Wednesday, 26 July 2017 at 19:54
For me, the works of Spinoza, Coleridge and Dante are bound together one way or the other.
Spinoza described as substance his concept of God, or the One, Ein Sof. Subjectivity is subsumed within substance, never allowing for clear separation of the two.
Substance is his great and unfounded presupposition. Spinoza began his Ethics with definitions, starting with the ‘cause of itself’ or causa sui. Definition 3 says: ‘By substance, I understand that which is in itself and is conceived through itself; in other words, that, the conception of which does not need the conception of another thing from which it must be formed.’
Coleridge lamented that Spinoza’s ‘error consisted not so much in what he affirms, as in what he has omitted to affirm or rashly denied . . . that he saw God in the ground only and exclusively, in his Might alone and his essential Wisdom, and not likewise in his moral, intellectual, existential and personal Godhead’. In short, the Ethics lacked the theoretical basis for an ethics.
'If like Spinoza', wrote Coleridge, 'I had contemplated God as the infinite Substance (Substantia Unica) as the incomprehensible mindless, lifeless, formless Substans of all Mind, Life and Form—there would be for me neither Good nor Evil – Yet Pain, & Misery would be—& would be hopeless'.
Dante had described the place where hope had been abandoned. ‘Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate’, ‘Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.’
© John Dunn.
Until he meets Beatrice
Sunday, 9 July 2017 at 21:15
Beatrice and Dante by Jiří AnderleI am reminded of a statement attributed to the French Catholic novelist, Francois Mauriac: ‘A chance encounter between two people can have implications for eternity.’
He, in turn, was influenced in this idea by Gabriel Marcel.
What did he mean by this?
‘Relationships between things are external, relationships between people are internal.’ (Gabriel Marcel)
Intersubjectivity, is lived internally.
Through the encounter my life was changed forever.
Why? This was the metaphysical question and the answer is to be found here inside of me.
Eros led me
Lust encouraged me
Loss destroyed me
Rejection and humiliation led me to the wall of fire.…
Shortly before sunset, the Poets are greeted by the Angel of Chastity, who instructs them to pass through the wall of fire. By reminding Dante that Beatrice can be found in the Earthly Paradise on the other side, Virgil finally persuades Dante to pass through the intense fire. After the poets pass through the flame, the sun sets and they lie down to sleep on the steps between the final terrace and the Earthly Paradise.
Virgil urges Dante to explore the Earthly Paradise until he meets Beatrice. Before sending him off, Virgil blesses him with these words: ‘there I crown and miter you over yourself.’
Crowned and mitred one, the individual through which all future and all past exists as now.
The self-generating, self-evolving, self-existent, self-manifesting and self-born.
© John Dunn.
From Rilke's Duino Elergies
Monday, 26 June 2017 at 21:05
Lines from the Duino Elergies resonated with me, particularly after my recent readings of Fichte - 'everything here
apparently needs us'
But because truly, being here is so much;
because everything here
apparently needs us, this fleeting world,
which in some strange way
keeps calling to us. Us, the most fleeting
Once for each thing. Just once; no more.
And we too,
just once. And never again. But to have been
this once, completely, even if only once:
to have been at one with the earth,
seems beyond undoing.
Posted by John Dunn.
Sunday, 30 April 2017 at 20:19
Fichte represented a peak anti-Spinozism, a peak anti-feudalism, epitomising Renaissance concepts, i.e. nation state, anti-Jew, anti-oligarchy, anti-globalism.
Fichte turned Spinoza on his head
Fichte had turned the monist materialist Spinoza on his head in formulating his own idealist philosophy of the Absolute I.
Rather than continue his work, Schelling and Hegel reacted against it, seeking instead a path of mediation between Fichte’s Absolute I and a persistent and residual external reality.
Consciously Christian, Hegel believed that he had developed a supercessionary philosophy, one that took the philosophy of the Jew Spinoza as its starting point. Hegel formulated a secular New Testament to Spinoza’s secular Old.
In reality Hegel remained a monophysite, providing the self-sustaining motor of return to the Absolute that was lacking in Spinoza’s own philosophy. It only needed Marx to turn Hegel on his head, consciously in opposition to Fichte, to complete the return, setting Spinoza ‘right side up’ in the process. Above all, Marx was a Spinozist, rather than a Hegelian.
© John Dunn.
The myth of idealist succession
Sunday, 23 April 2017 at 21:53
In philosophy, the myth of succession holds sway, with Schelling and Hegel presented as the heirs and successors of Fichte, rather than his opponents.
So what did Fichte represent? The assertion of the same individual will that had attained crown and mitre in Dante’s Divine Comedy; the will which thundered in the symphonies of Beethoven and the great romantic poets.
What did Schelling and Hegel represent? They were Monophysites. Influenced by Spinoza.
Fichte represented a peak. Schelling and Hegel represented a falling away.
Fichte defined what it is to be human; and that was in the human capacity for creation, in the image of God.
© John Dunn.
Marx the Spinozist
Monday, 17 April 2017 at 20:37
Consciously Christian, Hegel believed that he had developed a supercessionary philosophy, one that took the philosophy of the Jew Spinoza as its starting point. In reality Hegel remained a monophysite and provided the motor of return to Spinoza’s Absolute. It only needed Marx to turn Hegel on his head, consciously in opposition to Fichte, to complete the return, setting Spinoza ‘right side up’ in the process. Above all, Marx was a Spinozist, rather than a Hegelian.
The shadow of the Hegelian dialectic may have remained as a materialist teleology in Marx’s work, as determinism, necessarianism and fatalism. However, its philosophy of progression masked the philosophy of return, which had existed from the start in the Lurianic Kabbalah of exile and return adopted by Spinoza.
© John Dunn.
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.