24 November 1632|
Amsterdam, Dutch Republic
|Died||21 February 1677
The Hague, Dutch Republic
|Education||Talmud Torah of Amsterdam
|Alma mater||University of Leiden
|School||Rationalism, founder of Spinozism|
|Ethics, epistemology, metaphysics, Hebrew grammar|
|Pantheism, determinism, neutral monism, parallelism, intellectual and religious freedom, separation of church and state, criticism of Mosaic authorship of some books of the Hebrew Bible, political society as derived from power (not contract), affect, natura naturans/natura naturata|
If men were born free, they would, so long as they remained free, form no conception of good and evil.
The highest activity a human being can attain is learning for understanding, because to understand is to be free.
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.
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.
Men govern nothing with more difficulty than their tongues, and can moderate their desires more than their words.
Only that thing is free which exists by the necessities of its own nature, and is determined in its actions by itself alone.
He alone is free who lives with free consent under the entire guidance of reason.
The world would be happier if men had the same capacity to be silent that they have to speak.
Those who are believed to be most abject and humble are usually most ambitious and envious.
All happiness or unhappiness solely depends upon the quality of the object to which we are attached by love.
Fame has also this great drawback, that if we pursue it, we must direct our lives so as to please the fancy of men.
Peace is not an absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice.
I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand them.
Whatsoever is contrary to nature is contrary to reason, and whatsoever is contrary to reason is absurd.
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.
I do not know how to teach philosophy without becoming a disturber of established religion.
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.
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.
None are more taken in by flattery than the proud, who wish to be the first and are not.
Freedom is absolutely necessary for the progress in science and the liberal arts.
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.
I have striven not to laugh at human actions, not to weep at them, nor to hate them, but to understand them.
The greatest pride, or the greatest despondency, is the greatest ignorance of one's self.
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.
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.
Peace is not the absence of war, but a virtue based on strength of character.
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.