The delicate geometry of Spinoza

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Thank you to everyone who came along to the study session at BKY on Saturday 15 February. I’m not exaggerating when I write that for me it’s a real privilege to be able to discuss the ideas of Baruch Spinoza – a philosopher who both fascinates and bewilders me in equal measure ­– with a group of thoughtful and interested people. And I hope you feel you learned as much from the session as I did.

I am part way through writing up a summary of the session which I’ll post here in a day or two, so please check back.

Meanwhile, while you’re waiting, here’s some poetry by the Argentinian poet and writer, Jorge Luis Borges:

Baruch Spinoza

Like golden mist, the west lights up
The window. The diligent manuscript

Awaits, already laden with infinity.

Someone is building God in the twilight.

A man engenders God. He is a Jew

Of sad eyes and citrine skin.

Time carries him as the river carries

A leaf in the downstream water.

No matter. The enchanted one insists

And shapes God with delicate geometry.

Since his illness, since his birth,

He goes on constructing God with the word.

The mightiest love was granted him

Love that does not expect to be loved.

trans. Yirmiyahu Yovel

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One thought on “The delicate geometry of Spinoza

  1. Un brouillard d’or du Ponant illumine
    Une fenêtre, éclaire un manuscrit
    Où l’infini se trouve circonscrit.
    Un homme assemble Dieu dans sa chaumine.

    Un homme engendre Dieu, ayant la mine
    D’un Juif aux tristes yeux et au teint gris ;
    Le temps l’étreint comme un fleuve ayant pris
    La feuille qui aux faibles eaux chemine.

    Qu’importe ! Le chamane insiste, et configure
    Dieu, avec sa subtile architecture,
    Homme malade et ne pesant pas lourd,

    Il construit Dieu par sa propre parole.
    Le plus prodigue amour est son pactole :
    Il est l’amant qui ne veut point d’amour.

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