online: 12 june 2002

11 june 2002 a unity so complete and an apparition so real

00:14 Nalini's second birthday - a new person* in the world and what a perceptive-looking one!

(* Nalini Sharda Jones, daughter of Paul and Ranjana - this entry is dedicated to all three of them.)

Yesterday I realised what I take to be a, or the, main strength of Spinoza's theory - or is it more than a theory, perhaps it is a unity so complete that it does not, or can not, admit separated explanations?

I think his theory includes itself in the whole to which it refers.

(I pause to take that in.)

Here are the words (slightly edited) in which I tried to note this 'main strength':
And now, as I read a few pages of Stuart Hampshire's Spinoza ... I realise that Spinoza's theory is more than theory...

...does the term 'theory' have a fatal (dualistic) limit?...

...his 'theory' is the apprehension of the whole of which the apprehender is a part, as are his or her thoughts.

I like so much the places where Spinoza points to, or includes, 'everything' in the whole, refusing altogether not only life-splitting dualisms but any suggestion that matter is worse or lower than idea, or that (as in materialism) matter excludesideas!... seems to me that thisis his strength: to not only include everything but to refuse to exclude what is 'good' (because 'good' is thought to be unreal or imaginary or unscientific)...

Yes, that must be it, the vast difference I detect between Spinoza's non-dualism and those of others more infected by divisiveness...

...yet to make that distinction is divisive, is it not?

But I suspect that Spinoza's logic is proof against that blindness (he was a maker of lenses for telescopes and spectacles!)

08:10 ... a whole that includes both perceiver and percept, thinker and thought - is that it ?

and an apparition so real

14:25 Outside the Architectural Asssociation, London, in an outdoor room, invisible, but imaginable from the presence of its ground plan, drawn in chalk on the pavement, and from the presence of chairs, and of people sitting on them.

This is Pete Gomez' way of enabling students of architecture to experience and to experiment with wireless connections between them in any location (indoors or out) via the portable computers they have on their laps...

I don't know if I've correctly described this event, its purpose, but to me it was a pleasure, a moment of good accidents...

For instance to meet Helge Solberg (an architect from Norway) who came to watch, James Stevens (of Backspaceand after) who took part, Kass Schmitt who introduced me to the event, and Pippa G who also teaches at the AA, and others whose names I didn't catch.

What was so good about it - this occasion for sophisticated adults to 'play house'?... (No need to apologise for that)

I can't easily say, but I liked it.

Connectiveness, I suppose, in a form that enlivens and combines the most everyday experiences of sitting in a room, of walking on a piazza, of communicating via the computernet, and of meeting people unexpectedly.

So, Benedictus de Spinoza, what do you make of this? - you are welcome here and perhaps it is closer to your thoughts than were the more superstitious beliefs and harsh religious actions of the seventeenth century? Come and sit with us in our imaginary office on the pavement and communicate in freedom via the extended nervous system - it's waiting for you!

Benedictus walks across the pavement, politely taps on the invisible door, and enters the crowded little room with no walls - and nothing much happening...

We all pause to hear what he may say...

Someone gives him a plastic chair which he sits on without question. At first he says nothing... but, after watching someone type words which appear on the screen of a laptop, he takes a laptop himself and writes slowly in Latin, which the computer translates as:

The universe is an infinite, eternal and self-creating substance.
Then, having written, he looks up at each of us, nods his head slowly, and smiles gently, before continuing to write, this time in modern English, but with the seventeenth-century f for s:
and thif room you imagine to be here, for only a an hour or two, and these machinef which you are recreating af you write on them, thefe things that are new to me are yet in fome way familiar...
...for they accord more with my ideaf than did the little room in which I lived and worked, and the penf and the paperf and the printing preffef through which I communicated, or failed to communicate, to the people of my time.

And then, as his figure becomes fainter, more transparent, and his body disappears, his still visible fingers tap out:

...but my appearing here if not a miracle, nor are you and your fublime machinef and your unfuperftitiouf imaginationf, for all idea is alfo extenfion and all extenfion is alfo idea... we are all part of the one reality...

...and now all that remains of this event are some chalk marks on the ground, these notes on the internet, a pair of spectacles that fell from Benedictus' nose and broke on the pavement...

and of course the presence of God in and as everything both intellectual and physical
... type the fingers without looking

digital diary dates


© 2002 john chris jones

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