humata, hukhta, huvarshta. a few thoughts regarding our first week.
1- i suggested seeing Brahman as Spinoza's God, i.e., God-as-the-universe, a Godverse.
Spinoza is referred to as a pantheist, but let's be clear. what's important here is the idea of an immanent (and some say transcendent)* God, which elicits a couple of questions:
(a) does the whole universe = God? (b) or is the universe in God?
(a) and (b) are different. (b) means panentheism. (a) means "all is God." (i refer you to my simile of the cell in my liver saying "i'm Triff" (ok, but it stretches it a bit).
it's difficult to be a pantheist and not a monist (the idea being that all can be explained in or reduced to one substance the ONE). is hinduism a monism? well, it definitely has a monistic gene.
Brahman is presented as a trimurti: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. this is not like the christian trinity. this is more a S-B-V a balance of forces: B (creator), S (destroyer), V (worker, vish means "to work" ). Vishnu is a sort of guardian, gatekeeper, a sustainer.
now given this structure let's speculate: does hinduism suggest there is more order than chaos in the universe?
2- is Spinoza's Godverse self-conscious? The answer is not that simple. I side for "no". But that is not a demotion at all. Take into account that (a) Spinoza doesn't share Descartes' mind/body dualism.
(b) Consciousness for Spinoza is not generic. Not because one thinks one has consciousness.
(c) self-consciousness implies self-positing. If Godverse is infinite, that self-positing presents an obvious tension, i.e., it constrains Godverse's infiniteness.
3- Is Spinoza's Godverse FREE? methinks not. this conclusion demands a clarification.
Spinoza's Godverse is the cause of all things because all things follow causally and necessarily from ITS divine nature.
all things have necessarily flowed, or always followed, by the same necessity and in the same way as from the nature of a triangle it follows, from eternity and to eternity, that its three angles are equal to two right angles (Ip17s1).the universe's existence is absolutely necessary. that is to say, it's impossible that God should exist & not the universe (thus, the Godverse). This does not mean that God does not cause ("cause" is better than "create" here) the universe to come into being freely, since nothing outside of God constrains him to bring it into existence.
at the same time, God could not have done otherwise. there are no possible alternatives to the actual universe, and absolutely no contingency or spontaneity within that universe.
everything is absolutely and necessarily determined:
(Ip29): In nature there is nothing contingent, but all things have been determined from the necessity of the divine nature to exist and produce an effect in a certain way.and this one:
(Ip33): Things could have been produced by God in no other way, and in no other order than they have been produced.Here is another determinist Spinozist morsel:
(...) the infant believes that it is by free will that it seeks the breast; the angry boy believes that by free will he wishes vengeance; the timid man thinks it is with free will he seeks flight; the drunkard believes that by a free command of his mind he speaks the things which when sober he wishes he had left unsaid. ... All believe that they speak by a free command of the mind, whilst, in truth, they have no power to restrain the impulse which they have to speak (...)4- we got a discussion going on the subject of Hinduism on the subject of moksha or liberation. the word "confusion" mistakenly standing for the moksha link (i suggested for a reason) i was put on the spot. then, i explained the mistake in terms of a problematics of the idea of salvation through the interpretation of the patanjali sutras. i hinted that salvation can be a double edge sword. the topic elicited a spirited discussion (by the way, in theology, the field dealing with salvation is known as soteriology. we'll be talking about it in more detail).
what are your thoughts? (i prefer if you have your comments posted by tuesday next week. remember:150 words minimum)
NOTA BENE: veronica approached me at the end of the class and asked me to structure more our discussions so that your observations take place after we've had time to present the lecture, sources, etc. i agree. so, next class, the order is: 1- lecture first, then 2- we read and then 3- we get the discussion going. now, that doesn't mean you have to be enforceably silent. if you have a question (not a point) let's address it, f it is a longer point let's wait a bit. in general that has always been the model, only that this is a more precocious class :)
*transcendent & immanent come together in the scholastic definition of God. transcendent means above and beyond, for example, if God exists above and beyond the universe, God is transcendent. immanent means "remaining within", "inherent". judeo-christian theology has God as "present" throughout the universe. so God is both transcendent and immanent.now, thisview is not without metaphysical problems. this is not the place to explore that.