Spinoza’s philosophy, with its insistence that everything has already been determined and none of us has free will, gives rise to a lot of Really Big Questions.
We are our stories, and our stories don’t just deserve to be told, they need to be heard. It’s more than a shame that so many of these stories were never heard during the time their storytellers were alive. But we have a chance to hear some of them today.
It’s really no testament to the man’s work skills or general camaraderie that no one cared that he had vanished from the office for six years. No one raised a stink until he failed to show up to get a longevity award for keeping the same job for so long. Which, you know, is makes this a masterwork of irony.
This philosophy isn’t a cure, or at least, it hasn’t been yet. But it is a help. Especially, I find, with things that are far beyond my influence, such as the upcoming election. It’s comforting to find a way to let go of some of that anxiety. And that, at least, is something.
What is Spinoza’s G-d up to, anyway? What’s G-d good for, if not meddling about in the affairs of mankind? If G-d’s not going to help me on my upcoming statistics test, what the heck do I need a G-d for, anyhow?
“Equal by Design” is a documentary dealing with the affordable housing crunch in the UK and people who are working to solve it. And a running theme throughout the film are the philosophical beliefs of Spinoza, including ideas such as equality, ratio, reason and wellbeing.
Cause and effect is a law of the universe. No one questions it. No one, it is, until our big brains get in the way and ego gets involved. All of a sudden, the idea of free will enters the picture and the primacy of cause and effect flies out the window. Or does it? Let’s take a look.
In this series of posts, I’ll take a look at Spinoza’s concept of determinism and attempt to explain how it’s possible to balance it against an innate sense of self insisting we have free will.