Benedict De Spinoza (1632-1671)

“The highest activity a human being can attain is learning for understanding, because to understand is to be free.”

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

“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.”

“Do not weep. Do not wax indignant. Understand.”

“If you want the present to be different from the past, study the past.”

“There is no hope unmingled with fear, and no fear unmingled with hope.”

“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.”

“Everything excellent is as difficult as it is rare.”

“The greatest secret of monarchic rule…is to keep men deceived and to cloak in the specious name of religion the fear by which they must be checked, so that they will fight for slavery as they would for salvation, and will think it not shameful, but a most honorable achievement, to give their life and blood that one man may have a ground for boasting.”

“I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand them.”

“I do not know how to teach philosophy without becoming a disturber of established religion.”

“In so far as the mind sees things in their eternal aspect, it participates in eternity.”

“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.”

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

“No to laugh, not to lament, not to detest, but to understand.”

“but everything great is just as difficult to realize as it is rare to find”

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

“All things excellent are as difficult as they are rare.”

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

“Peace is not the absence of war, but a virtue based on strength of character.”

“The endeavor to understand is the first and only basis of virtue.”

“Hatred is increased by being reciprocated, and can on the other hand be destroyed by love. Hatred which is completely vanquished by love, passes into love; and love is thereupon greater, than id hatred had not preceded it. ”

“All things excellent are as difficult as they are rare.”

“There can be no hope without fear, and no fear without hope.”

“None are more taken in by flattery than the proud, who wish to be the first and are not.”

“G-d is the indwelling and not the transient cause of all things.”

“I should attempt to treat human vice and folly geometrically… the passions of hatred, anger, envy, and so on, considered in themselves, follow from the necessity and efficacy of nature… I shall, therefore, treat the nature and strength of the emotion in exactly the same manner, as though I were concerned with lines, planes, and solids.”

“Better that right counsels be known to enemies than that the evil secrets of tyrants should be concealed from the citizens. They who can treat secretly of the affairs of a nation have it absolutely under their authority; and as they plot against the enemy in time of war, so do they against the citizens in time of peace.”

“Since love of God is the highest felicity and happiness of man, his final end and the aim of all his actions, it follows that he alone observes the divine law who is concerned to love God not from fear of punishment nor love of something else, such as pleasure, fame, ect., but from the single fact that he knows God, or that he knows that the knowledge and love of God is the highest good”

“Things which are accidentally the causes either of hope or fear are called good or evil omens.”

“These are the prejudices which I undertook to notice here. If any others of a similar character remain, they can easily be rectified with a little thought by anyone.”

“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.”

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