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On Spinoza's Doctrine

(a) Spinoza taught that God was the whole of things in the universe. This brought him into the category of Pantheist. Philosophy says this is true, but only part of the truth. For God is not only immanent in the universe but also transcends it. God still would be God even if there were no universe.

(b) He declared that the unknown reality was Substance. Philosophy says this is only an attribute of Reality and as such still not the ultimate itself, no more than the quality of fragrance is the flower itself.

(c) He believed in Causality as science did in the nineteenth century, and as all must do who do not comprehend the final truth that Reality is nondual, and hence leaves no room for the duality of a cause and an effect.

(d) Spinoza's pantheism made him declare that everything is God. This is the theological outlook. The philosophical one declares that everything is a manifestation of One Infinite Reality. For if the ego also is God, then who is God?

(e) Spinoza's teaching that God has two attributes, Mind and Matter, that reality has two aspects, mind and body, made him a dualist. Philosophy knows only one reality--Mind. It admits causality only for the immediate and practical purposes of the illusory world.

(f) His teaching on how to live so as to fulfil the proper purpose of life is identical with philosophy's teaching. He saw that man so far must become wholly free inwardly and as free as possible outwardly. This is to be achieved by self-mastery, by overcoming desires, subjugating passions, and simplifying existence. This brings true happiness.

-- Notebooks Category 20: What Is Philosophy? > Chapter 1: Toward Defining Philosophy > # 30

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