Ethics is a towering work by an absolute genius, a mathematical definitive explanation of God, the universe and mans place in it. Read it not because you think you must fight through `great philosophy, but for its beautiful symmetry of ground breaking rational thought. I eagerly recommend this work to anyone interested in exploring their thoughts on philosophy, religion and psychology. If anything, Ethics obtains renewed relevance in the post-modern 21st century and its unfolding events.
Imagine setting out as an objective to describe human existence and the journey to inner freedom. To accomplishment that feat, we must first begin with God and the universe, then work our way through nature, religion, society, science, and evolution until we can frame the essence of man. Imagine then that we wish to make sense of the human paradox of violence, hate, love and passion, fear and hope, and give it a framework through which to view the world and gain serenity and purpose.
Imagine further that we do not wish to merely write yet another philosophical or Eastern spiritual text. We wish to supersede and encompass all these earlier attempts, including current thinking on Judeo Christian practice. While doing so, we shall set our bar high. We will extrapolate these beliefs and universal relationships as a geometric treatise in the manner of a mathematical proof, with definitions, axioms and propositions, and so demonstrate the possibility of reducing philosophy and the pursuit of human fulfillment to a scientific exercise.
Now imagine that we shall set out on our metaphysical journey during the Inquisition, when espousals contrary to the Church result in execution. Imagine that our thoughts are so revolutionary that even the heretics (mainly Protestants) and evolving philosophers with whom we must find safe harbor view our thoughts with alarm. Imagine ourselves cut off from public discourse, excommunicated from family and friends. Lastly, imagine we are frail and suffer from ill health, our views necessarily rendering us relatively penniless and unknown, hiding in modest obscurity. Now dear reader, we are ready to begin our book on the meaning of life despite the fact that we will never publish it for fear of death.
Most great thinkers name `Ethics among their largest influences. Einstein espoused himself a Spinozan. It is certainly one of the most astounding and important books ever written.
His work changed my life. He not only filled in pieces of the puzzle I had missing, he rearranged them and gave them sense. I view almost all important constructs in life within his tautology. Please read Spinoza.
His astounding work is a testament to the blinding power of rational thought.