April 18, 2019

Baruch Spinoza fascinates me. The acts of the Prince of Philosophers were aligned with the ideas he preached - philosophy as a way of life is still rare nowadays - while keeping his material desires to a minimum, living a simple life dedicated to the pursuit of truth.

I was reading his Ethics yesterday, or at least I was trying to: I read 10 pages before giving up and quickly skimming through the book to get a sense of the structure. I can still formulate a thought from having a quick look at the page: Spinoza’s reasoning is one of a mathematician, first principle reasoning. The author establishes axioms as references before elaborating propositions. Each statement is built upon one another with scientific precision. Spinoza’s way to persuade the reader is a form of maïeutic based on a mathematical demonstration. Blurring the border between philosophy and mathematics, how brilliant! I just wish his work wasn’t so hard to digest, but I guess any good read takes some time to process.

What are the axioms of my own life, I wonder? I guess mastery is a quest for truth as well, but truth is notably hard to find. I learned from Spinoza that truth is both a gain and a sacrifice, so its pursuit is an exchange with Nature, or God.