online: 8 june 2002

4 june 2002 among machines and beyond

12:51 Still in bed and enjoying doing little, just this, and thinking these thoughts, and looking at the clouds, before rising to perform some mild exercises. Another holiday.

18:22 Listening again to Morton Feldman's piano and string quartet while sitting outside and contemplating the theory of Spinoza (with the help of Edwin Curley's A Spinoza Reader, Princeton 1994).

At last I have found pages close to my interest - by using the wonderful concordance-like index (constructed with the help of his wife Ruth), finding in it the terms that attract me most, and by taking one of these by chance, namely:

Nature (= whole of).

Yes, that is what attracted me in the first place - nature seen or inferred as a whole and its equation with God... and yes, I am very surprised that any theory could lead me to be writing of God, with or without the initial capital!

And now, signalling that I am beginning to see through the geometric logic of Spinoza's Ethics, I feel a return of enthusiasm and a resumption of thought.

For instance, I realise that the digital computer, being the first or only machine to lack in-built purpose (until a specific program is inserted) half resembles Spinoza's concept of a Nature without purpose external to itself. Can the computer be thought of as the first artificial thing to resemble, or to be, a natural object?

There must be many doubts or qualifications to such a question, but for me, here and now, it is evidence enough of my having found, in Spinoza's writings, a means to the next steps in my life-long journey amongst machines and beyond them... Now a unity.

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© 2002 john chris jones

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