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Immutable substance

Thursday, 11 April 2019 at 17:56

Spinoza on Dr john Dunn. Spinoza’s god of the Lurianic Kabbalah was the permanent and immutable Substance, which is the ground of all things. The Renaissance idea that the universe could be both lawful and evolving in a constant process of perfection, was incomprehensible to him. Spinoza’s god was trapped in the same set of fixed rules in which mens' minds were trapped. Since not even God can change these fixed laws, a far less powerful mankind must live in a universe defined by these fixed relationships. It is these fixed relationships, or ‘natural law’, that set the limits to man’s activities, not moral choices of self-restraint. Such a philosophical presupposition was wholly consonant with a Spinozist socio-political outlook and can be taken as a metaphorical presentation of that outlook. In an amoral universe everyone has a ‘right’ to act deceitfully, angrily, discordantly, violently, etc. towards others, in whatever manner they see fit, as long as they are able to do so; their ‘rights’ are only limited by their ability. The holder of such a view is elevated in terms of power vis-à-vis others in society who hold to an overtly moral code of behaviour, especially when he pretends to act by that same moral code.

© John Dunn.

'I will not be a Doge'

Monday, 8 April 2019 at 20:29

George III on Dr John Dunn. The 1688 Dutch invasion, or Glorious Revolution as it was dubbed by the financial beneficiaries, established a Sarpian ‘Republick of Merchants’ on English soil, as Venetian and Dutch commercial and banking interests transferred to London. The Anglo-Dutch model of oligarchical rule was established, with the formerly centralising authority of the King transformed into the nominal authority of a Venetian-style Doge.

In his novel Coningsby, Disraeli wrote: ‘The great object of Whig leaders in England, from the first movement under Hampden to the last most successful one in 1688, was to establish in England a high aristocratic republic on the model of the Venetian....William the Third told ...Whig leaders, 'I will not be a Doge' ...They brought in a new family on their own terms. George I was aDoge; George II was a Doge....George III
(pictured) tried not to be a Doge....He might try to get rid of the Whig Magnificoes, but he could not rid himself of the Venetian constitution.’

© John Dunn.


Sunday, 7 April 2019 at 17:35

James II on Dr John Dunn. The first English translation of Spinoza’s Tractatus theologicao-Politicus appeared in 1689, the year after the so-called Glorious Revolution in England. It provided the philosophical underpinning to the new regime following the ousting of James II (left) from the thrones of England and Scotland. During the Stuart exile following the English Civil War, James had been raised at the French court of Louis XIV. He became familiar with the highly centralised state in which the nobility and nascent oligarchy were kept strictly under control by the central authority of the crown, continuing the historical principles established by Louis XI when France established the pattern for other Renaissance nation states. Most notably, the nobility was confined for long periods to the court of Versailles, a crown-led controlling tactic. The economy was a highly governed phenomenon, under a single language and within rigidly defined borders. The success of the French pattern under Louis XIV made centralisation under the sovereign appear to be the modern way forward for other states in Europe and beyond. It was the model followed by Spain, in which the reining in of oligarchical power by the centralised authority had led to the expulsion of the Jews. It was this model of government that James II would have nurtured in England, which was why the Whig aristocracy collaborated with the Dutch invaders in 1688.

© John Dunn.

Command necessity

Saturday, 6 April 2019 at 21:32

Spinoza on Dr John Dunn. Spinoza’s self-caused God, or Substance, is incompatible with the freedom of the will. Not surprisingly, both Sarpi and Spinoza feared democracy. ‘Just keep the masses cheaply fed’, insisted Sarpi, whose words probably applied to ideas, as well as food. The politicised seculariser of Kabbalah, who saw the unity or monism of all things, also espoused the unity and oneness of leadership. Spinoza’s toleration, which resulted from his monism, had limits that should be troubling, even for a radical pacifist. In a Spinozist world, the sovereign alone would have the right to determine not only the state’s laws but also religious law:

It is the duty of the sovereign alone to decide what is necessary for the welfare of the entire people and the security of the state, and to command what it judges to be thus necessary, it follows that it is also the duty of the sovereign alone to decide what form piety towards one’s neighbour should take, that is in what way every man is required to obey God. From this we clearly understand in what way the sovereign is the interpreter of religion. (Theological-Political Treatise)

If Kabbalism, Spinozism and Freemasonry were the key components of the dehumanising process, then the ‘Republick of Merchants’, in which all opposition is viewed with hostility as a state within a state, was the desired outcome. Thus were the goal of the secularised Tikkun and the rise of the ‘Republick of Merchants’ inseparably linked.

© John Dunn.

On his head

Sunday, 31 March 2019 at 20:20

Marx Hegel on head on Dr John Dunn. Yes - there was always something strange in Marx’s upturning assertion about Hegel. The truth is that Marx espoused Spinozism, the denial of human will and creativity. Marx took much from Hegel, but Hegel too was a Spinozist, inheriting his concept of Absolute Spirit from Judaism and Kabbalah. ForHegel, the origin, substance, purpose and direction of the universe was the realisation of an infinite knowledge, consciousness, or mind. Like the Kabbalists, Hegel held that the world’s beginning, substance and end is to be found in an infinite, all inclusive, Absolute Being. This Absolute, which is analogous to the Kabbalist’s Ein-sof, is conceived of by Hegel as the Absolute Spirit, a notion that is itself present in many kabbalistic works.

ForHegel everything begins with the realisation that there is something exceptional and inescapable in Spinoza’s philosophy. He wrote ‘du hast entweder den Spinozismus oder keine Philosophie’ - you have either Spinozism or no philosophy at all. When Marx ‘turned Hegel on this head’, he was in reality ‘uprighting’ Spinoza, following Fichte's inversion.

To Spinozists like Marx and Engels, the answer to ‘What am I?’ is - ‘you are what you have to be’. In Spinoza’s concept of God, or the One, or Ein Sof, subjectivity is subsumed within Substance, never allowing for a clear separation of the two. This was the reason why Martin Buber said that Spinoza left no room for dialogue with God. Spinoza, to whom the knowledge of God was everything, nevertheless deprived man of an essential element of religious reality: the ‘approachability’ of God or, as Buber called it, his ‘dialogue’ relation with God. And trust me, there is far more to this ‘dialogue relation’ than Buber or any other religionist would have you believe.

© John Dunn.

Marcion denied

Wednesday, 27 March 2019 at 21:16

Marcion of Sinope on Dr John Dunn. Marcion of Sinope (85AD-160AD)

Marcion’s attempt to reject the Old Testament God was thrown out. Constantine’s regime favoured the arbitrary rule of Jehovah and an impassable gulf between dependent individuals and the Absolute as an entity outside, above and beyond the individual. To be subject to a manmade entity reified as mind-independent reality is the polar opposite to the attainment of an autonomously creative mind. But then again, such thinking minds would not make good slaves of a tyrannous empire, which needed instead heteronomous minds, wholly dependent on a master to tell them what to do and think.

Submission from the flock was demanded contractually across the Empire, through the weekly repetition of the Nicene Creed by the whole community. Lords and serfs alike contracted into a strict religion of transcendence that cemented the Christian era’s rigid social demarcation for millennia. It seemed to me that the flame of Prometheus was snuffed out at Nicaea. Jesus had the special messianic status of Jewish mythology thrust upon him and was hailed as the Christ, or promised Messiah.

And so began the Christian (or Messianic) era, the Jehovian terror, during which man has been enslaved to the very higher reality that Jesus preached against.

© John Dunn.

The mystery turns

Friday, 8 February 2019 at 17:56

St John eagle on Dr John Dunn. Shunning idolatry, John emphasised that no one has seen God as a pre-existent entity, but rather that God lives in each of us if we love one another (i.e. if his love is perfected in us and is not simply agape or shallow lurv). God is not a thing-in-itself to be experienced.

No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. (1 John 4:12)

This comes close to trumping God, or the originating Substance. Rather than being subsumed in God à la Spinoza, each one of us can choose to have God dwelling inside him. The tables are turned on God in this manner. But then this would be to fall into the Spinozist trap of polarity, recognised by Coleridge in his critique of the German idealists.

However, and this is the breakthrough, John rescues us from the circularity of the argument.

And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. (1 John 4:16)

Whatever love is, it is dialectical. It is upon love that the mystery turns, i.e. upon the fact that there are no criteria bywhich love can be defined. This is the wonderful mystery of Love and God.

© John Dunn.

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