Oceans and flowers, alpine mountains and the stars
in the sky derive what we call their value entirely
from their reflections in subjective souls. As soon as
we disregard the mystic and fantastic
anthropomorphizing of nature, it appears as a
continuous whole, whose undifferentiated character
denies its individual parts any special emphasis, any
existence which is objectively delimited from others.
It is only human categories that cut out individual
parts, to which we ascribe meaning and value.
Ironically, we then construct poetic fictions which
create a natural beauty that is holy within itself. In
reality, however, nature has no other holiness than
the one which it evokes within us.
Susan James is Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London. Her areas of research are early-modern philosophy, political philosophy and feminist philosophy. Other areas of interest include Heidegger, and the Existentialists. Her publications include: The Content of Social Explanation (1984); Beyond Equality and Difference (1992) and Passion and Action: The Emotions in Seventeenth-century Philosophy (1997).
"Christopher Spencer’s Spinoza: The Apostle of Reason (1994) is the second film to be shown in the In Defense of Philosophy series. Written by Tariq Ali, the film presents the life and thought of Baruch Spinoza against the turmoil of seventeenth-century Europe. A fascinating modern man, Spinoza challenged orthodoxy in both religion and politics, angering his traditional contemporaries. Spinoza’s remarkable intellectual legacy has influenced thinkers as varied as Ludwig Wittgenstein, Gilles Deleuze, Albert Einstein and John Berger."
Sift through the promises
Replay the interviews
Step inside the booth
Forget scripted speeches
And candy wrapped slogans
Weigh again each pro and con
Remember the teeming world
Its people who dream of freedom
So many denied, the right to decide
Read the names
Imagine a future
Make the best choice
In the space between breaths
Your voice is heard
Without a word