Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Baruch Spinoza

1632 – 1677 CE

One of the most important, radical, and influential philosophers in the modern era, Spinoza established a strong foundation for democratic political thought, the 18th-century Enlightenment, and a view beyond sectarian religion. Known as ”the prince of philosophers” and one of our greatest thinkers, Spinoza was born Jewish but was excommunicated at an early age. Criticized and ridiculed during his life, he was an important inspiration for Karl Marx, Nietzsche, Goethe, Santayana, Borges, and the deep ecology movement. Albert Einstein said Spinoza was the biggest influence on his world view and Will Durant called him his "favorite philosopher."


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Quotes by Baruch Spinoza (17 quotes)

“All laws which can be violated without doing any one any injury are laughed at. Nay, so far are they from doing anything to control the desires and passions of men that, on the contrary, they direct and incite men's thoughts the more toward those very objects, for we always strive toward what is forbidden and desire the things we are not allowed to have. And men of leisure are never deficient in the ingenuity needed to enable them to outwit laws framed to regulate things which cannot be entirely forbidden... He who tries to determine everything by law will foment crime rather than lessen it.”

Chapters: 53. Shameless Thieves

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“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.”

Chapters: 18. The Sick Society

Themes: Truth Conformity

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“Men are mistaken in thinking themselves free; their opinion is made up of consciousness of their own actions, and ignorance of the causes by which they are determined.”

Chapters: 38. Fruit Over Flowers

Themes: Opinion

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“No matter how thin you slice it, there will always be two sides.”

Chapters: 42. Children of the Way

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“Peace is not the absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition of benevolence, confidence, justice.”

Chapters: 30. No War

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“Pride is pleasure arising from a man's thinking too highly of himself.”

Chapters: 67. Three Treasures

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“The more clearly you understand yourself and your emotions, the more you become a lover of what is.”

Chapters: 33. Know Yourself

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“The more you struggle to live, the less you live. Give up the notion that you must be sure of what you are doing. Instead, surrender to what is real within you, for that alone is sure... you are above everything distressing.”

Chapters: 59. The Gardening of Spirit

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“The supreme mystery of despotism, its prop and stay, is to keep men in a state of deception, and with the specious title of religion to cloak the fear by which they must be held in check, so that they will fight for their servitude as if for salvation.”

Chapters: 71. Sick of Sickness

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“Those who know the true use of money, and regulate the measure of wealth according to their needs, live contented with few things.”

Chapters: 67. Three Treasures

Themes: Money Wealth

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“The more we know of particular things, the more we know of God.”

Themes: God Paradox

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“Those who are governed by reason desire nothing for themselves which they do not also desire for the rest of mankind.”

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“In a natural state, there is nothing which can be called just or unjust, only in a civil state”

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“When a man is prey to his emotions, he is not his own master.”

Themes: Control

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“Desire is the very essence of man.”

Themes: Desire Carpe diem

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“A person's rights are equivalent to his power.”

from Ethics

Themes: Power

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“Reality is one substance with everywhere two (among many) attributes or aspects—material extension and spaceless truth. We are among those parts of reality that can perceive”

Themes: Reality

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Quotes about Baruch Spinoza (3 quotes)

“The "gentle philosopher," Spinoza, polisher of lenses and God-intoxicated man; silent devotee of lonely speculation, and formulator of the metaphysics of modern science; lover of mechanics and geometry, martyr to philosophy... He belongs to the islanded aristocracy of thought, and the world has not mounted to him yet.”

Will Durant 1885 – 1981 CE
Philosophy apostle and popularizer of history's lessons
from Greatest Minds and Ideas of All Time, 1968

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“My atheism, like that of Spinoza, is true piety towards the universe and denies only gods fashioned by men in their own image, to be servants of their human interests.”

Santayana, George 1863 – 1952 CE
(Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás)
Powerfully influential, true-to-himself philosopher/poet

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“While Moses forbids 'graven images' of Him whose name is not to be taken in vain, Spinoza goes farther. He clearly infers that God must not be so much as described. Human language is totally unfit... Every attempt to the contrary leads a nation to anthropomorphize the deity in whom it believes”

Blavatsky, Helena Еле́на Петро́вна Блава́тская 1831 – 1891 CE
Co-founder of Theosophy
from Isis Unveiled

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