July 27, 2019. On this day, 363 years ago, Baruch Spinoza was kicked out of the Portuguese Sephardic community in Amsterdam. We know the words that were uttered as he was drummed out of the insular society, but there is so much more that we don’t know about that event.
I’d say I’m sorry for interrupting my normal history and writing and vampire posts with something so modern, but really, I’m not. Because this matters. A lot. And it’s what Spinoza would want, anyway.
What we might see as free will is just an illusion, Spinoza says. If you read this post, it’s because it was always in your nature to do so. If not, well, that was in your nature, too.
I’d like to hear from other writers: How have you approached writing about characters or topics that were out of your league? How did you do research enabling you to write about them with authority? How did you write around things that remained above your pay grade? I want to know how we write about things we don’t understand logically, but get on different level.
The Netherlands was a place where great forces were battling to see their view of the world hold sway. The Dutch Reformed Church with its predicant preachers, strict and orthodox, wanted to have the final world over the standards — both legal and social — being set in the new nation. They were opposed by the Remonstrants, their more liberal-minded rivals who were required to meet in private homes instead of public churches. And perhaps most powerful of all was the merchant class, whose vast wealth kept the heart of Amsterdam beating throughout the Dutch Golden Age.