Baruch Spinoza (November 24, 1632–February 21, 1677), born in Amsterdam, was a Portuguese-Jewish philosopher and one of the foremost thinkers of the Enlightenment. He is known as one of the most original and radical philosophers of the seventeenth century.

Below we list some words of wisdom from Baruch Spinoza.

“The most tyrannical of governments are those which make crimes of opinions, for everyone has an inalienable right to his thoughts.”

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

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

“The highest endeavor of the mind, and the highest virtue, it to understand things by intuition.”

“To know the order of nature, and regard the universe as orderly is the highest function of the mind.”

“Men believe themselves to be free, simply because they are conscious of their actions, and unconscious of the causes whereby those actions are determined.”

“What Paul says about Peter tells us more about Paul than about Peter.”

“Nothing in nature is by chance. Something appears to be chance only because of our lack of knowledge.”

“The holy word of God is on everyone's lips...but...we see almost everyone presenting their own versions of God's word, with the sole purpose of using religion as a pretext for making others think as they do.”

“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.”

“Desire nothing for yourself, which you do not desire for others.”

“God is not He who is, but That which is.”

“He who seeks equality between unequals seeks an absurdity.”

“The ultimate aim of government is not to rule, or restrain by fear, nor to exact obedience, but to free every man from fear that he may live in all possible security... In fact the true aim of government is liberty.”

“Laws which prescribe what everyone must believe, and forbid men to say or write anything against this or that opinion, are often passed to gratify, or rather to appease the anger of those who cannot abide independent minds.”

“Laws which can be broken without any wrong to one's neighbor are a laughing-stock; and such laws, instead of restraining the appetites and lusts of mankind, serve rather to heighten them. Nitimur in vetitum semper, cupimusque negata [we always resist prohibitions, and yearn for what is denied us].”

“Academies that are founded at public expense are instituted not so much to cultivate men's natural abilities as to restrain them.”

“He who regulates everything by laws, is more likely to arouse vices than reform them.”

“God is the indwelling and not the transient cause of all things.”

“The eternal wisdom of God has shown itself forth in all things, but chiefly in the mind of man, and most of all in Jesus Christ.”

“He whose honor depends on the opinion of the mob must day by day strive with the greatest anxiety, act and scheme in order to retain his reputation. For the mob is varied and inconsistent, and therefore if a reputation is not carefully preserved it dies quickly.”

“Surely human affairs would be far happier if the power in men to be silent were the same as that to speak. But experience more than sufficiently teaches that men govern nothing with more difficulty than their tongues.”

“Everything in nature is a cause from which there flows some effect.”

“After experience had taught me that all the usual surroundings of social life are vain and futile; seeing that none of the objects of my fears contained in themselves anything either good or bad, except in so far as the mind is affected by them, I finally resolved to inquire whether there might be some real good having power to communicate itself, which would affect the mind singly, to the exclusion of all else: whether, in fact, there might be anything of which the discovery and attainment would enable me to enjoy continuous, supreme, and unending happiness.”

“I believe that a triangle, if it could speak, would say that God is eminently triangular, and a circle that the divine nature is eminently circular; and thus would every one ascribe his own attributes to God.”

“Yet nature cannot be contravened, but preserves a fixed and immutable order.”

“We are a part of nature as a whole, whose order we follow.”

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