (infantilization).
  188. On the contrary: we must offer as many opportunities as possible for the maturing of youth.
  189. Because the path to happiness is hard to find and hard to follow, requiring both a sane mind and a sane body.

1 Comentário »

  1. […] I grew accostumed to. I don’t know what is the root of that, but many point modern feminism. Spinoza also agrees that, by exercising love, our hate […]


    Pingback por On deprivation of affection. | Analecto — 29 de abril de 2018 @ 00:51

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