Spinoza’s Parallelist Systemics Situates the Mind in a Lay Universe
SPINOZA’S THEORY ON NATURE, SOCIETY, AND THE INDIVIDUAL A Project for Democracy
In the seventeenth century, there were many different kinds of republics in Europe, like the Swiss Confederation, the Italian republics (Venice and Florence), and the free citiesâ of the German empire. But Europe was mostly governed by kings and lords supported by the Catholic Church. Baruch de Spinoza (1632-1677) grew up in the Republic of the United Provinces (The Netherlands). Like the Swiss Confederation, the Netherlands were formed while getting rid of the Habsburgs. However, this time, it was the Spanish Catholic Habsburgs that were chased away by the Flemish Protestants. Certain movements within this republic had hoped to distribute the power to a greater number of citizens. They wanted to form a democracy in the image of the Athenian republic at the time of Pericles. They held power from 1653 to 1672. They installed Johan de Witt as the Grand Pensionary of Holland.
Spinoza felt this project needed the support of an appropriate global vision of the world. He decided to elaborate a proposition in that direction. He detailed his new vision of the place of humans in nature in his Ethics and in A Political Treatise, published the year of his death, 1677. These works are evidently a response to Plato’s Republic. They attempt to demonstrate that a democracy is a regime that conforms to nature’s functioning, and consequently is more creative than an enlightened tyranny that served as the model for most of the nobility, kings, and emperors of the Europe of his day, and even in most of the former republics.
Spinoza Takes Us from a Universe Created by Superior Forces to a World that Spontaneously Organizes Itself That eternal and infinite being we call God or nature, acts from the same necessity from which he exists. (Spinoza, 1677a, Ethics IV, preface, 11/207, p. 114)