Barnes and Noble on a Monday Night

Checking my mail before I go, I had the 2002 financial report from Starbucks and some voting material. But also, I had a Starbucks Shareholders Special Edition Coffee Card with a value of $3.50 already on it. Yay me! I love Starbucks

Finished up my application process for key person with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission en route to Barnes and Noble. Next on my list is the Manager’s Food Sanitation Certification Course I’ve got to take (yawn).

At B&N I bought a value-priced book, Precalculus Mathematics in a Nutshell. I need a lot of help in my math.

Sitting here with my coffee, I am reading Spinoza’s Ethics.

PROP. 11. God, or substance, consisting of infinite attributes, of which each expresses eternal and infinite essentiality, necessarily exists.

Proof.–If this be denied, conceive, if possible, that God does not exist: then [E1A7] his essence does not involve existence. But this (by E1P7) is absurd. Therefore God necessarily exists.

Another Proof.–Of everything whatsoever a cause or reason must be assigned, either for its existence, or for its non-existence–e.g. if a triangle exist, a reason or cause must be granted for its existence; if, on the contrary, it does not exist, a cause must also be granted, which prevents it from existing, or annuls its existence. This reason or cause must either be contained in the nature of the thing in question, or be external to it. For instance, the reason for the non-existence of a square circle is indicated in its nature, namely, because it would involve a contradiction. On the other hand, the existence of substance follows also solely from its nature, inasmuch as its nature involves existence. (See E1P7)
But the reason for the existence of a triangle or a circle does not follow from the nature of those figures, but from the order of universal nature in extension. From the latter it must follow, either that a triangle necessarily exists, or that it is impossible that it should exist. So much is self-evident. It follows therefrom that a thing necessarily exists, if no cause or reason be granted which prevents its existence.
If, then, no cause or reason can be given, which prevents the existence of God, or which destroys his existence, we must certainly conclude that he necessarily does exist. If such a reason or cause should be given, it must either be drawn from the very nature of God, or be external to him — that is, drawn from another substance of another nature. For if it were of the same nature, God, by that very fact would be admitted to exist. But substance of another nature could have nothing in common with God (by E1P2), and therefore would be unable either to cause or to destroy his existence.
As, then, a reason or cause which would annul the divine existence cannot be drawn from anything external to the divine nature, such cause must perforce, if God does not exist, be drawn from God’s own nature, which would involve a contradiction. To make such an affirmation about a being absolutely infinite and supremely perfect, is absurd; therefore, neither in the nature of God, nor externally to his nature, can a cause or reason be assigned which would annul his existence. Therefore, God necessarily exists. Q.E.D.

Another Proof.–The potentiality of non-existence is a negation of power, and contrariwise the potentiality of existence is a power, as is obvious. If, then, that which necessarily exists is nothing but finite beings, such finite beings are more powerful than a being absolutely infinite, which is obviously absurd; therefore, either nothing exists, or else a being absolutely infinite necessarily exists also. Now we exist either in ourselves, or in something else which necessarily exists (see E1A1 and E1P7). Therefore a being absolutely infinite –in other words, God (E1D6) –necessarily exists. Q.E.D.

DEF. 3. By substance, I mean that which is in itself, and is conceived through itself: in other words, that of which a conception can be formed independently of any other conception.

Explanation.–I say absolutely infinite, not infinite after its kind: for, of a thing infinite only after its kind, infinite attributes may be denied; but that which is absolutely infinite, contains in its essence whatever expresses reality, and involves no negation.

DEF. 4. By attribute, I mean that which the intellect perceives as constituting the essence of substance.

Explanation.– Existence of this kind is conceived as an eternal truth, like the essence of a thing, and, therefore, cannot be explained by means of continuance or time, though continuance may be conceived without a beginning, or end.

It is Spinoza’s another another proof (behind the cut) to this which set my mind spinning in thought. Yes… this book is a must have if ever I am stranded on a deserted island.

However, reading his further proof as existence as power and non-existence as want of power, I find this problematic (how dare I question Spinoza -grin)… until I again consider Spinoza’s idea of God… then it makes some sense.

PROP. 33. Things could not have been brought into being by God in any manner or in any order different from that which has in fact obtained.

Proof.–All things necessarily follow from the nature of God (E1P16), and by the nature of God are conditioned to exist and act in a particular way (E1P29). If things, therefore, could have been of a different nature, or have been conditioned to act in a different way, so that the order of nature would have been different, God’s nature would also have been able to be different from what it now is; and therefore (by E1P11) that different nature also would have perforce existed, and consequently there would have been able to be two or more Gods. This (by E1P14C1) is absurd. Therefore things could not have been brought into being by God in any other manner, etc. Q.E.D.

Isn’t this the same as “the best of all possible worlds?”

I wish that I had my Shakespeare book with me so that I might read Hamlet. I really should create my home coffee house! I’d be closer to all my books!

I am reading critical essays on Shakespeare and over the speakers the song Across the Universe plays. I pause, soaking the experience and music with a wide grin on my face, though I love Fiona’s version of the song much much much better (played at the end of the movie Pleasantville).

It is cold outside, the temperature predicted to drop to the teens tonight. A long walk before me awaits. yet happy am I, in my excursions into that terrible and fantastic country of my heart. Hopeful and content am I, breathing through my smiles.


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