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#80236 - 02/20/05 05:49 AM Re: LaVey and Spinoza [Re: hannibal]
Walewein Offline


Registered: 11/16/04
Posts: 17
Loc: Belgium
I have learned about Spinoza at university last year, but this was strictly in relation to Descarte's view. I'm glad I can find out more about Spinoza's other side here Thank you!

I think Spinoza's gonna be on my to do list for the summer.
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#80237 - 02/21/05 03:10 AM Re: LaVey and Spinoza [Re: hannibal]
Assabrah Offline
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Registered: 01/17/05
Posts: 2062
just remember that spinoza in his book called "l'éthique", explain his methode "more geometrico"(> according to the geometical order),inspires himself by the Euclide and Descartes geometry, then starts from "definitions" and "axioms" to reach this point : theorem concerning god, the man, passions and this damn virtue....
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#80238 - 02/21/05 09:26 AM Re: LaVey and Spinoza [Re: Assabrah]
reprobate Offline

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"Virtue" didn't mean exactly the same thing during the Renaissance as it does today. (Just look at how Machiavelli uses it -- Spinoza was a fan of Machiavelli.)

Spinoza is definitely a subjectivist, so "virtue" definitely doesn't mean being a nice, domesticated character according to the conventional standards of right behavior.

If you like, you can treat 'virtue' as another word Spinoza expropriates for his own purpose, just like 'God'.
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#80239 - 02/21/05 12:25 PM Re: LaVey and Spinoza [Re: reprobate]
hannibal Offline


Registered: 02/15/05
Posts: 66
Loc: NJ
Quote:

"Virtue" didn't mean exactly the same thing during the Renaissance as it does today. (Just look at how Machiavelli uses it -- Spinoza was a fan of Machiavelli.)


Spinoza is definitely a subjectivist, so "virtue" definitely doesn't mean being a nice, domesticated character according to the conventional standards of right behavior.

If you like, you can treat 'virtue' as another word Spinoza expropriates for his own purpose, just like 'God'.




"By virtue and power I mean the same thing; that is, virtue, in so far as it is related to man, is man’s very essence, or nature, in so far as he has the power to bring about that which can be understood solely through the laws of his own nature"

I believe the above quote should be helpful.
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#80240 - 02/22/05 05:29 PM Re: LaVey and Spinoza [Re: hannibal]
lastlament Offline


Registered: 01/18/05
Posts: 106
Loc: England
"By virtue and power I mean the same thing; that is, virtue, in so far as it is related to man, is man’s very essence, or nature, in so far as he has the power to bring about that which can be understood solely through the laws of his own nature"

I don't see how this follows. It reads nicely but I'm not convinced it stands-up to careful examination. It reads as a tautology, and smacks of circularity.

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#80241 - 02/22/05 05:58 PM Re: LaVey and Spinoza [Re: lastlament]
reprobate Offline

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It's not circular, it's a primary definition. To appreciate it you need the context of the preceding and following discussion in Ethics -- and some understanding of how the word "virtue" was used in 17th century Latin. The point is that "virtue" doesn't mean being nice; 'virtue' for Spinoza is the behavior of the person who pursues and attains his interests and pleasures (which follow from his nature).
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#80242 - 02/23/05 05:39 AM Re: LaVey and Spinoza [Re: reprobate]
lastlament Offline


Registered: 01/18/05
Posts: 106
Loc: England
I have to admit I am not a Spinoza svholar, but if something is in man's essence, then the act of 'bringing something about' seems rather odd.
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#80243 - 02/23/05 08:23 AM Re: LaVey and Spinoza [Re: lastlament]
reprobate Offline

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Quote:

I have to admit I am not a Spinoza svholar, but if something is in man's essence, then the act of 'bringing something about' seems rather odd.


1: It is man's essence to bring things about (namely, to bring about the realizations of his desires -- "Desire is the essence of man", he says). This seems pretty straightforward to me.

2: "Essence" is not something static for Spinoza; it is the principle of composition or constitution (considered as processes or events). The essence of a circle is its encircling, its being drawn; the essence of man consists in our constantly being put together by nature, our constant engagement with the world -- our constant bringing-about of events or occasions with ourselves (our bodies) as their focus, in accordance with the desires we have because of how we are put together by nature at this moment.

There's a very specific philosophical reason for Spinoza to understand 'essence' in this way: Spinoza begins with a total rejection of anything otherworldly, including Platonic forms, which is normally how we understand 'essence': ie., as something that transcends and governs the temporal "appearance" of something. There is nothing transcendent in Spinoza's philosophy; 'essence' is used to describe something immanent to this world. It's a consequence of having an absolutely secular, life-oriented philosophy.

I'm not going to say it's not an "odd" view -- that is, radically different from a lot of the things we take for granted. What visionary idea isn't odd until you come to see it from the inside perspective?
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#80244 - 02/23/05 10:04 AM Re: LaVey and Spinoza [Re: reprobate]
hannibal Offline


Registered: 02/15/05
Posts: 66
Loc: NJ
Reprobate...I may be showing my ignorance of philosophy, but I will chance it. It seems that Spnoza's definition of virtue is existential. I say that because it is not static, or a "thing", but found in interactions...a process.

Am I way off base if I ask if this isn't related to LaVey's take on magic?
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#80245 - 02/23/05 10:41 AM Re: LaVey and Spinoza [Re: hannibal]
reprobate Offline

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No, I don't think that's off-base, especially if we're talking about Lesser Magic. But still, that's only part of it. Virtue, for Spinoza, means making yourself (your body and your mind) fit to experience many pleasures, and realize many goals. Using what you've got, and developing it. The direction you take this, in your own life, is up to you. It can be social (ie., Lesser Magic); it can be intellectual, or physical, or all of these.

(I definitely have a Spinozist understanding of Greater Magic, too, but Spinoza wasn't interested in occult stuff, so we wouldn't really be talking about Spinoza anymore if we started talking about that!)
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#80246 - 02/23/05 10:47 AM Re: LaVey and Spinoza [Re: hannibal]
Svengali Offline
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“Virtue” is from the Latin “virtu” which was the Roman translation of the Greek “arête.”

The Greco-Roman conception of “virtue” was along the lines of being potent and effective, including cunning, daring, and violent in war.

Achilles exemplified “arête.”

Someone (probably Nietzsche) once pointed out how inverted it is that a word which originally referred to the “manliness” of men came to refer to the chastity of women.

I’m sure Spinoza knew his Greeks and Romans, as did all educated people of his time.
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#80247 - 02/23/05 10:50 AM Re: LaVey and Spinoza [Re: reprobate]
hannibal Offline


Registered: 02/15/05
Posts: 66
Loc: NJ
It almost sounds as if Spinoza is saying that virtue is an act of actualizing. I get an image of a plant, here. The plant becomes what it is by growing...a natural process. Our natures dictate what we desire. Virtue would be to develop our potential. Sheesh...I'm starting to sound like a self-help book!
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#80248 - 02/23/05 11:03 AM Re: LaVey and Spinoza [Re: Svengali]
hannibal Offline


Registered: 02/15/05
Posts: 66
Loc: NJ
Thank you for that definition, Svengali. It sounds a lot like the second Satanic Statement: "Satan represents vital existence,..."
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#80249 - 02/23/05 11:19 AM Re: LaVey and Spinoza [Re: Svengali]
reprobate Offline

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Registered: 06/05/02
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Yes, absolutely!

Machiavelli used the word 'virtu' in a similar way.
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#80250 - 02/23/05 11:21 AM Re: LaVey and Spinoza [Re: hannibal]
reprobate Offline

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Registered: 06/05/02
Posts: 7140
Loc: Canada
Quote:

Sheesh...I'm starting to sound like a self-help book!


Ethics is the original "self-help"!
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