You go down late to do your shopping, to reduce your chance of crossing your neighbor a little rogue. You prefer a country bread to your usual baguette. At every moment, you reopen the range of all possibilities. Maybe you think you're free. Are you really? This is an illusion, warns Baruch Spinoza, who has not finished fooling men. A scandalous thesis in the seventeenth.
- Crosswords, Sudoku, 7 Letters... Keep your mind awake with Le Figaro Jeux
The Jewish community of Amsterdam excommunicated, when he was only 23 years old, the one whom his parents would have seen as a rabbi. It is by polishing glasses that he tries to make a living. He will finish her as a recluse, his posthumous works banned because they are accused of being "profane and blasphemous". It is that his philosophical world, all mathematical coldness, domesticating to the point of love and joy, does not fit well with faith in a personal God.
Man is as free as a stone falling to the ground. That is, it is not. Imagine a stone that is aware that it is falling. She might think she's tumbling down because she wants it to be that way. It is this kind of illusory freedom that men boast about. Like the stone that believes itself free because it ignores the law of gravity, man believes himself free because he "ignores the causes that determine him". Thus the talkative thinks he speaks voluntarily, while he is carried by an "impulse" that he does not control.
Philosophy has never ceased to denounce the servitude of man. For Spinoza, this slavery is not that of technique that dries up, passions that weaken or habitus that determine. It is a bondage of ignorance. Man is not the source of his action, and his tragedy is that he does not know it.
But freedom is not opposed to necessity. She agrees with her. Freedom is "obeying the necessity of one's own nature". It is following the course of things. This definition is scandalously original. It assumes a reality conceived as a huge canvas, a canvas where all the links and all the knots would be necessary. In fact, for Spinoza, there is only one reality. All the cells of our being, up to galaxies and all stars, all this is only a particular mode of an attribute of substance. This substance is God, "that is, nature." The three refer to only one thing. It is a world without exteriority that Spinoza builds, neither transcendent nor truly immanent. Everything is in everything, in a world without gods because it merges with the divine.
But it is a divine without miracle. It is a divine of logical necessity, of the chain of causes. The world is disenchanted. Nature is blind, it is deaf, it no longer has meaning. Spinoza rejects the idea of finality dear to the realist tradition. Finality is only a belief, a superstition. Attach to this idea? It is taking refuge in an "asylum of ignorance". Thus, absurdity and absolute rationalism rub shoulders hand in hand. By wanting to control everything, we can no longer explain anything. Because we mechanically dissect all the reasons, it is the meaning of things that remains untraceable.
Love itself is fraught with rationalism. Because Spinoza is constantly talking about love. He doesn't ask himself what he likes. He wonders what he should like. Bliss or misery do not depend on the intensity of love, but on the dignity of the beloved object. And the most worthy object is God. But to love God in the traditional way is for Spinoza to remain a prisoner of time, of duration. Only the "intellectual love of God" is on the plane of eternity. Indeed, "no love, except intellectual love, is eternal," he writes in his Ethics. He has also been nicknamed "the philosopher of joy". But it is a joy that springs from knowledge, the highest one, which sees every event as arising from natural necessity. Joy and love are based on extending the power to know. Hence the scandal. Nothing is further from Spinoza than the mystery of transcendence. There is nothing of reality that he scrutinizes that does not escape the mechanism.