Summary of SPINOZA - Le libre-arbitre n'est-il qu'une illusion ? 📏

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Spinoza believes that free will is an illusion and that humans are determined by outside forces. He argues that this is what is meant by "ethics," which is a way of thinking about action that is directed towards achieving a goal. If humans didn't have the power to determine their actions, there would be no need for ethics.

  • 00:00:00 This video is about the philosopher and theologian, Baruch Spinoza. It covers his life, works, and controversial positions on religion.
  • 00:05:00 Spinoza believes that the body and mind are only two attributes of a single substance - God or nature. To understand this idea of monism, he will use an example of cannabis. Smoking cannabis can cause psychological changes, and an alteration of what is called a person's state of consciousness. However, if you prefer to smoke cannabis and think differently, you will see things differently. But, smoking cannabis also causes physical changes. For example, you might gain weight if you smoke a lot. This dualism - body and mind - is not found in Spinoza's philosophy. Rather, monism is a philosophy where the body and mind are seen as two aspects of a whole, and are inextricably linked. Before explaining why liberty is an illusion according to Spinoza, he needs to explain why it is an illusion in the first place. For Descartes, the idea of freedom is based on the premise of the free will of the individual. This is what he calls the "decretum animi" or "decision of the soul." Freedom is the independence of the will from material influences. And, freedom is fundamentally linked to the distinction between the body and the mind because for freedom to exist there must be a possibility
  • 00:10:00 Spinoza believes that the free-will debate is an illusion, as we are both physical and spiritual beings, and that it is a being with a conscience which is able to think for itself. This means that the author of its actions is the free-will decision-maker. His view is that it is something on which our modern societies are based, and that we are masters of our bodies. This leads to the idea of responsibility, if we did not have free will, there would be no concept of justice. Imagine, for example, a traitor who has harmed you, lied to you, or done something else that has caused you harm. Spinoza's view is that they are not responsible for their actions, as they are entirely determined. This would make it impossible to hold them accountable for their actions, and it would bring about a fundamental change in the way we view our lives. For Descartes, the idea that the human being is guided by their free will is in fact Christian, as it can be found in Saint Augustine who said that God had endowed man with free will, and that as a result, you cannot blame God for the bad in the world. Because the human being has free will, they have the choice to do good
  • 00:15:00 Spinoza believes that humans have a limited amount of free will and that this free will is an illusion created by the individual's lack of awareness of causal factors. He argues that animals, including humans, are simply machines driven by instinctual forces.
  • 00:20:00 The video discusses how free will is an illusion, as everything we do is based on previous causes and effects. It goes on to discuss how humans are physical beings, and are subject to the laws of physics. For example, if you decide to throw yourself off a balcony, you will be stopped by the laws of physics. Our mental state, intellect, and everyday habits contribute to this confinement.
  • 00:25:00 Spinoza argues that the free will we believe in is an illusion, because our actions and thoughts are determined by outside factors. He argues that this is what is meant by "ethics," which is a way of thinking about action that is directed towards achieving a goal. If humans didn't have the power to determine their actions, there would be no need for ethics.
  • 00:30:00 Spinoza argues that free will is an illusion due to the fact that we are constantly influenced by our passions. The reason we call this ability "reason" is that it is the ability to understand that we are determined by external factors. Reason is also the ability to understand that our emotions are determined by our affects, which are our passions. For example, anxiety is a passion and it is something that we experience when we are in a situation of uncertainty. Our emotions are rational because they are based on our understanding of the situation. However, irrational emotions, such as fear, are based on our ignorance of the situation. Fear will persist even if we understand the situation, because it is based on our emotions, not our reason. When we are in the presence of reason, our emotions will dissipate.
  • 00:35:00 Spinoza argues that the free arbiter is an illusion, because emotions, pathos, and suffering can be eliminated through reason. In this state of joy, which is not an emotion, we are free to understand our separateness and to let go. Because we are animated by reason, the experience of joy is a state of consciousness that what is can only be what is, and this occurrence produces something absolutely phenomenal: intense joy of the being. Freedom is realized in Spinoza through the understanding that death is a fact of life, and that our attachment to physical existence is not freedom. We can reject this idea, but that only results in our ego and pride getting in the way. When we accept death as a rational part of the physical world, we are no longer enslaved to fear or to anything that results from it.
  • 00:40:00 Spinoza argues that humans are free to act according to reason, rather than succumbing to fear or passion. This liberation from fear and passion allows us to be rational and free, and helps us to accept our reality. Because we are so strong willed, we often find ourselves looking for reasons or blame to place on ourselves when faced with difficult challenges. However, by understanding and accepting the series of causes and effects, we can free ourselves from these attachments and become more free. The free man is the one who acts in accordance with reason, not swayed by his passions. The pencil can't stop the path that reason dictates, but you, as a listener, have the power to prevent yourself from receiving external passions and emotions related to what is happening to you. By understanding and applying this knowledge, you have the power to be free. Thank you.

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