Baruch Spinoza

(Benedict de Spinoza )

Baruch Spinoza
Baruch Spinoza
  • Born: November 24, 1632
  • Died: February 21, 1677
  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Profession: Philosopher; Philosopher & Theologian









Baruch Spinoza was a Jewish-Dutch philosopher of Portuguese Sephardi origin. By laying the groundwork for the Enlightenment and modern biblical criticism, including modern conceptions of the self and the universe, he came to be considered one of the great rationalists of 17th-century philosophy. Along with René Descartes, Spinoza was a leading philosophical figure of the Dutch Golden Age. Spinoza's given name, which means "Blessed", varies among different languages. In Hebrew, it is written .mw-parser-output .script-hebrew,.mw-parser-output .script-Hebr{font-size:1.15em;font-family:"Ezra SIL","Ezra SIL SR","Keter Aram Tsova","Taamey Ashkenaz","Taamey David CLM","Taamey Frank CLM","Frank Ruehl CLM","Keter YG","Shofar","David CLM","Hadasim CLM","Simple CLM","Nachlieli","SBL BibLit","SBL Hebrew",Cardo,Alef,"Noto Serif Hebrew","Noto Sans Hebrew","David Libre",David,"Times New Roman",Gisha,Arial,FreeSerif,FreeSans}ברוך שפינוזה‬. His Portuguese name is Benedito "Bento" de Espinosa or d'Espinosa. In his Latin works, he used Latin: Benedictus de Spinoza.

Quote Topics Cited
... anyone who seeks for the true causes of miracles, and strives to understand natural phenomena as an intelligent being, and not to gaze at them like a fool, is set down and denounced as an impious heretic by those, whom the masses adore as the interpreters of nature and the gods. Such persons know that, with the removal of ignorance, the wonder which forms their only available means for proving and preserving their authority would vanish also. Human Nature
... the populace is variable and inconstant, so that, if a reputation be not kept up, it quickly withers away. Public Opinion & Polling
… no one can have lived in the world without observing that most people, when in prosperity, are so over-brimming with wisdom (however inexperienced they may be), that they take every offer of advice as a personal insult, whereas in adversity they know not where to turn, but beg and pray for counsel from every passer-by. Human Nature
A commonwealth then is so far independent, as it can plan and provide against oppression by another, and so far dependent on another commonwealth, as it fears that other's power Defense & National Security
A dominion then, whose well-being depends on any man's good faith, and whose affairs cannot be properly administered, unless those who are engaged in them will act honestly, will be very unstable. On the contrary, to insure its permanence, its public affairs should be so ordered, that those who administer them, whether guided by reason or passion, cannot be led to act treacherously or basely. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
A free man thinks of death least of all things; and his wisdom is a meditation not of death but of life. Freedom & Liberty
Academies that are founded at public expense are instituted not so much to cultivate men's natural abilities as to restrain them. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
All happiness or unhappiness solely depends upon the quality of the object to which we are attached by love. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Happiness & Unhappiness
All laws which can be broken without any injury to another, are counted but a laughing-stock, and are so far from bridling the desires and lusts of men, that on the contrary they stimulate them. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
All things excellent are as difficult as they are rare Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Ambition is the immoderate desire of power. Power
As men's habits of mind differ, so that some more readily embrace one form of faith, some another, for what moves one to pray may move another only to scoff, I conclude, in accordance with what has gone before, that everyone should be free to choose for himself the foundations of his creed, and that faith should be judged only by its fruits; each would then obey God freely with his whole heart, while nothing would be publicly honoured save justice and charity. Religion & God
Authority may be as much injured by words as by actions. Civil Disorder, Riots, Protests & Demonstrations
Beauty, my dear Sir, is not so much a quality of the object beheld, as an effect in him who beholds it. If our sight were longer or shorter, or if our constitution were different, what now appears beautiful to us would seem misshapen, and what we now think misshapen we should regard as beautiful. The most beautiful hand seen through the microscope will appear horrible. Some things are beautiful at a distance, but ugly near; Philosophy
Better that right counsels be known to enemies than that the evil secrets of tyrants should be concealed from the citizens. Secrecy & Transparency
But you, who presume that you have at last found the best religion, or rather the best men, on whom you have pinned your credulity, you, "who know that they are the best among all who have taught, do now teach, or shall in future teach other religions. Have you examined all religions, ancient as well as modern, taught here and in India and everywhere throughout the world? And, if you, have duly examined them, how do you know that you have chosen the best" since you can give no reason for the faith that is in you? But you will say, that you acquiesce in the inward testimony of the Spirit of God, while the rest of mankind are ensnared and deceived by the prince of evil spirits. But all those outside the pale of the Romish Church can with equal right proclaim of their own creed what you proclaim of yours. Religion & God
By God I understand a being absolutely infinite, that is, a substance consisting of an infinity of attributes, of which each one expresses an eternal and infinite essence. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Each thing, as far as it can by its own power, strives to persevere in being Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Every individual wishes the rest to live after his own mind, and to approve what he approves, and reject what he rejects. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Every man is by … natural right, the master of his own thoughts Religion & God ;Human Nature
Everyone wishes to catch popular applause for himself, and readily represses the fame of others. Human Nature
Free thought is a virtue that cannot be crushed Freedom & Liberty
From the quarrels and seditions which are often stirred up in a commonwealth, it never results that the citizens dissolve it, as often happens in the case of other associations; but only that they change its form into some other Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Hatred is increased by being reciprocated, and can on the other hand be destroyed by love. Human Nature
He who seeks equality between unequals seeks an absurdity. Equality & Equal Opportunity
He who seeks to regulate everything by law, is more likely to arouse vices than to reform them. It is best to grant what cannot be abolished, even though it be in itself harmful. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
He whose honor is rooted in popular approval must, day by day, anxiously strive, act, and scheme in order to retain his reputation. Leaders & Leadership
How hurtful to religion and the state is the concession to ministers of religion of any power of issuing decrees or transacting the business of government. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Human power is to be reckoned less by physical vigor than by mental strength. Power
I am of opinion that the revelation of God can only be established by the wisdom of the doctrine, not by miracles, or in other words by ignorance. Religion & God
I do not think it necessary for salvation to know Christ according to the flesh : but with regard to the Eternal Son of God, that is the Eternal Wisdom of God, which has manifested itself in all things and especially in the human mind, and above all in Christ Jesus, the case is far otherwise. For without this no one can come to a state of blessedness, inasmuch as it alone teaches, what is true or false, good or evil. And, inasmuch as this wisdom was made especially manifest through Jesus Christ, as I have said, his disciples preached it, in so far as it was revealed to them through him, and thus showed that they could rejoice in that spirit of Christ more than the rest of mankind. The doctrines added by certain churches, such as that God took upon himself human nature, I have expressly said that I do not understand; in fact, to speak the truth, they seem to me no less absurd than would a statement, that a circle had taken upon itself the nature of a square. Religion & God
I had hoped that out of so many stories you would at least have produced one or two, which could hardly be questioned, and which would clearly show that ghosts or spectres exist. The case you relate... seems to me laughable. In like manner it would be tedious here to examine all the stories of people, who have written on these trifles. To be brief, I cite the instance of Julius Caesar, who, as Suetonius testifies, laughed at such things and yet was happy. ...And so should all who reflect on the human imagination, and the effects of the emotions, laugh at such notions Religion & God
I have labored carefully, not to mock, lament, or execrate, but to understand human actions Human Nature
I have often wondered, that persons who make a boast of professing the Christian religion, namely, love, joy, peace, temperance, and charity to all men, should quarrel with such rancorous animosity, and display daily towards one another such bitter hatred, that this, rather than the virtues they claim, is the readiest criterion of their faith Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
I have striven not to laugh at human actions, not to weep at them, nor to hate them, but to understand them. Philosophy
I make this chief distinction between religion and superstition, that the latter is founded on ignorance, the former on knowledge; this, I take it, is the reason why Christians are distinguished from the rest of the world, not by faith, nor by charity, nor by the other fruits of the Holy Spirit, but solely by their opinions, inasmuch as they defend their cause, like everyone else, by miracles, that is by ignorance, which is the source of all malice; thus they turn a faith, which may be true, into superstition. Religion & God
I value nothing more highly than to be allowed the honor of entering into bonds of friendship with people who sincerely love truth. For ... I believe there is nothing in the world which we can love with tranquility except such men. Human Nature
If a triangle could speak, it would say, in like manner, that God is eminently triangular, while a circle would say that the divine nature is eminently circular. Thus each would ascribe to God its own attributes, would assume itself to be like God, and look on everything else as ill-shaped. Religion & God ;Philosophy
If any man was compelled by poverty to sell his farm or his pasture, he received it back again intact at the year of the Jubilee. Poverty
If in any case I did find error in that which I have collected from my natural understanding, I should count it good fortune, since I enjoy life, and endeavour to pass it not in weeping and sighing, but in peace, joy, and cheerfulness, and from time to time climb thereby a step higher. Religion & God ;Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology ;Philosophy
If men's minds were as easily controlled as their tongues, every king would sit safely on his throne Propaganda & Disinformation ;Dictators, Despots, Autocrats, Autocracies & Dictatorships
If slavery, barbarism and desolation are to be called peace, men can have no worse misfortune. War & Peace ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
If two come together and unite their strength, they have jointly more power, and consequently more right over nature than both of them separately, and the more there are that have so joined in alliance, the more right they all collectively will possess. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
If you find the light of Scripture clearer than the light of reason (which also is given us by divine wisdom), you are doubtless right in your own conscience in making your reason yield. For my part, since I plainly confess that I do not understand the Scriptures, though I have spent many years upon them, and since I know that when once I have a firm proof I cannot by any course of thought come to doubt of it, I rest wholly upon that which my understanding commends to me, without any suspicion that I am deceived therein, or that the Scriptures, even though I do not search them, can speak against it. For one truth cannot conflict with another. Religion & God ;Philosophy
In a democracy (the most natural form of government) everyone submits to the control of authority over his actions, but not over his judgment and reason; Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
In a free state every man may think what he likes, and say what he thinks. Freedom & Liberty
In despotic statecraft, the supreme and essential mystery be to hoodwink the subjects, and to mask the fear, which keeps them down, with the specious garb of religion, so that men may fight as bravely for slavery as for safety, and count it not shame but highest honor to risk their blood and their lives for the vainglory of a tyrant; Power
In practical life we are compelled to follow what is most probable ; in speculative thought we are compelled to follow truth. A man would perish of hunger and thirst, if he refused to eat or drink, till he had obtained positive proof that food and drink would be good for him. But in philosophic reflection this is not so. On the contrary, we must take care not to admit as true anything, which is only probable. For when one falsity has been let in, infinite others follow. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology ;Philosophy
In regard to intellect and true virtue, every nation is on a par with the rest, and God has not in these respects chosen one people rather than another. Equality & Equal Opportunity
Man can, indeed, act contrarily to the decrees of God, as far as they have been written like laws in the minds of ourselves or the prophets, but against that eternal decree of God, which is written in universal nature ... Religion & God ;Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest
Men will find that they can prepare with mutual aid far more easily what they need, and avoid far more easily the perils which beset them on all sides, by united force. Human Nature ;Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
My purpose is to explain, not the meaning of words, but the nature of things. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology ;Philosophy
Nature offers nothing that can be called this man's rather than another’s, but under nature everything belongs to all Environment & Environmentalism
Never prevent men from forming judgments according to their intellect Freedom & Liberty
No man's mind can possibly lie wholly at the disposition of another, for no one can willingly transfer his natural right of free reason and judgment, or be compelled to do so. Power
No plan is then too futile, too absurd, or too fatuous for their adoption; the most frivolous causes will raise them to hope, or plunge them into despair — if anything happens during their fright which reminds them of some past good or ill, they think it portends a happy or unhappy issue, and therefore (though it may have proved abortive a hundred times before) style it a lucky or unlucky omen. No plan is then too futile, too absurd, or too fatuous for their adoption; the most frivolous causes will raise them to hope, or plunge them into despair — if anything happens during their fright which reminds them of some past good or ill, they think it portends a happy or unhappy issue, and therefore (though it may have proved abortive a hundred times before) style it a lucky or unlucky omen. Management & Managing Government
Peace is not an absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice. War & Peace ;Philosophy
Poverty was nowhere more endurable than in a country where duty towards one's neighbor, that is, one's fellow-citizen, was practiced with the utmost piety, as a means of gaining the favor of God the King. Poverty
Superstition, then, is engendered, preserved, and fostered by fear. Human Nature
Superstitious persons, who know better how to rail at vice than how to teach virtue, and who strive not to guide men by reason, but so to restrain them that they would rather escape evil than love virtue, have no other aim but to make others as wretched as themselves; Religion & God
The free man is as courageous in timely retreat as in combat War & Peace
The general right of the whole decides what is good and what is evil Public Opinion & Polling
The main threat to freedom comes from church ministers who depend upon fear and superstitions to gain and to keep power Religion & God
The more a government strives to curtail freedom of speech, the more obstinately is it resisted; not indeed by the avaricious, ... but by those whom good education, sound morality, and virtue have rendered more free. Men in general are so constituted that there is nothing they will endure with so little patience as that views which they believe to be true should be counted crimes against the laws. Freedom & Liberty
The more rulers strive to curtail freedom of speech, the more obstinately are they resisted; …. laws directed against opinions affect the generous minded rather than the wicked, and are adapted less for coercing criminals than for irritating the upright; so that they cannot be maintained without great peril to the state. Freedom & Liberty
The more, therefore, we consider man to be free, the less we can say, that he can neglect to use reason Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
The more...we consider man to be free, the less we can say, that he can neglect to use reason, or choose evil in preference to good Freedom & Liberty
The object of government is not to change men from rational beings into beasts or puppets, but to enable them to develop their minds and bodies in security, and to employ their reason unshackled; neither showing hatred, anger, or deceit, nor watched with the eyes of jealousy and injustice. In fact, the true aim of government is liberty. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
The real disturbers of the peace are those who, in a free state, seek to curtail the liberty of judgment which they are unable to tyrannize over. Freedom & Liberty
The true knowledge of good and evil arouses disturbances of the mind Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
The ultimate aim of government is not to rule, or restrain, by fear, nor to exact obedience, but contrariwise, to free every man from fear, that he may live in all possible security; in other words, to strengthen his natural right to exist and work without injury to himself or others. Miscellaneous
There was one feature [the Jubilee] peculiar to this state [the Hebrew Republic] and of great importance in retaining the affections of its citizens, and checking all thoughts of desertion, or abandonment of the country: namely self-interest, the strength and life of all human action. This was particularly engaged in the Hebrew State, for nowhere else did citizens possess their goods so securely as did the subjects of this community for the latter were owners of their plots of ground in perpetuity. States. Nations & Nationhood
They [philosophers] conceive of men, not as they are, but as they themselves would like them to be Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising ;Philosophy
This I know, that between finite and infinite there is no comparison; so that the difference between God and the greatest and most excellent created thing is no less than the difference between God and the least created thing. Religion & God ;Equality & Equal Opportunity
This impels me ... to set forth briefly my opinion on the question, whether the world was made by chance.... I therefore say, as I have said already, that the world is a necessary effect of the divine nature, and that it has not been made by chance. Religion & God ;Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology ;Philosophy
Those are most desirous of honor and glory who cry out the loudest of its abuse and the vanity of the world. Human Nature ;Nationalism & Treason ;Citizenship & Patriotism
Those who administer or possess governing power, always try to surround their high-handed actions with a cloak of legality, and to persuade the people that they act from good motives; this they are easily able to effect when they are the sole interpreters of the law; Power
Truth is a standard both of itself and of falsity. Philosophy
We can conceive of various kinds of democracy. Democracies & Republics ;Social Sciences
We cannot infer that because sciences of things divine and human are full of controversies and quarrels, therefore their whole subject-matter is uncertain ; for there have been many persons so enamoured of contradiction, as to turn into ridicule geometrical axioms. Religion & God ;Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology ;Philosophy
when a man is a prey to his emotions, he is not his own master, but lies at the mercy of fortune: so much so, that he is often compelled, while seeing that which is better for him, to follow that which is worse. Human Nature
Where men have general rights, and are all guided, as it were, by one mind, it is certain that every individual has the less right the more the rest collectively exceed him in power Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
All the better; they do not force me to do anything that I would not have done of my own accord if I did not dread scandal. But since they want it that way, I enter gladly on the path that is opened to me, with the consolation that my departure will be more innocent than was the exodus of the early Hebrews from Egypt. Religion & God ;Discrimination & Prejudice ;Philosophy
Be not astonished at new ideas; for it is well known to you that a thing does not therefore cease to be true because it is not accepted by many.
Blessedness is not the reward of virtue but virtue itself.
Desire is the essence of a man.
Do not weep; do not wax indignant. Understand. Motivation
Fame has also this great drawback, that if we pursue it, we must direct our lives so as to please the fancy of men.
Fear cannot be without hope nor hope without fear. Hope
For peace is not mere absence of war, but is a virtue that springs from, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice. War & Peace
Freedom is absolutely necessary for the progress in science and the liberal arts. Freedom & Liberty ;Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
God is the indwelling and not the transient cause of all things. Religion & God
Happiness is a virtue, not its reward. Happiness & Unhappiness
He alone is free who lives with free consent under the entire guidance of reason.
I call him free who is led solely by reason.
I do not know how to teach philosophy without becoming a disturber of established religion. Religion & God
I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand them.
I would warn you that I do not attribute to nature either beauty or deformity, order or confusion. Only in relation to our imagination can things be called beautiful or ugly, well-ordered or confused. Nature
If men were born free, they would, so long as they remained free, form no conception of good and evil.
If you want the present to be different from the past, study the past.
It may easily come to pass that a vain man may become proud and imagine himself pleasing to all when he is in reality a universal nuisance.
Men govern nothing with more difficulty than their tongues, and can moderate their desires more than their words.
None are more taken in by flattery than the proud, who wish to be the first and are not.
Nothing exists from whose nature some effect does not follow. Nature
Nothing in the universe is contingent, but all things are conditioned to exist and operate in a particular manner by the necessity of the divine nature. Nature
One and the same thing can at the same time be good, bad, and indifferent, e.g., music is good to the melancholy, bad to those who mourn, and neither good nor bad to the deaf. Time ;Music, Chants & Rapps
Only that thing is free which exists by the necessities of its own nature, and is determined in its actions by itself alone. Nature
Peace is not an absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice. War & Peace
Peace is not the absence of war, but a virtue based on strength of character. War & Peace
Pride is pleasure arising from a man's thinking too highly of himself.
Self-complacency is pleasure accompanied by the idea of oneself as cause.
Sin cannot be conceived in a natural state, but only in a civil state, where it is decreed by common consent what is good or bad.
So long as a man imagines that he cannot do this or that, so long as he is determined not to do it; and consequently so long as it is impossible to him that he should do it.
The endeavor to understand is the first and only basis of virtue.
The greatest pride, or the greatest despondency, is the greatest ignorance of one's self.
The highest activity a human being can attain is learning for understanding, because to understand is to be free. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
The ordinary surroundings of life which are esteemed by men (as their actions testify) to be the highest good, may be classed under the three heads — Riches, Fame, and the Pleasures of Sense: with these three the mind is so absorbed that it has little power to reflect on any different good. Human Nature
The world would be happier if men had the same capacity to be silent that they have to speak.
There is no hope unmingled with fear, and no fear unmingled with hope. Hope
Those who are believed to be most abject and humble are usually most ambitious and envious.
To give aid to every poor man is far beyond the reach and power of every man. Care of the poor is incumbent on society as a whole. Society ;Power
True virtue is life under the direction of reason. Life
We feel and know that we are eternal.
Whatsoever is contrary to nature is contrary to reason, and whatsoever is contrary to reason is absurd. Nature
Whatsoever is, is in God, and without God nothing can be, or be conceived. Religion & God
Will and intellect are one and the same thing.