I am currently enrolled in a medical neuroscience course through Coursera, which will help me in my effort to parse Antonio Damasio's Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain. A reviewer, I don't remember who, said that Damasio blends anecdote with technical ideas that only a few will understand. Some of you may know that my focus as a personal trainer was on neurology (through Z-Health), but this education, as well as that I received through NASM, was rather shallow, in that it did not delve deep into the parts of the human psyche I personally find most interesting.
Plato begins his Republic (Πολιτεία) with the word κατέβην (katebēn - I went down), from the root "καταβαίνω," (katabainō) which simply means to descend. Maybe Plato merely wished to suggest that Socrates had walked down from one place to another, as the word was commonly used. However, the word could also signify a descent into Hades, the underworld, like those made by Odysseus, Aeneas, and the Pilgrim in Dante's Divine Comedy. Nietzsche, classicist, has his Zarathustra say to the sun, "Ich muss, gleich dir, untergehen." I must, like you, set. Or, I must, like you, descend.
It is Hades who kidnaps Persephone in order to make her his wife, though the marriage is only sealed when Persephone accepts the gifts of the underworld in the form of pomegranate seeds, a symbol of wisdom in Hebrew mythology. There is a like element of death in Spinoza's project, similar to the mythological heroes of Ancient Greece and Italy. Like the death of Odysseus, Aeneas, the Pilgrim, et al., Spinoza's Untergang (the word can actually mean "death") is less a death than it is a birth, which liberates him from the impermanent world of human sense, such that the spirit locates itself both within this world as well as among eternity.
The striking feature about all of these statements of to walk down, to go under, which recur at startling frequency even among those who have not read the aforementioned authors, is that they appertain to the mind. It can certainly be doubted that the brain is the central feature of "the mind," but it seems that major philosophers like Descartes recognized that to understand the brain was key. Spinoza took this notion a step further, went down to the purest truth he could find about God, all but free of the corrosion of the fear-of-what-will-come-if-I-should-say X, and opened up to an infant awakeness. In a word, Spinoza was only in want of what is now known as neuroscience. Thus, my interest in Damasio, up on whose work I shall follow in not too long.
PROP. XV. Who clearly and distinctly understands himself and his emotions loves God, and more so, the more understands himself and his emotions.
PROP. XVI. This love towards God must hold the chief place in the mind.
PROP. XVII. God is without passions, neither is he affected by any emotion of pleasure or pain.
Proof.—All ideas, in so far as they are referred to God, are true (II. xxxii.), that is (II. Def. iv.) adequate; and therefore (by the general Def. of the Emotions) God is without passions. Again, God cannot pass either to a greater or to a lesser perfection (I. xx. Coroll. ii.); therefore (by Def. of the Emotions, ii. iii.) he is not affected by any emotion of pleasure or pain.
Corollary.—Strictly speaking, God does not love or hate anyone. For God (by the foregoing Prop.) is not affected by any emotion of pleasure or pain, consequently (Def. of the Emotions, vi. vii.) he does not love or hate anyone.
PROP. XVIII. No one can hate God.
Proof.—The idea of God which is in us is adequate and perfect (II. xlvi. xlvii.); wherefore, in so far as we contemplate God, we are active (III. iii.); consequently (III. lix.) there can be no pain accompanied by the idea of God, in other words (Def. of the Emotions, vii.), no one can hate God. Q.E.D.
Corollary.—Love for God cannot be turned into hate.
Note.—It may be objected that, as we understand God as the cause of all things, we by that very fact regard God as the cause of pain. But I make answer, that, in so far as we understand the causes of pain, it to that extent (V. iii.) ceases to be a passion, that is, it ceases to be pain (III. lix.); therefore, in so far as we understand God to be the cause of pain, we to that extent feel pleasure.
PROP. XIX. He, who loves God, cannot endeavor that God should love him in return.
Proof.—For, if a man should so endeavor, he would desire (V. xvii. Coroll.) that God, whom he loves, should not be God, and consequently he would desire to feel pain (III. xix.); which is absurd (III. xxviii.). Therefore, he who loves God, &c. Q.E.D.
PROPOSITIO XV. Qui se, suosque affectus clare, & distincte intelligit, Deum amat, & eo magis, quo se, suosque affectus magis intelligit.
PROPOSITIO XVI. Hic erga Deum Amor Mentem maxime occupare debet.
PROPOSITIO XVII. Deus expers est passionum, nec ullo Lætitiæ, aut Tristitiæ affectu afficitur.
Demonstratio. Ideæ omnes, quatenus ad Deum referuntur, veræ sunt (per Prop. 32 p. 2), hoc est (per Defin. 4 p. 2), adæquatæ; atque adeo (per gen. Affect. Defin.) Deus expers est passionum. Deinde Deus neque ad majorem, neque ad minorem perfectionem transire potest (per Coroll. 2 Prop. 20 p. 1); adeoque (per Defin. 2 & 3 Affect.) nullo Lætitiæ, neque Tristitiæ affectu afficitur. Q.E.D.
Corollarium. Deus proprie loquendo neminem amat, neque odio habet. Nam Deus (per Prop. præced.) nullo Lætitiæ, neque Tristitiæ affectu afficitur, & consequenter (per Defin. 6 & 7 Affect.) neminem etiam amat, neque odio habet.
PROP. XVIII. Nemo potest Deum odio habere.
Demonstratio. Idea Dei, quæ in nobis est, est adæquata, & perfecta (per Prop. 46 & 47 p. 2); adeoque quatenus Deum contemplamur, eatenus agimus (per Prop. 3 p. 3), & consequenter (per Prop. 59 p. 3) nulla potest dari Tristitia concomitante idea Dei, hoc est, (per Defin. 7 Affect.) nemo Deum odio habere potest. Q.E.D.
Corollarium. Amor erga Deum in odium verti nequit.
Scholium. At objici potest, quod dum Deum omnium rerum causam intelligimus, eo ipso Deum Tristitiæ causam consideramus. Sed ad hoc respondeo, quod quatenus Tristitiæ causas intelligimus, eatenus (per Prop. 3 hujus) ipsa desinit esse passio, hoc est (per Prop. 59 p. 3), eatenus desinit esse Tristitia; atque adeo, quatenus Deum Tristitiæ causam esse intelligimus, eatenus lætamur.
PROPOSITIO XIX. Qui Deum amat, conari non potest, ut Deus ipsum contra amet.
Demonstratio. Si homo id conaretur, cuperet ergo (per Coroll. Prop. 17 hujus), ut Deus, quem amat, non esset Deus, & consequenter (per Prop. 19 p. 3), contristari cuperet, quod (per Prop. 28 p. 3) est absurdum. Ergo, qui Deum amat, &c. Q.E.D.
I would like to invoke Wittgenstein here-- "The world is everything that is the case." This definition seems identical to Spinoza's conception of God. Spinoza points out that a person who uses reason must necessarily love God. This was difficult for me to intellectualize at first, but he roots this love for God in knowledge of the self, accompanied by the idea of the self-causing thing. Spinoza's katabasis involves a shedding of the false ego, underneath which he thinks is the true self in its infinite lovable-ness. This true self, cogitans et extensa (thinking and extended), loves God more the more that it is true, possessed by adequate ideas, understands clearly and distinctly. That is, an egoification of logos or human sense-making, especially rooted in some relationship with the world or the case that is not eternal is a passive action of the mind, a passion, rooted in falsity. It follows, then, that a person who knows God must at all times be capable of replacing any passion with this love for God by the power of the intellect.
PROPOSITIO XX. Hic erga Deum Amor, neque Invidiæ, neque Zelotypiæ affectu inquinari potest; sed eo magis fovetur, quo plures homines eodem Amoris vinculo cum Deo junctos imaginamur.
Scholium. Possumus hoc eodem modo ostendere, nullum dari affectum, qui huic Amori directe sit contrarius, a quo hic ipse Amor possit destrui; atque adeo concludere possumus, hunc erga Deum Amorem omnium affectuum esse constantissimum, nec, quatenus ad Corpus refertur, posse destrui, nisi cum ipso Corpore. Cujus autem naturæ sit, quatenus ad solam Mentem refertur, postea videbimus.
Atque his omnia affectuum remedia, sive id omne, quod Mens, in se sola considerata, adversus affectus potest, comprehendi; ex quibus apparet, Mentis in affectus potentiam consistere:
Iº. In ipsa affectuum cognitione (vide Schol. Prop. 4 hujus).
IIº. In eo, quod affectus a cogitatione causæ externæ, quam confuse imaginamur, separat (vide Prop. 2 cum eodem Schol. Prop. 4 hujus).
IIIº. In tempore, quo affectiones, quæ ad res, quas intelligimus, referuntur, illas superant, quæ ad res referuntur, quas confuse, seu mutilate concipimus (vide Prop. 7 hujus).
IVº. In multitudine causarum, a quibus affectiones, quæ ad rerum communes proprietates, vel ad Deum referuntur, foventur (vide Prop. 9 & 11 hujus).
Vº. Denique in ordine, quo Mens suos affectus ordinare, & invicem concatenare potest (vide Schol. Prop. 10 & insuper Prop. 12, 13 & 14 hujus).
Sed ut hæc Mentis in affectus potentia melius intelligatur, venit apprime notandum, quod affectus a nobis magni appellantur, quando unius hominis affectum cum affectu alterius comparamus, & unum magis, quam alium eodem affectu conflictari videmus; vel quando unius, ejusdemque hominis affectus ad invicem comparamus, eundemque uno affectu magis, quam alio affici, sive moveri comperimus: Nam (per Prop. 5 p. 4) vis cujuscunque affectus definitur potentia causæ externæ cum nostra comparata. At Mentis potentia sola cognitione definitur; impotentia autem, seu passio a sola cognitionis privatione, hoc est, ab eo, per quod ideæ dicuntur inadæquatæ, æstimatur; ex quo sequitur, Mentem illam maxime pati, cujus maximam partem ideæ inadæquatæ constituunt, ita ut magis per id, quod patitur, quam per id, quod agit, dignoscatur; & illam contra maxime agere, cujus maximam partem ideæ adæquatæ constituunt, ita ut, quamvis huic tot inadæquatæ ideæ, quam illi insint, magis tamen per illas, quæ humanæ virtuti tribuuntur, quam per has, quæ humanam impotentiam arguunt, dignoscatur. Deinde notandum, animi ægritudines, & infortunia potissimum originem trahere ex nimio Amore erga rem, quæ multis variationibus est obnoxia, & cujus nunquam compotes esse possumus. Nam nemo de re ulla, nisi quam amat, sollicitus, anxiusve est, neque injuriæ, suspiciones, inimicitiæ, &c. oriuntur, nisi ex Amore erga res, quarum nemo potest revera esse compos.
Ex his itaque facile concipimus, quid clara, & distincta cognitio, & præcipue tertium illud cognitionis genus (de quo vide Schol. Prop. 47 p. 2), cujus fundamentum est ipsa Dei cognitio, in affectus potest, quos nempe, quatenus passiones sunt, si non absolute tollit (vide Prop. 3 cum Schol. Prop. 4 hujus), saltem efficit, ut minimam Mentis partem constituant (vide Prop. 14 hujus). Deinde Amorem gignit erga rem immutabilem, & æternam (vide Prop.15 hujus), & cujus revera sumus compotes (vide Prop. 45 p. 2), & qui propterea nullis vitiis, quæ in communi Amore insunt, inquinari, sed semper major, ac major esse potest (per Prop. 15 hujus), & Mentis maximam partem occupare (per Prop. 16 hujus), lateque afficere.
Atque his omnia, quæ præsentem hanc vitam spectant, absolvi. Nam quod in hujus Scholii principio dixi, me his paucis omnia affectuum remedia amplexum esse, facile poterit unusquisque videre, qui ad hæc, quæ in hoc Scholio diximus, & simul ad Mentis, ejusque affectuum definitiones, & denique ad Propositiones 1 & 3 Partis 3 attenderit. Tempus igitur jam est, ut ad illa transeam, quæ ad Mentis durationem sine relatione ad Corpus pertinent.
PROP. XX. This love towards God cannot be stained by the emotion of envy or jealousy: contrariwise, it is more fostered the more we conceive a many men joined to God by the same bond of love.
Note.—We can in the same way show, that there is no emotion directly contrary to this love, whereby this love can be destroyed; therefore we may conclude, that this love towards God is the most constant of all the emotions, and that, in so far as it is referred to the body, it cannot be destroyed, unless the body be destroyed also. As to its nature, in so far as it is referred to the mind only, we shall presently inquire.
I have now gone through all the remedies against the emotions, or all that the mind, considered in itself alone, can do against them. Whence it appears that the mind's power over the emotions consists:—
I. In the actual knowledge of the emotions (V. iv. note).
II. In the fact that it separates the emotions from the thought of an external cause, which we conceive confusedly (V. ii. and V. iv. note).
III. In the fact, that, in respect to time, the emotions referred to things, which we distinctly understand, surpass those referred to what we conceive in a confused and fragmentary manner (V. vii.).
IV. In the number of causes whereby those modifications are fostered, which have regard to the common properties of things or to God (V.ix.xi.).
V. Lastly, in the order wherein the mind can arrange and associate, one with another, its own emotions (V. x. note and xii. xiii. xiv.).
But, in order that this power of the mind over the emotions may be better understood, it should be specially observed that the emotions are called by us strong, when we compare the emotion of one man with the emotion of another, and see that one man is more troubled than another by the same emotion; or when we are comparing the various emotions of the same man one with another, and find that he is more affected or stirred by one emotion than by another. For the strength of every emotion is defined by a comparison of our own power with the power of an external cause. Now the power of the mind is defined by knowledge only, and its infirmity or passion is defined by the privation of knowledge only: it therefore follows, that that mind is most passive, whose greatest part is made up of inadequate ideas, so that it may be characterized more readily by its passive states than by its activities: on the other hand, that mind is most active, whose greatest part is made up of adequate ideas, so that, although it may contain as many inadequate ideas as the former mind, it may yet be more easily characterized by ideas attributable to human virtue, than by ideas which tell of human infirmity. Again, it must be observed, that spiritual unhealthiness and misfortunes can generally be traced to excessive love for something which is subject to many variations, and which we can never become masters of. For no one is solicitous or anxious about anything, unless he loves it; neither do wrongs, suspicions, enmities, &c. arise, except in regard to things whereof no one can be really master.
We may thus readily conceive the power which clear and distinct knowledge, and especially that third kind of knowledge (II. xlvii. note), founded on the actual knowledge of God, possesses over the emotions: if it does not absolutely destroy them, in so far as they are passions (V. iii. and iv. note); at any rate, it causes them to occupy a very small part of the mind (V. xiv.). Further, it begets a love towards a thing immutable and eternal (V. xv.), whereof we may really enter into possession (II. xlv.); neither can it be defiled with those faults which are inherent in ordinary love; but it may grow from strength to strength, and may engross the greater part of the mind, and deeply penetrate it.
And now I have finished with all that concerns this present life: for, as I said in the beginning of this note, I have briefly described all the remedies against the emotions. And this everyone may readily have seen for himself, if he has attended to what is advanced in the present note, and also to the definitions of the mind and its emotions, and, lastly, to Propositions i. and iii. of Part III. It is now, therefore, time to pass on to those matters, which appertain to the duration of the mind, without relation to the body.
This point is Spinoza's take on the nucleus of human religion-- that kindness is infinitely better than hatred. When all see this, then envy cannot exist, because all love themselves sufficiently. Envy, then, is but a break in knowledge, which derives from a fragmentation of the relationship between the self and itself, only possible for a self that hates itself. He does not advise brotherly love out of sentimentality, but rather because the utility of it is the truest thing he knows.
PROPOSITIO XXI. Mens nihil imaginari potest, neque rerum præteritarum recordari, nisi durante Corpore.
PROPOSITIO XXII. In Deo tamen datur necessario idea, quæ hujus, & illius Corporis humani essentiam sub æternitatis specie exprimit.
Demonstratio. Deus non tantum est causa hujus, & illius Corporis humani existentiæ, sed etiam essentiæ (per Prop. 25 p. 1), quæ propterea per ipsam Dei essentiam necessario debet concipi (per Axiom. 4 p. 1), idque æterna quadam necessitate (per Prop. 16 p. 1), qui quidem conceptus necessario in Deo dari debet (per Prop. 3 p. 2). Q.E.D.
PROPOSITIO XXIII. Mens humana non potest cum Corpore absolute destrui; sed ejus aliquid remanet, quod æternum est.
Demonstratio. In Deo datur necessario conceptus, seu idea, quæ Corporis humani essentiam exprimit (per Prop. præced.), quæ propterea aliquid necessario est, quod ad essentiam Mentis humanæ pertinet (per Prop. 13 p. 2). Sed Menti humanæ nullam durationem, quæ tempore definiri potest, tribuimus, nisi quatenus Corporis actualem existentiam, quæ per durationem explicatur, & tempore definiri potest, exprimit, hoc est (per Coroll. Prop. 8 p. 2), ipsi durationem non tribuimus, nisi durante Corpore. Cum tamen aliquid nihilominus sit id, quod æterna quadam necessitate per ipsam Dei essentiam concipitur (per Prop. præced.), erit necessario hoc aliquid, quod ad Mentis essentiam pertinet, æternum. Q.E.D.
Scholium. Est, uti diximus, hæc idea, quæ Corporis essentiam sub specie æternitatis exprimit, certus cogitandi modus, qui ad Mentis essentiam pertinet; quique necessario æternus est. Nec tamen fieri potest, ut recordemur nos ante Corpus exstitisse, quandoquidem nec in corpore ulla ejus vestigia dari, ner æternitas tempore definiri, nec ullam ad tempus relationem habere potest. At nihilominus sentimus, experimurque, nos æternos esse. Nam Mens non minus res illas sentit, quas intelligendo concipit, quam quas in memoria habet. Mentis enim oculi, quibus res videt, observatque, sunt ipsæ demonstrationes. Quamvis itaque non recordemur nos ante Corpus exstitisse, sentimus tamen Mentem nostram, quatenus Corporis essentiam sub æternitatis specie involvit, æternam esse, & hanc ejus existentiam tempore definiri, sive per durationem explicari non posse. Mens igitur nostra eatenus tantum potest dici durare, ejusque existentia certo tempore definiri potest, quatenus actualem Corporis existentiam involvit, & eatenus tantum potentiam habet rerum existentiam tempore determinandi, easque sub duratione concipiendi.
PROPOSITIO XXIV. Quo magis res singulares intelligimus, eo magis Deum intelligimus.
PROPOSITIO XXV. Summus Mentis conatus, summaque virtus est res intelligere tertio cognitionis genere.
Demonstratio. Tertium cognitionis genus procedit ab adæquata idea quorumdam Dei attributorum ad adæquatam cognitionem essentiæ rerum (vide hujus Defin. in Schol. 2 Prop. 40 p. 2); & quo magis hoc modo res intelligimus, eo magis (per Prop. præced.) Deum intelligimus, ac proinde (per Prop. 28 p. 4) summa Mentis virtus, hoc est (per Defin. 8 p. 4), Mentis potentia, seu natura, sive (per Prop. 7 p. 3) summus conatus est res intelligere tertio cognitionis genere. Q.E.D.
PROP. XXI. The mind can imagine no thing, nor can it remember what is past, if the body does not endure.
PROP. XXII. Nevertheless in God there is necessarily an idea, which expresses the essence of this or that human body under the form of eternity.
Proof.—God is the cause, not only of the existence of this or that human body, but also of its essence (I. xxv.). This essence, therefore, must necessarily be conceived through the very essence of God (I. Ax. iv.), and be thus conceived by a certain eternal necessity (I. xvi.); and this conception must necessarily exist in God (II. iii.). Q.E.D.
PROP. XXIII. The human mind cannot be absolutely destroyed with the body, but there remains of it something which is eternal.
Proof.—There is necessarily in God a concept or idea, which expresses the essence of the human body (last Prop.), which, therefore, is necessarily something appertaining to the essence of the human mind (II. xiii.). But we have not assigned to the human mind any duration, definable by time, except in so far as it expresses the actual existence of the body, which is explained through duration, and may be defined by time-i.e., (II. viii. Coroll.), we do not assign to it duration, except while the body endures. Yet, as there is something, in spite, which is conceived by a certain eternal necessity through the very essence of God (last Prop.); this something, which appertains to the essence of the mind, will necessarily be eternal. Q.E.D.
Note.—This idea, which expresses the body's essence under the view of eternity, is, as we said, a certain mode of thinking, which belongs to the mind's essence, and is necessarily eternal. Yet it cannot be that we remember that we existed before our body, for our body can bear no trace of such existence, neither can eternity be defined by time, or have any relation to time. Still, we feel and know that we are eternal. For the mind feels those things that it conceives by understanding, no less than those things that it remembers. For the eyes of the mind, whereby it sees and observes things, are none other than proofs. Thus, although we do not remember that we existed before the body, yet we feel that our mind, in so far as it involves the essence of the body, under the form of eternity, is eternal, and that thus its existence cannot be defined in terms of time, or explained through duration. Thus our mind can only be said to endure, and its existence can only be defined by a fixed time, insofar as it involves the actual existence of the body. Thus far only has it the power of determining the existence of things by time, and conceiving them under the category of duration.
PROP. XXIV. The more we understand particular things, the more do we understand God.
PROP. XXV. The highest endeavor of the mind, and the highest virtue is to understand things by the third kind of knowledge.
Proof.—The third kind of knowledge proceeds from an adequate idea of certain attributes of God to an adequate knowledge of the essence of things (see its definition II. xl. note. ii.); and, in proportion as we understand things more in this way, we better understand God (by the last Prop.); therefore (IV. xxviii.) the highest virtue of the mind, that is IV. Def. viii.) the power, or nature, or (III. vii.) highest endeavour of the mind, is to understand things by the third kind of knowledge. Q.E.D.
In earlier chapters Spinoza has talked about this third kind of knowledge (tertium cognitionis genus), which "proceeds from an adequate idea of certain attributes of God to an adequate cognition of the essence of things." In proposition 25, he names the movement to understand things through this third kind of knowledge as the summa virtus-- the highest virtue. This ties in with propositions 21 - 23 in that, the truth about the human body, insofar as it consists of an idea of itself, is necessarily bound with eternity. This does not mean that an individual human body is eternal, but refers more to the miracle of survival and resurgence, transcendence of this body, this suffering, this struggle, which so many religions-- Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, et alii-- centralize and essentialize.
PROP. XXVI. The more capable is the mind to grasp things by the third kind of knowledge, the more it desires to understand things by that kind.
PROP. XXVII. From this third kind of knowledge, which can exist, arises the highest possible mental acquiescence.
PROP. XXVIII. The endeavor or desire to know things by the third kind of knowledge cannot arise from the first, but from the second kind of knowledge.
Proof.—This proposition is self-evident. For whatsoever we understand clearly and distinctly, we understand either through itself, or through that which is conceived through itself; that is, ideas which are clear and distinct in us, or which are referred to the third kind of knowledge (II. xl. note. ii.) cannot follow from ideas that are fragmentary and confused, and are referred to knowledge of the first kind, but must follow from adequate ideas, or ideas of the second and third kind of knowledge; therefore (Def. of the Em, i.), the desire of knowing things by the third kind of knowledge cannot arise from the first, but from the second kind. Q.E.D.
PROPOSITIO XXVI. Quo Mens aptior est ad res tertio cognitionis genere intelligendum, eo magis cupit, res eodem hoc cognitionis genere intelligere.
PROPOSITIO XXVII. Ex hoc tertio cognitionis genere summa, quæ dari potest, Mentis acquiescentia oritur.
PROPOSITIO XXVIII. Conatus, seu Cupiditas cognoscendi res tertio cognitionis genere, oriri non potest ex primo; at quidem ex secundo cognitionis genere.
Demonstratio. Hæc Propositio per se patet. Nam quicquid clare, & distincte intelligimus, id vel per se, vel per aliud, quod per se concipitur, intelligimus, hoc est, ideæ, quæ in nobis claræ, & distinctæ sunt, sive quæ ad tertium cognitionis genus referuntur (vide Schol. 2 Prop. 40 p. 2), non possunt sequi ex ideis mutilatis, & confusis, quæ (per idem Schol.) ad primum cognitionis genus referuntur, sed ex ideis adæquatis, sive (per idem Schol.) ex secundo, & tertio cognitionis genere; ac proinde (per Defin. 1 Affect.) Cupiditas cognoscendi res tertio cognitionis genere non potest oriri ex primo, at quidem ex secundo. Q.E.D.
The third kind of knowledge is not the second kind of knowledge (scientific knowledge), but an intuitive grasping of the essence or nature of things, which arises from scientific knowledge. Other philosophers limit human knowledge to the first two or blend two and three, which is understandable, because what is meant by this intuitive grasping of essences through the knowledge of God is rather abstruse. At the same time, many people have had seemingly epiphanic moments, perhaps in the mode of a scientific discovery that exceeds the level of what one can scientifically know, and comes really from experience plus the mind working on its own, which have left us awestruck. It seems that great discoveries and great blunders can both arise from this third kind of knowledge, since there is no method by which one can verify assertions it can make. In any case, Spinoza's third kind of knowledge is grounded in scientific knowledge. That is, without experience, the third kind of knowledge is not possible. He also adds that, once a person has tasted of the third kind of knowledge, they will desire to understand more of the world thereby.
Louis Santoro is an author, teacher, philosopher, and philologist who currently resides in Los Gatos, California and studies philosophy at San Francisco State University.