Thursday, 9 March 2017 at 21:39
Lithograph of Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762-1814 )in his post-Spinozist years.
The debate over the issue of Spinozism and its alleged pantheistic consequences was one of the most important intellectual concerns of the early 1780s (with the pantheism controversy). In the debate the young Fichte appears to have been firmly on the side of the metaphysical determinists.
I contend that Spinozism was an early form of Marxism, sharing the same Judaic and kabbalistic roots.
This makes the young Fichte a proto-Marxist.
He did of course revolt against what he judged to be his own youthful error, turning against the materialist monism of Spinoza, advocating instead an idealist monism as the basis of a Renaissance humanism in secular form.
© John Dunn.
Turning Spinoza on his head
Tuesday, 28 February 2017 at 21:59
Fichte put the ground of autonomy in the self in an attempt to refute the Spinozists. He reversed Spinoza and the dogmatists who put the ground of autonomy in the not-self i.e. in nature, in the outer world as the cause of our representations.
Fichte also refuted the Kantian thing-in-itself, which served as the outer world and cause of our representations.
It is easy to see why Fichte was accused of atheism in his time. By refuting the Spinozists’ external cause, that in which Spinoza insisted man is grounded, i.e. Substance, or Ein Sof, Fichte was also denying the existence of a God external to man. Fichte had internalised God. He had wholly embraced the Renaissance humanist concept of the divinity of man.
In answer to the “what am I” question, the Spinozists claimed that everything we know is derived from the outer world through sensation and that the ground of autonomy lies in the outer world of nature. Their answer to the question is that the self is merely an accident or epiphenomenon of this ontology of actuality.
Fichte attempted to save the self by reversing Spinoza as well as turning him on his head. Fichte claimed that all reality and substantiality is inside the self as a whole. The external world of nature is an epiphenomenon that revolves around the self, not the other way around.
Did Fichte actually refute Spinoza, or did he merely miniaturise Ein Sof?
And didn’t the Ein Sof of Lurianic Kabbalah miniaturise itself in its act of withdrawal?
Things to ponder.
© John Dunn.
Wednesday, 22 February 2017 at 20:53
In March to April 1841, at the age of 22, Karl Marx made extensive transcriptions from Spinoza.* These notebooks were published by Dietz Verlag in the GDR in 1976, in two volumes. Volume I contains Marx’s transcriptions in Latin and German; Volume II contains translations from Latin into German, and notes, the “Apparat”.
He prepared his Spinoza notes immediately following the completion of his doctoral dissertation for which he received his doctoral degree in April 1841.
The combination of his work on Epicurus (for the dissertation) and the notes taken from Spinoza had a profound effect upon Marx’s conception of human freedom.
Certainly the combination was also at the root of his realisation that there were two basic and opposite trends in philosophy, the idealist and the materialist.
*Karl Marx (1976) Marx/Engels Gesamtausgabe (MEGA), IV Vierte Abteilung : Exzerpte Notizen Marginalien Band 1(Berlin: Dietz Verlag)
© John Dunn.
USA modelled on France
Sunday, 12 February 2017 at 10:28
What were the Pilgrim Fathers really escaping? A Sarpian, Spinozist, Lockean Britain.
The model for the new USA was not the Sarpian ‘Republick of merchants’ with Lockean overtones, but rather the France of Louis the XIV and Jean-Baptiste Colbert (pictured), except that the President undertook the role of an elected ‘king’.
Not surprisingly, the American revolutionaries received the support of France.
Only later was the republic in which happiness was to be pursued turned into a ‘Republick of merchants’.
© John Dunn.
Perfected state of oligarchy
Saturday, 11 February 2017 at 20:55
The impact of Lurianic kabbalah was multi-layered, and socio-political in essence.
Isaac Luria (1534–1572) took his followers on a metaphorical journey of Platonic, Eleusian divine light, creation and fall, that left mankind with a neo-chivalric quest for redemption and return to divine perfection. This was ‘secret’ knowledge; a revamped gnosticism.
In the mystical language of gnosticism, Luria wrote down an allegory of exile and return for the Marrano Jews.
From what were the Jews exiled? Not Palestine for a start.
The great and significant exile was from the Renaissance states that were attempting to gain control of their economic destinies, within newly established national borders.
To what did the Jews long to return? To a borderless world of unimpeded trade - sharing the spoils of serf-produced surplus with the landholding nobility and Venetian bankers.
Tikkun was the allegorised process of return.
Ein Sof was the hoped-for perfected state of oligarchy.
© John Dunn.